No Control – Austin Wash ’16, Senior Politics/Opinions Editor
Trump has made his thoughts perfectly clear regarding border control, and has expressed those thoughts by saying that the United States ought to “make Mexico pay for the wall.” Our priorities, however, should not include limiting the number of individuals who can immigrate to the United States. Rather, we should have a vested interest in reforming both the pathways to citizenship and to fostering a more cooperative understanding with Mexico.
It is no secret that a decent sum of illegal immigrants choose to enter the country illegally because they have virtually no other option. The processes by which immigrants can become legal citizens have remained rather inefficient for years on end with wait-times for applicants often being upwards of two years or more. At the present moment, our systems of granting citizenship to immigrants are not conducive to efficient and relatively painless naturalization, and it is therefore not surprising that a number of immigrants choose to undercut those processes rather than abide by them.
The alien criminals who Trump consistently speaks of that engage in violent crimes and the trade of illegal drugs and weapons are obviously not representative of the whole immigrant population. However, this does not stop Trump from concluding, on the basis of crimes committed by Hispanics against American citizens, that “[Mexico is] responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.”
Meanwhile, little mention is made of the undocumented workers constituting the majority of Hispanic immigrants who, as a result of NAFTA, stigmatization, and the inefficiency of current modes of naturalization, are forced into positions of labor that routinely exploit their disadvantaged statuses.
It should not be our priority simply to keep people out, and neither should it be our goal to fire volleys of antagonistic rhetoric at Mexico. Rather, we should attempt to provide, through trade and policy reform, an environment in which immigrants who come here out of sheer need will be both fewer and happier.
More Control – Brennan Kayes ‘18, Contributing Writer
Immigration reform has become one of the most highly controversial and debated topics amongst 2016 presidential candidates. Some of the most talked about aspects regarding the debate included border control and security, earned legal status for illegal immigrants, and the development of a policy that will promote sustaining high economic growth. There were similar opinions about these issues from Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Governor Jeb Bush, but we also saw a more flamboyant approach to the immigration debate from Donald Trump who was questioned on his highly controversial remarks that the Mexican government is sending criminals into the United States illegally.
In the last 25 years, the United States has become one of the easiest countries to access with over 11 million illegal immigrants already within American borders. The immigration system in the U.S. has been broken for more than a quarter of a decade and it’s time for the government to crack down on border security and create a stronger policy concerning the eventual citizenship of illegal immigrants.
I agree with the similar plans of Senator Rubio and Governor Bush on strengthening our border security with more fencing, more guards, and a more deliberate and meticulous process of choosing who can come into the country. I also agree with Rubio that we need a system for illegal immigrants who are already in the U.S. to gain earned legal status. This system should include a series of criminal background checks, the submitting of biometric data, fines, required learning of American civics and English, the withholding of health care benefits, and a mandatory time frame that immigrants must wait out before they can apply for permanent residence.
Also, the U.S. needs to focus on immigrants that have gone through the legal processes to become citizens but have still not been granted their citizenship after years of work. It is not fair to grant illegal immigrants amnesty when there are immigrants that have gone through the legal processes and have been waiting for admittance. Lastly, there needs to be a plan within this legislation that promotes economic stability and the creation of more jobs. It is not realistic to deport 11 million people, but we need to fix our broken immigration system by having an earned legal status plan for these immigrants and a stronger presence on our borders.