Environmental, Immigration, and Social Welfare Policy: An Analysis of Various Approaches
Summer Term 5
As we charge into the 21st Century, there will be many critical issues that the United States and the world will face. Immigration policy, social welfare policy, and environmental policy will undoubtedly headline the monumental challenges going forward. This paper will focus on the United States, Great Britain, and Germany by utilizing high quality sources to compare and contrast ways these countries are tackling these complex issues. To begin with, the United States is currently engaged in heated debate over the future of immigration policy. With estimates showing upwards of 12 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States it is certainly easy to understand the high stakes of comprehensive immigration reform. At the moment, there are two major schools of thought regarding the implementation of such reforms. The liberal philosophy favors a pathway to citizenship for each illegal immigrant, and it tends to shy away from strict border enforcement measures championed by conservatives. Conversely, the conservative/republican philosophy directly ties the strength of border security to any pathway for citizenship. They believe that sealing the border and tracking those who cross should be the utmost priority. Often the issue of terrorism is cited when crafting these strict border proposals. Many conservatives see the porous border as a potential entry point for individuals seeking to do harm to US citizens. Ever since the passage of the “1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act,” which ultimately failed, few administrations have had the political courage to tackle this issue head on. Critics to the current proposals suggest that legislators are simply repeating the mistakes of 1986. Senator David Vitter (R-La) said, “the latest proposals contain the same three components as the 1986 law: a legalization program, and a possible path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally, stepped-up enforcement along the border, and measures to discourage employers from hiring workers who lack proof of legal residency. This is the same old formula we’ve dealt with before, including when it passed in 1986, and that is a promise of enforcement and immediate amnesty” (Tumulty, 2013) Many leaders offer a rebuttal to Senator Vitter’s claims, however. Doris Meissner who was commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Bill Clinton administration suggests that the attitude of the country has changed since then. She believes that technological advances will ensure our ability to track and monitor immigrants. Additionally, she says that the national urgency and acceptance of reforms will contribute greatly to its success. (Tumulty, 2013) At the end of the day, however, it is impossible to deny the impact that Latino immigrants have had on the United States. From an economic perspective they are absolutely vital. Without their often underappreciated and low wage labor the agricultural and manufacturing industries would undoubtedly suffer. Additionally, many immigrants have contributed to the entrepreneurial spirit that has come to define America. By opening restaurants, stores, etc... their culture and values have been intertwined with American society. Furthermore, the demographic impact that Latino’s currently have and will continue to have for generations to come is undeniable. They largely contributed to the election and re-election of President Obama who is the nation’s first multi-cultural president. In his study, Ian Davies takes into account the social change occurring in the United States as a result of Latino immigration. He concludes that “government policy makers should encourage a more tolerant, multicultural society by integrating Latino immigrants into the social, economic, and political...
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