Immigration Reform Proposal Essay Ideas

Argumentative Essay on Immigration

Illegal immigration has been a problem for the United States for a long time. This phenomena is not new and thousands of illegal immigrants have come into US through either the Mexico border, the Pacific Ocean, or through many other ways. Some people have entered the country legally through a visit visa, but then have stayed illegally and are working in various places. Illegal immigration is a double edged sword; on the one hand it provide the local economy with cost benefits as the illegal immigrants are not paid so much, while they are more productive. On the other hand, these illegal immigrants do not pay taxes and their employers also do not pay their taxes. There are both pros and cons of illegal immigration and this paper shall take a look at some facts pertinent to illegal immigration in the United States.

“Every day thousands of illegals stream across the 2,500 miles of border with Mexico. According to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS, the total number of illegals in America from this source increases by 275,000 annually. Already the United States is host to an illegal population of 7 to 12 million, of whom the vast majority are Mexican or Hispanic in origin. These illegal and uninvited guests help themselves to jobs, education, welfare and unemployment compensation. The many whose wages are paid under the table pay little or no taxes. And they are easy prey for unscrupulous employers and politicians” (Hayes 2000)

The U.S. population primarily is growing as a result of births in the minority and immigrant communities. We do not like to think about it--as it is a political correctness problem--but there is stratification of labor, mostly along education lines, where the tough jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, and services are taken by those without recourse into the white-collar world of employment. Especially when these low paying jobs do not require language ability, immigrants historically have jumped at these opportunities as a way to get their foot in the door. The U.S.-born unemployed do not think first about having just any job to help plant their feet. They first think about what their wages will be. If you are here illegally, you clearly have a competitive advantage (Howell 2006).

Most of the Americans and the American officials are of the opinion that illegal immigration is bad for the country and it should be stopped completely. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) is a law in the United States of America that pertains to the policies and regulations regarding employment. This law was enacted in 1986 for various reasons, which includes the fact that many illegal employees work in the United States. The two main requirements of the IRCA include: “(1) to hire only persons authorized to work in the United States and (2) to not discriminate on the basis of citizenship status or national origin” (LMD 1992). In order to be eligible to work in the United States, the workers must complete an I-9 form and must be able to prove their authorization to work in the United States to their employers. “Employers may not refuse to consider all qualified persons with work authorization, whether citizen or non-citizen. Employers must accept any document listed in the INS Handbook for Employers, and may not arbitrarily specify an INS document, or require additional documents. Employers may not refuse to hire a qualified worker whose employment authorization expires at a later date. IRCA imposes back pay and severe penalties on employers who commit immigration-related employment discrimination” (LMD 1992). I am for this immigration reform as I believe that illegal employment is a drain on the economy of the United States.

There are more than 10 million undocumented workers (excluding their families) in the United States (White). Most of these illegal workers are concentrated in California and Texas, although their presence can be felt all over the country. About three quarters of these illegal immigrants come to the United States after crossing the US/Mexico border. Many of these illegal immigrants are hired by US employers as undocumented workers and this is done because they can be hired at a pay less than minimum wage. Most of these workers are hired to work in the agricultural, manufacturing, and construction industries, or in backroom jobs. These workers are not given any kind of health care or any other benefits (White). These jobs are mostly opened illegally by US employers in order to save up on taxes and also save up on their costs by paying the workers less than minimum wage. It is for this reason that I believe it important for the immigration reform to be in place as it makes it harder for the employers to cheat the government out of the taxes etc.

One other benefit that can be derived from the IRCA is that of the social costs related with illegal immigration into the United States. When the illegal immigrants enter America, they do so without any papers or any authorization. This means that there is no record of where they come from or what sort of a background they have. They might be infected with a hundred diseases, such as polio, tuberculosis, etc. These diseases can spread and cause a lot of problems for the American citizens. Other than that, there are more costs that are added for a state as it has to pay for the education etc for these illegal immigrants. “In an already under funded programs they give these services a more heavy burden to deal with. Republicans have reached agreement among themselves on legislation designed to combat illegal immigration (Carney 1996). But with their package facing delaying tactics from Senate Democrats and a veto from the president, they finished the week of Sept. 2 uncertain of their next move” (Website).

It would be useful to consider the downside of implementing strict immigration laws. If the labor market were not being filled by illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border, these positions would have to be filled by someone else. If we were to bring more agricultural and service workers into the U.S. through a regularized process, the resulting body of immigrants would be less Mexican and more Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and African. For those who want an idea of how this would impact American society, take a look at Europe. This is an issue of culture, language, and religion. Author Samuel Huntington (Who Are We?) and others have argued that Mexican culture is not readily compatible with the Anglo-Protestant culture under which the U.S. has prospered. This may be true. but it certainly is more compatible than Iraqi culture (Howell 2006).

