21 November 2011
Illegal Immigration in America
Immigration has been a hotly debated topic for many years. It is an intriguing subject especially in its extensive history of politics, stemming all the way to its current conflicts including the economic expenditures that are put onto the federal and state governments. A closer look into the issue of immigration will show that illegal immigrants contribute a lot to American society, a ready labor force, and many other benefits to the country. This all adds up to the fact that immigration is a necessary and good thing for the survival of this nation. The United States has always been considered the immigrant's nation and is called "The melting pot" for a reason. Illegal immigration has been a problem in the United States for as the nation has legal citizenship. Illegal immigration dates clear back to the late nineteenth century. In 1875, the first federal immigration law was passed which prohibited entry of convicts and prostitutes. Later, in 1882 President Chester Arthur banned almost all Chinese immigration to the United States, and shortly thereafter barred paupers, criminals and the mentally ill from entering. While this only affected only a small percentage of immigrants, from that point on there was a clear distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Before this, immigration was barely regulated (End Illegal Immigration). Some of Americas most prestigious presidents have had a vast impact on the Mexican immigration issue starting with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In Eisenhowers first term, it was estimated that illegal Mexican border crossings had grown to about 1 million. With such a massive illegal workforce there was a noticeable impact on the wages of American workers and Eisenhower became. In 1954, shortly after the information was brought to his attention, “Operation Wetback” was launched. Starting out with only around 1,000 Border Patrol agents, many thousands of illegal immigrants were caught and sent back into the deep parts of Mexico. With the threat of Border Patrol intimidating the lives of illegal immigrants, 200,000 more returned to Mexico voluntarily. And thanks to Eisenhower, Illegal immigration had dropped 95% by the end of the 1950s. Later, during President Ronald Reagans time in office, the immigration issue was again approached, Regan approved the “path to citizenship” amnesty (a general pardon for offenses) due to what was believed to be a relatively small illegal immigrant population. Unfortunately, this caused a widespread document fraud and the number of illegal aliens seeking amnesty far exceeded expectations. Most importantly, there was no political will to enforce the law against employers. The 1986 amnesty failed and actually led to millions of more people entering the United States illegally. Thus, pushing the fight against Illegal immigrants further back. For the duration of President Bill Clintons time in office, he made some efforts to combat illegal immigration during the 1990s, but the problem still remained. In 1996 the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 was passed. Still, nervous leaders from Central American and Caribbean nations relied heavily on untaxed remittances (transfer of money by a foreign worker) sent back to their countries from the United States, and worried that Clinton would support mass deportations. While paying approval money to enforcement of laws, Clinton assured these leaders that there would be no mass deportations. There were about 7 million illegal immigrants still living in the U.S. when he left office. The eight years of President George W. Bush’s time in office, there was a noticeable increase in illegal immigration and a drop in immigration enforcement throughout most of his...
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