Challenge of the 21st Century: Immigration Reform
In 2013, nearly 1.7 million immigrants entered the United States -- a nation built with the blood and sweat of the millions of immigrants who came to it -- in search of a better life, one free from tyranny and oppression. However, only nine hundred thousand of these immigrants entered the country legally, vesting their time and resources into the legal residency “green card” program -- the very first step to full citizenship (Monger). The other seven hundred thousand immigrants entered the country illegally, exploiting security failures on the US southern border, and policy failures in Washington, DC (Morgan). While a large proportion of the undocumented population poses no immediate threat to the security of the US and its citizens, the growing trend in illegal crossings -- with 2013 having the largest surge of undocumented immigrants in American history -- threatens to undermine America 's economic freedom and morale. More than ever, Congress and the President must work together to pass comprehensive immigration reform that ends this crisis once and for all.
History of Immigration Policy
The United States has served as a beacon of economic, religious, and cultural freedom since its inception, and it is the continual flow of immigrants that "provided settlers to develop communities along the Atlantic coast, pioneers to push the United States westward, and builders for the Erie Canal and the transcontinental railways." (Doak). While the US always officially encouraged immigration, delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention made sure to give Congress the authority to establish "a uniform rule of naturalization" to grant immigrants citizenship. Why? According t...
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As of 2013, the Department of Homeland Security estimates that illegal immigrants comprise 20 percent of inmates in prisons and jails ("Illegal Immigration Facts"). The DHS report does not provide data about the types of crime committed, but another report by Pew Hispanic Research claims that 25 percent of all crimes involving illegal aliens were drug related (8 percent being white collar crimes, and 6 percent involving firearms) (Taylor). This report also found that crime rates are (on average) significantly higher in metropolitan areas that receive large numbers of illegal immigrants (Taylor). For example, in “Los Angeles alone, 95% of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total approximately 1,200-1,500) target illegal aliens” and “Up to 2/3 of all fugitive felony warrants (approximately 17,000) are for illegal aliens” ("Illegal Immigration Facts").
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