Amnesty best solution for immigration reform
By Riley Morrison ’16
For a variety of reasons, amnesty is the best, and only, viable option for our country in terms of immigration reform.
Amnesty would allow illegal immigrants to gain permanent residency in the United States, as well as grant them forgiveness for breaking the law of coming into the country illegally.
For everything the opposition says about illegal immigrants stealing jobs, their mindset is incorrect because of a principle called “specialization of labor.”
“The fact that foreigners are eager to pick crops, clean houses and bus tables allows more of us to afford cheaper food and better services,” explained Jonathan Hoenig, proprietor of the Capitalist Pig blog. “It’s not the immigrants, but the taxes, spending and entitlements (most of which immigrants don’t receive) that have drained the economy dry.”
In addition, more competition in the job market means that the most qualified and intelligent people will be holding and creating jobs.
Amnesty would help our country in a few, less noticeable ways as well. With fear of deportation gone, people would be more openly creative and able to contribute to society.
Amnesty would also make us look like a kinder country, more prone to diplomacy than to imprisoning people for crossing an invisible line.
On top of this, who are we, a nation of immigrants, to deny people hope and opportunity for a better life?
From a loving and faithful perspective, the more the United States welcomes immigrants as a nation, the better we are as a people.
The Catholic Church embraces immigration reform as well.
“The church has a duty to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person,” wrote a spokesperson for the United Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Persons have the right to immigrate and thus government must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible, especially financially blessed nations.”
On the other hand, one could see how illegal immigrants might pose a threat to our security on a national level.
This being said, the fact is that most terrorist attacks in our countries past couldn’t have been stopped by tighter borders.
Anybody as well funded and destruction-bent as the high-jackers in the 9/11 attacks would have found a way in. Border security only affects the poor in other countries who don’t have the funds or abilities to find a better way in.
I have heard from many a student that illegal immigrants cause much of the gun and drug related crime in the US. After all, if people are willing to come in to our country illegally, committing a crime, wouldn’t they be just as willing to continue committing crimes while here?
The facts say otherwise.
“Since 1986, the year of the infamous amnesty for illegal immigrants, the U.S. murder rate has plunged by 37 percent,” wrote Steve Chapman of reason.org. “Forcible rape is down 23 percent. Drunk driving fatalities are off by more than half.”
Opponents of amnesty might then bring up the fact that a huge percentage of our prisons are filled with illegals.
This is yet another fallacy. The correct figure is 14 percent, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. For many, this is only because they have violated immigration law.
“For every ethnic group, without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated,” according to a 2007 report by the Immigration Policy Center.
Amnesty would also help to fix the problem of our overflowing prisons, reducing the amount of money taxpayers have to pay to keep people in prison for foolish reason.
For many reasons, amnesty is the right way for our nation to go. If not for the economic and international benefits, then because it is morally the right thing to do.
Border a top priority for immigration reform
By P. Erik Meyer ’14
Straight amnesty is not a solution to immigration reform.
No other developed country in the world maintains such loose borders.
Blanket amnesty coupled with an open door policy with no increase in border security only incentivizes people to cross the United States’ border illegally.
If amnesty is passed, the country’s already fragmented and unorganized border would become completely dissolved.
The United States needs to pursue a permanent, effective solution that would create a stable, defined border before pursuing any laws that would incentivize people to cross the border illegally.
I have never, and will never buy the argument that a fence is not a solution to securing our southern border that is not merely a stepping stone but an obstruction that can’t be climbed over or dug under.
While this project would be a massive financial undertaking and during a time when the United States can not afford to spend large amounts of money, the idea of finally securing our border is one that would increase national security and actually save money in the long term.
According to an ABC News article, illegal immigrants cost American taxpayers $100 billion a year.
According to the same article, the state of Arizona loses anywhere from $1.3 to $2.5 billion a year.
After securing the border, the issue of what to do with illegal immigrants already in the United States becomes prevalent.
The vast majority of illegal immigrants, contrary to common stereotypes, are hard working individuals with families to support.
Due to this reason it would be cruel and unfair to make a rash decision and deport any remaining illegal immigrants remaining within the United States.
I propose that illegal immigrants have a year to come forward to a government office and declare that they, and perhaps their entire family, are here illegally.
At that point, said immigrants must provide proof that they are upstanding members of American society.
This proof would come from providing evidence of employment, education or any other productive use of their time.
Those illegal immigrants who do not announce themselves during this year period would be subject to deportation.
Those who announce and prove that they are productive members of American life would be put on an accelerated path towards citizenship.
To clarify, this is not a full amnesty program, but rather a way for current illegal immigrants to become full-fledged United States’ citizens.
After these steps have been taken, I would argue that the United States should open itself up to allow more legal immigrants each year and make the process to attaining citizenship easier.