Immigrants are viewed from both positive and negative perspectives in the world. Various governments institute mechanisms to ensure individuals and groups of people crossing borders are legal, and that their input into the economic, political and social standing is not adverse. The United States is one such country. The U.S leadership is currently engaged in major attempts to institute immigration reforms, attempts that have received support and opposition in equal measure, from various quarters. This paper evaluates the impact of immigration reforms and establishes that such reforms would be counterproductive in the long-run.
Immigrants are said to be one of the key elements in the history and economy of the United States. The U.S was built, to a large extent, by immigrants who provided free labor during the pre-independence period. Former President Barack Obama often recognized the role of immigrants in the development and well-being of the American nation. He even blocked attempts to reform immigration laws targeting people who illegally came to the U.S as children. President Donald Trump, on his part, campaigned on, among other aspects, the promise that illegal immigrants were adversely affecting the well-being of citizens and that he would ensure such individuals were deported.
One of the main points of opposition is the fact that some illegal immigrants came to the U.S as children and are now adults, while others were born in the U.S to illegal immigrants. When President Trump insists on deporting such people, where would they go? Such people have known America to be their home hence forcefully evicting them would amount to inhuman treatment and is a violation of their rights.
Illegal immigrants are accused of taking low-paying jobs hence they indirectly put thousands of citizens at risk of becoming unemployed as employers prefer to spend less on employee wages. In addition, some immigrants have rightfully been accused of increasing the amount of insecurity and perpetuating terrorism. Immigrants of Islamic origin have particularly been accused in that regard. However, such claims could be unfounded and can be considered to be a blanket accusation of all immigrants of Islamic faith based on their religion. Some terrorist activities have been linked to white Americans, an example being Californian-born John Walker Lindh who was found fighting beside Al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan in 2001. From this perspective, it is unnecessary to institute immigration reforms that tighten innocent immigrants’ desire to seek greener pastures in the U.S. Furthermore, over one-third of the Catholics in the U.S. are of Latino origin. Pentecostal churches also have significant Latino following. Given the significance of the Catholic Church in the U.S, attempts to implement reforms that adversely affect such immigrants could have far-reaching religious, political and possibly, legal consequences.
One of President Trump’s defining immigration reform agenda is the establishment of a wall on the U.S-Mexico border, to keep illegal immigrants out. While this could help to prevent illegal immigrants from accessing the U.S, a wall has never been a solution to most of the world’s immigration problems. The Berlin Wall in the Cold War era, for instance, was more counterproductive than earlier thought. Allocation of funds towards the construction of such walls would be a step towards isolation rather than development. Immigrants bring about some positivity as well, including skills and experience needed in a range of American industries. Immigrants are not just harmful, undeserving individuals- their affirmative contributions should be noted as well.
In conclusion, the proposed immigration reform might have short-term benefits, ranging from implementation of “America First” policy and “Getting Americans Back to Work” but such reforms could have adverse long-term consequences. Human rights and needs should be considered and the positives associated with immigrants need to be evaluated before the current government makes a decision on evicting or locking out anyone.