Different Views On The Topic Of Immigration In America

The United States is a country that has been built and transformed by successive waves of migration from many parts of the world including Europe, Asia, and Africa. We as a nation represent a melting pot of various beliefs, values, traditions, and cultures, coming virtually from all over the world. However, America has a long history of obstruction of natural rights and discriminatory practices against certain people based on the very facet that our country was built on different cultural backgrounds.

The topic of immigration has been discussed in the article, “No, Democrats Don’t Want ‘Open Borders’”, written by Linda Qui. The article depicts that President Donald Trump has made a false accusation that the Democrats want to open our countries borders and allow entry to anybody who wants to enter the United States. While the Democrats criticize president Trumps immigration policies, such as building a wall on the southwestern border as being ineffective, legislations show that they still claim to be in favor and committed to improve the border security. Senator Chuck Shumer prove this by tweeting that the bipartisan immigration bill he authored had $40 billion for border security. In addition, Ms. Pelosi claims, “We care about protecting our country but we don’t think we need to protect the border by putting children in cages”. Pelosi believes that there is a different method of protecting our country without being reckless and ruthless, hence still remain strong and smart. President Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued that the Democrats have “made it very clear that they don't want to work with the president, that they don't want to fix our immigration system”. In other words, the Democrats want to provide undocummented immigrants, also known as dreamers, a pathway to citizenship.

On the contrary, the Wall Street Journal political writers Louise Radnofsky and Natalie Andrews (2019) wrote in their article, “Republicans, Business Groups Urge Trump Not to Close Border,” that “Congressional Republicans and business associations said they opposed President Trumps threat to close the southern border, warning of the severe economic damage that could result (Radnofsky & Andrews, 2019).” In addition, Randofsky and Andrews (2019) claim that the number of people presented at the U.S.-Mexico border keep on increasing. One of the reasons why President Trump feels its essential to close our countries borders are because those who are crossing the borders are individuals looking for asylum, as opposed to the Mexican individuals who are seeking for work opportunities. Furthermore, Trump believes that the U.S. immigration system was “absolutely maxed out”. Therefore, although many senators believe that closing the borders will result in severe economic damage such as having a negative impact on our economy, Trump claims to be ready to embrace the challenge. “I’m totally ready to do it. Lets see.” In other words, most politicians are hesitant in closing the borders since it may hamper our economy.

In 2005, with Operation Streamline, a joint initiative of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, President George W. Bush, a believer in the republican ideology, initiated the trend of a “zero tolerance” approach to unauthorized border-crossing by criminally prosecuting those perpetrating it. The immigration policy constantly shifts such as during the Obama administration the policy rather focused on deporting immigrants with a criminal record. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security enacted family detention centers in order to prevent families from being separated. However in 2016 the court of appeals ruled in Flores v. Lynch that although immigrant children that are detained should be released, their parents are not required to be liberated. This resulted in family separations. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a republican, believes that since congress failed to pass effective legislations that serves the national interest, such as funding the wall alongside the Southwestern border, a crisis has erupted. As a result, Sessions claims that an “escalated effort” is required to address the crisis at the Southwestern border. Initially, the Department of Justice implemented the zero tolerance immigration policy, meaning each and every migrant – including asylum seekers – attempting to cross the U.S. border anywhere other than at an official port of entry was to be detained and criminally prosecuted. In other words, this meant systematic separation of children who accompanied adult migrants crossing into the U.S. borders unauthorized. Thus, shortly thereafter the Trump administration brought a halt to the policy since it required that children be separated from their parents. In addition, the policy was enacted as a method, hoping that this treatment of separating families would deter illegal immigration including asylum-seekers. In essence, this policy seems to be inhumane for both the present and future of ones life since experiencing a traumatic event, such as being separated from parents, in ones youth can have a lasting negative effect on ones well being. Therefore, due to the mounting public pressure from both the Republican and Democratic parties, the Trump Administration eventually signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to stop separating families.

Sometimes a situation requires making tough decisions in order to force change and demonstrate resolve. For instance, closing the U.S. borders would force interests to comply and deal with the illegal immigrant crisis. In addition, the president is trying to do anything and everything he can possibly do to get the left to acknowledge that a problem exists and work collaboratively to do something about it. Therefore, closing the legal ports is not necessarily a bad idea, it actually may put pressure on congress to work along with President Trump. Furthermore, closing the borders will put enormous pressure on the Mexican government which will perhaps lead them to halt the illegal immigrants from Central America at Mexico's southern border. Closing the borders will further allow the U.S. to start manufacturing the goods that we import from Mexico which will as a result better our economy. In other words, to some degree this idea can only be beneficial for our country.

In reference to immigration, both the Republican and Democratic parties have very different views on the issue. Republicans perceive immigration as a critical threat to our country. This isn't new since it is an ongoing argument for many decades. As seen in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Act of 1996, the Republicans authorized their right to terminate social services, such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, from the legal immigrants. On the contrary, the Democrats strongly deny it as being a threat. As a result their view regarding policy actions substantially and consistently differ from the Republicans. “Americans are divided over legal immigratiom, too. Half of Republicans (47%) say legal immigration should be decreased, while a third of Democrats (36%) say it should be increased (Kafura & Hammer, 2019).” Politicians on the left and the right acknowledge the strain between the two parties on immigration. For instance, during a congressional hearing on family separation, Democratic Representative of New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez remarked that “it feels like we’re speaking in two different worlds” and Republican Representative of Arizona, Debbie Lesko used the analogy of “parallel universes”. This proves that the public is profoundly divided along partisan lines, with Republicans and Democrats holding remarkably different views of the issue and which policies the government should pursue. Republicans believe that increasing border security, having more border patrols, and imposing fines on businesses that hire illegal immigrants would to some extent be effective in tackling the immigration crisis, whereas the Democrats strongly oppose this idea. Instead, they believe that an effective method in dealing with this issue is to create for the immigrants a pathway to citizenship. Furthermore, it has been 84 days since Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching the president, instead of working to solve problems for the American people.

Being that our country is a melting pot with a variety of immigrants, social workers are expected to improve their situation. According to the NASW (2018), a 'zero tolerance' immigration policy that would prosecute families who attempt to cross the border and forcibly separate children from parents is malicious and unconscionable and the National Association of Social Workers will press lawmakers to rescind this egregious action. In other words, many social workers believe that the “zero tolerance” immigration policy is unethical and should be nullified and replaced with more appropriate policies. Since “Dignity and worth of the person,” is one of the six core values of the NASW Code of Ethics (1996), it is important to initiate policies which will increase the possibility of more opportunities for immigrants and enable them to provide for themselves in a dignified manner. Furthermore, this awful Department of Justice policy is fully supported by the White House and Department of Homeland Security. NASW adamantly disagrees with this approach to border security and urges a policy which strengthens and upholds families regardless of their country of origin. Therefore, it should be of the interest of social workers to advocate to better the lives of the immigrants. 

16 December 2021
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