2. OVERVIEWOutside of the war on terrorism, there has never been a more heated debate and topic than that ofimmigration. The United States has a long standing history built on the foundation ofimmigration into the U.S. Since the days of settlement, the United States has opened its bordersand welcomed tens of thousands of immigrants into this country. However, over the last 40decades, a rise in the number of illegal immigrants into this country has been astronomical. Thishas sparked controversy throughout the U.S. as both sides rage against one another.There are those who feel that immigrants are a cornerstone of the Unite States and to lose thatpart of the population would be detrimental to the way we live and do business. Immigrants holdmany of the jobs that make this country function. Many immigrants work as day laborers infactories, construction sites, farms and more. On the other hand, are those who feel thatimmigrants that are here illegally should be deported and not allowed admittance into thiscountry. They fell that this population is here illegally and taking jobs that should be obtained bysomeone who is either a natural born citizen or someone who has taken the steps to be in thiscountry legally.On the flip-side, employers see the use of immigrants, whether legal or illegal, as a must in orderto run their businesses. By using illegal immigrants, business owners can pay them lower wageswithout having to provide them with benefits such as health and vacation time, as well as theydon’t have to pay taxes on the money they pay them because they are generally paid as “daylaborers” and are paid in cash. This has stirred the controversy even further as natural born andlegalized citizens are required to pay their taxes and feel it’s unfair for someone to come into thiscountry illegally, work and pay no taxes.Today there are more than 11 million immigrants here in the United States illegally. While manyare here to simply earn money to support their families or they are here because they’ve
3. overstayed on their visas, the truth is they are here illegally. They are here without going throughthe proper channels and procedures in order to secure their right to be here. This has causedsevere strain within our society and how to tackle this problem is of growing concern no matterwhich side you support.All of this simply touches the tip of the iceberg where this issue is concerned. This in-depthstudy into the subject of immigration reform seeks to give you a better understanding on thetopic, the debates and the laws that are being discussed to combat this every growing problem.The issue can be hard to follow in the media and the understanding of laws in the political sectorcan be even more difficult to digest. This study will look at many of the areas being discussed sothat you can gain a better understanding of the causes and concerns of immigration and can makea more informed decision where this issue is concerned overall.
4. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATIONRecently, President Obama gave a speech in El Paso, Texas on the topic of immigration reform.He discussed the need for reform and how it would benefit the United States not only fromwithin but would also make the U.S. an economic powerhouse across the world. He gave anexcellent example of how we aren’t using the power of immigration to our full advantage in thefollowing scenario:The U.S. grants student visa to students from all over the world so that they can come to theUnited States and attend some of the finest institutions to learn science and engineering.However, when these students graduate, as a society we don’t want to give them the opportunityto open a business in the U.S. which would not only stimulate the economy but provide a serviceto us. Instead we send them back to where they came from and watch from afar as they createbusinesses that provide products and services for our competition.This is but one example of how immigration reform could be used to the advantage of the U.S.public and governmental sectors. President Obama was quoted as saying:"We are not going to ship back 12 million people, were not going to do it as a practical matter.We would have to take all our law enforcement that we have available and we would have to useit and put people on buses, and rip families apart, and thats not who we are, thats not whatAmerica is about. So what Ive proposed... is you say were going to bring these folks out of theshadows. Were going to make them pay a fine, they are going to have to learn English, they aregoing to have to go to the back of the line...but they will have a pathway to citizenship over thecourse of 10 years."It may be surprising to know but in his speech, President Obama made it point to state that U.S.companies like Intel, Google, Yahoo and Ebay were all founded by an immigrant. These
5. businesses have created numerous jobs for millions of American and have allowed America tobecome a powerhouse in the high tech industry. These are some of the advantages thatimmigration reform can have on the U.S. economy. It allows the United States to maintain itscompetitive edge and according to President Obama, “it’s smart for our economy.”Immigration reform is seeking to cover various areas: Border Security Worksite Enforcements Guest Worker Programs Improving the Current Immigration Program Streamlining the Naturalization ProcessEach of these areas plays an important part in immigration reform. Depending on how you viewthe issues there are sure to be positives and negatives in each of these areas. Only after reviewingeach area in more detail can someone make an informed decision.
