“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” Engraved on a slab of bronze, these hallowing words, written by Emma Lazarus, greeted millions of immigrants as they gazed upon the Statue of Liberty with hopeful eyes. Yet, nearly one hundred and thirty years after Lazarus penned her famous poem, there is much confusion over the issue of immigration. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, paralleling Miss Lazarus’s beckoning, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me”, recently complained, “When Mexico sends people, they’re not sending their best”. Disregarding political decorum altogether, Trump continued: “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists” (Ye Hee Lee). While Trump is certainly the most inflammatory candidate on the issue of immigration, he is not alone in holding a far-from-center ideology on the matter. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, just this past month, promised to use “the executive orders of the president” to grant citizenship to a staggering eleven million undocumented immigrants (Sargent). Underneath each of these positions are a wildly differing views on the implications of Mexican immigration. Disagreement over the impact of Mexican immigrants on crime, economics, and “American culture” is a sign of an increasing polarization between the two dominating political parties in the United States.
In order to understand the polarizing issue of Mexican im...
... middle of paper ...
...ion does not hurt working Americans or lower their wages, but, in fact, has beneficial effects, one is left with two positions: preserve the status quo or provide a path to citizenship. Those in favor of keeping the status quo often point to the fact that immigrants currently contribute about $15 billion to Social Security through payroll taxes but only make use of about $1 billion of that, as they are ineligible for many government services; if immigrants were to be granted citizenship, they would become eligible for all government benefits and could strain the system. Advocates for citizenship, however, point out that the increase in taxes would offset the addition expenses of Social Security. No matter the balance of new taxes and expenses, at the end of the day, the Democratic position has the trump card of ethical responsibility; it is wrong to exploit workers.
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