Coming To America: Illegal Immigration In The U.S.

What is immigration? Immigration is the action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. What is illegal immigration? Illegal immigration refers to the migration of people into a country in ways that violate the immigration laws of that country, or the remaining in a country of people who no longer have the legal right to remain. However, when you look up “illegal immigrant” nothing appears, there is no definition of the term. Illegal, undocumented, unauthorized, and illegal alien, all are labels to describe people unlawfully residing in the United States for many reasons. Reasons like crossing a border against the rules of the country or living in a country according to its rules until their visa expired or cancelled. Another could be a person’s status might have changed without them knowing. All these reasons are accurate however, “using the term “illegal” to describe a human being rather than an action, has rightly fallen out of favor with immigration activists and it is why many protesters hold up signs reading “no human being is illegal”(Freedman, Russell. What Your Really Saying When You Call A Person “Illegal”)

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“Christopher Columbus, as we were taught was the first explorer to discover America, right? Well new evidence has been discovered and our understanding of history has changed. We now know that Columbus was one of the last explorers to reach the Americas. Five hundred years before Columbus, a daring band of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson set foot in North America and established a settlement”( Russell Freedman, Coming to America.) Even long before that scholars say the Americas seem to have been visited by seafaring travelers from China and possibly by visitors from Africa and even Ice Age Europe. Before the European explorers arrived, the Americas were home to tens of millions of native people. As more is discovered about the past, we find that America has always been lands of immigrants. Lands that have been “discovered” again and again by different people coming from different parts of the world(Freedman, Russell. Coming to America.) I always hear “America is a nation of immigrants” and it really was then and it is still now.

Migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador gathered on October 12th, 2018 to meet at San Pedro Sula, the second largest city in Honduras. The caravan intended to reach the United States to flee from violence and poverty. It began with about 160 immigrants which quickly grew to 500, as it passed through Honduras it has now reached over thousands. United States President, Donald Trump, made several threats as to deploying the U.S. military and closing the U.S.- Mexico border to keep the caravan from entering the country. He even tried making a compromise and said the U.S. would begin curtailing tens of millions of dollars of aid to three Central American nations but that did not stop them. President Donald Trump is seeing these immigrants as “stone wall criminals” but the few hundred do not determine a whole caravan.

There are myths that immigrants are criminals. However,” Eighty-three thousand five hundred and seventy three is the number of inmates in federal prisons who are not U.S. citizens, according to the latest prison population report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That is less than 6% of the total prison population. Seven hundred and nineteen per 100,00 immigrants is the criminal conviction rate in Texas. While the immigration population in the country has more than doubled since 1980, overall violent crime has decreased by more than 50 percent. Between 1990 and 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population grew from 7.9% to 13.1% and the number of unauthorized immigrants more than tripled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. During the same period, FBI data indicate that the violent crime rate declined 48 percent. Likewise, the property crime rate fell 41 percent, including rates of motor vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary”(

On February 15, 2019 U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the border with Mexico in order to access billions of dollars that Congress refused to give him. This 35-day government shutdown resulted into the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States. Trump said a border wall is needed to block illegal guns, drugs and cash coming from Mexico. However, American-made guns have illegally flowed south into Mexico in large numbers for years. A 2013 study by the University of San Diego found that nearly half of American firearms dealers are dependent on Mexican sales, with an estimated 253,00 firearms purchased annually between 2010 and 2012 to be taken across the border…….DRUGS But there’s no way to know how much gets through says Fulton T. Armstrong who has worked as a national intelligence officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, on the National Security Council and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on Latin America. The biggest shipments come through legal, established ports of entry Mr. Armstrong said in an interview, though he added that there are also examples of drug smuggling that do not occur at official border crossings. He says “would setting up a fence help? No. There’s no evidence at all.”

Trump says “I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” However, coming into the United States is not as easy as said as coming here requires a very long process and very specific requirements. “Immigration to the United States is based on the following principles: the reunification of families, admitting immigrants with skills that are valuable to the U.S. economy, protecting refugees, and promoting diversity. A limited number of visas are available every year under the family preference system, but prospective immigrants must meet standard eligibility criteria, and petitioners must meet certain age and financial requirements. There are more than 20 types of visas for temporary nonimmigrant workers. There is a numerical limit for permanent employment-based immigrants of 140,000 per year. In addition to numerical limits, the INA(Immigration and Nationality Act) indicates that no group of permanent immigrants from a single country can exceed seven percent of the total amount of people immigrating to the United States in a single fiscal year. Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions.”

“In Article 1 , section 8, the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the responsibility “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” determining how immigrants can become citizens. Despite this charge, many states enacted their own immigration policies during the Republic’s early years. According to the University of California, Irvine law professor Jennifer Chacon, “for the first century of the United States’ existence, many states enacted law regulating and controlling immigration into their own borders. The constitution allows immigrants who become naturalized citizens to serve in any government office except for one- the presidency itself. In Article 2, Section 1 the Constitution affirms that “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of the President.”

31 August 2020

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