6. THE ISSUES Border Security Security for the U.S. borders has been a t the top of the list when it comes to immigration reform. Many of the American public feels that border security is lacking. Not only for the safety of U.S. citizens is border security important but in order to secure admittance into the U.S. to only those who have the right to be here.“Under Secretary Napolitano’s leadership, we have strengthened border security beyond what manybelieved was possible. They wanted more agents on the border. Well, we now have more boots on theground on the southwest border than at any time in our history. The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents –more than twice as many as there were in 2004, a buildup that began under President Bush and that wehave continued.” (Obama Administration Boasting About Border Security, The Washington Post) --President Obama, May 10, 2011 The United States Border Patrol was formed to patrol the borders of Mexico and Canada, as well as the coastal waters of the Florida borders. However, over the years, the bulk of the U.S. Border Patrols concentration was focused on the Mexican border. It wasn’t until the September 11th attacks in 2001 that border security became a hot topic. Before 9/11, the border patrol was limited to hiring about 500 new border patrol agents a year. With the development of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 20041, the U.S. Border Patrols hiring limit was raised to 2000 a year. This is subjected of course to funding. By 2009, under the guidance of then President Bush, the U.S. Border Patrol had increased to well over 20,000 officers nationwide. Under immigration reform, the goal for border security is to: Increase the protection of the U.S. borders. 1 http://intelligence.senate.gov/laws/pl108-458.pdf
7. Continue to increase the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents. Add over 350 miles of border fencing along the U.S./Mexican border. Increase cameras and radar towers. Deny visas to those with criminal histories. Implement the US-VISIT Exit Requirement System which will keep a more accurate track of when an alien enters and exits the U.S. Implementation of an effective immigration biometric system along the borders which will include a database of immigration status and fingerprints of individuals arrested. This system is already being used by nine states across the U.S. and has become an effective tool for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.By implementing these and other measures, the U.S. will be better equipped to secure the bordersof this country as well as maintain an effective immigration and naturalization program. Whencombined with the other areas of immigration reform, a powerful and effective tool is developedthat will enhance our nation’s security and economy.Worksite Enforcements2Thousands of immigrants enter into the United States illegally each year in anticipation offinding employment to help them support themselves and their families. While the intent isnoble; the approach is illegal. This is one of the major reasons for illegal immigration. Numerousbusinesses throughout the United States hire illegal workforces. This not only strains the work ofthe U.S. Border Patrol as well as ICE officers but it limits the amount of work that should go tothe legal workforce.According to a recent ICE report3:2 http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/dro_policy_memos/worksite_enforcement_strategy4_30_2009.pdf
8. It has been determined that merely capturing and deporting illegal immigrants is not enough.Stricter penalties must be handed down to the employers who are hiring these individuals.Without the promise of possible work, the need to cross the U.S. border is not as high for anillegal alien. By financially hitting these businesses at the heart, their income, it will cut back onthese employers hiring illegal workers. As a part of the worksite enforcement strategy,employers who hire illegal immigrants will be penalized in several ways including fines as wellas possible debarment from obtaining any federal contracts. This strategy is not only aboutpenalizing those businesses that violate worksite enforcement policies but also to assist those thatwant to be compliant with the training and tools that they need to remain compliant.As a part of immigration reform, the worksite enforcement seeks to: Insure that all workers hold legal status in order to work in the U.S. Letters will be sent by the Social Security Administration that will outline the penalties for hiring illegal workers as well as implement “No-Match” letters when an employer’s records do not match up with that of Social Security.3 Worksite_Enforcement_Strategy4_30_2009
9. Reduction of the amount of papers accepted to verify a person’s identity and work eligibility. The stricter the requirement on these acceptable documents, the less chance of an illegal worker being hired as they generally will not have these documents. Increasing fines for those who hire illegal workers. Increase the investigative process for employers who hire illegal workers. Federal contractors will be required to utilize a federal verification system to verify the identity and work eligibility status of all workers. Integrating an E-Verify system that will span across business industries as well as places like the DMV to limit the hiring of illegal workers as well as avoiding them obtaining or using illegal documents.By utilizing these various strategies, employers will be held more accountable for hiring illegalworkers. With so many of these strategies in place, there will be no excuse for hiring illegalworkers.Guest Worker ProgramsDuring the Bush Administration, it was stressed on how as a society, economically the U.S.needed the immigrant population to function at full capacity. Immigrants tend to do the work thatmany Americans steer clear of. Farms across the United States are worked daily by immigrants.This allows the food needed to sustain our population to be grown and distributed. As a part ofthe Guest Worker Program, immigrants would be allowed into the U.S. on a provisional andtemporary status. This allows them to work and allows employers the ability to hire them. Thiswould benefit the immigrant because they can make money to support themselves and theirfamilies as well as limit them being taken advantage of. Many illegal workers are compromisedby being paid lower wages than traditional workers. The fear of being deported during a work
10. raid is no longer a concern with the implementation of the Guest Worker Program. When aworkers visa expires, the program is looking at the possibility of their country of origin offeringthem incentives to return home. The Guest Worker Program benefits all sides by giving the U.S.the workforce it needs and allowing immigrants the chance to come into this country and make aliving on a temporary basis. Under this program a temporary visa for up to 3 years could beissued. In addition, fees may possibly be assessed in order to participate in this program. Anyimmigrant who violates the terms of the program will risk deportation.Improving the Immigration System and Naturalization ProcessImproving the overall process of the immigration and naturalization process is important todecreasing the chances for illegal immigrants to gain access to the United States. As part ofimmigration reform, the following is considered a vital part of this process: Streamlining the background checks and process implemented by the FBI when required. Insuring the illegal immigrants “are not” receiving credits towards the U.S. Social Security system. Revising the U.S. Naturalization test to include areas on U.S. democracy, U.S. history and other areas applicable to citizenship in the U.S. Better training for coaches who assist immigrants through the naturalization process. Development of an on-line program designed to enhance learning the English language.Implementation of all these processes will make the immigration and naturalization processes asmooth one and will insure that the rules are being followed by everyone. Immigration reformhas been discussed for years but now more than ever it is at the forefront of our nation’s politicalcore. It has never been more important to our society than it is today. The goal of this study is toeducate the general public on the issues at the heart of immigration reform. Being informed on
11. these issues will allow the citizens of the United States to make decisions based on a thoroughunderstanding of how immigration reform will impact their lives.Fairness in Immigration Reform Movement was developed to inform the public on the currentlaws and political battles that are raging in this country. In addition, we serve as an educationoutlet for those who want to learn more about immigrations past, present and future. Immigrationlaws can be hard to understand and we are dedicated to helping the everyday man and womanunderstand this political battle. To learn more about the Immigrant Reform Movement, visit ourwebsite for more information at http://newimmigrationrules.org./.