If the Mexicans were not coming in illegally, we would have to process--and keep track of--all of them. What would the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, the successor agency to the Immigration and Naturalization service under the new Department of Homeland Security) have to look like to process the 500 workers who are sneaking into the country illegally on a daily basis? What would it cost? There roughly are 11,000,000,000 illegal immigrants in the U.S. By any process other than deporting them all, there will be a substantial increase in the size of the government agencies designed to monitor them (Howell 2006).

By making such an issue of illegal immigrants from Mexico, we are discouraging all immigrants about life in the U.S., including those that we need desperately. The issue is plugging up the immigration system for applicants who have math and science skills. Many claim that the education system is being overburdened by the children of illegal immigrants. Yet, such skills have not--at least over the last 20 years--been produced by that same system, forcing us to import our technological capability from India, East Asia, and elsewhere (Howell 2006).

One might argue that the immigrants are people after all and that they should not be discriminated against even if they come illegally into the country. A lot of public controversy has been sparked on the discourse of affirmative action, which is about the discrimination of the immigrants in the workplace. This started as a period of “passionate debate that began around 1972 and tapered off after 1980, and the second indicating a resurgence of debate in the 1990s leading up to the Supreme Court's decision in the summer of 2003 upholding certain kinds of affirmative action” (Fullinwider 2005). Other than this, there have been two paths that the development, defense, and contestation of preferential affirmative action have taken. “One has been legal and administrative as courts, legislatures, and executive departments of government have made and applied rules requiring affirmative action. The other has been the path of public debate, where the practice of preferential treatment has spawned a vast literature, pro and con” (Fullinwider 2005).

Many people argue that the immigrants are usually skilled labor and they help increase the local production of the United States. Others also argue that when the businesses pay them lower than minimum wage, their costs go down, which means that the costs of production as well as the prices goes down, and these help the citizens of the United States. It is also argued that the immigrants tend to send their US dollars outside America to their families, and this strengthens the value of the dollar, making it more valuable, thereby making the economy of US stronger.

Yet, we find that these benefits are far outweighed by the costs that the illegal immigrants bear on the US. Many immigrants have felt that they are being discriminated against in the workplace for one or more of the various kinds of discriminatory practices that occur within various organizations. Many of these employees are women who believe that they have been discriminated based on their sex. The Revised Order of 1972 affected a change that included women among the “protected classes” whose “underutilization” demanded the setting of “goals” and “timetables” for “full utilization” (Graham 1990). There are some theories that are presented in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that pertain to discrimination in employment, even if the employee is an illegal immigrant. The IRCA changes all that. An illegal immigrant cannot be considered an employee under the IRCA, which automatically takes care of the discrimination problem.

It can be concluded that the immigration reforms are a good practice for both the immigrants, and more importantly, for the US. The illegal immigrants pose many problems for our country and they should not be allowed to enter in the first place. But since it is very hard to implement total security, steps should be taken to reduce the illegal immigrant inflow into our country and the first step is to implement immigration reform. Much of what these people earn in the US is sent to their homes in their own countries and the US economy is deprived of their taxes. By staying in the US, they are spending each second doing an illegal act as just their presence inside the US borders is an illegal act.

Many people tend to think that eradicating illegal immigration is impossible and that it can never work. This is not true. Illegal immigration can be repealed if the government takes the proper measures. While there is no painless magic answer, illegal migration can be significantly reduced with a few effective measures. Some of those measures require money; some require political will; many can be accomplished by the President without new legislation. Adopted as part of a comprehensive approach, these measures will be effective. Adopted selectively, they will fail. As a first step, however, current law and regulations must be clarified. Employers are caught between competing legal mandates when hiring non-citizens; aliens with only a tenuous claim to presence in the U.S. remain here for years under the color of law; and some government officials do not know whether they are obliged to report information to or withhold it from the INS. Congress and the regulators must simplify legal requirements so that the average person, citizen or alien, can know what the rules are (Lempres 1994).

Interdiction can be effective because of the nature of the flow of illegal migration. Over 95 per cent of illegal border crossers come through Mexico, where the terrain funnels traffic into several crossing points. By far the busiest crossing point in the nearly 6,000 miles of land border is the 13 miles near San Diego. Over 40 per cent of the Border Patrol's total interdictions occur in that 13-mile strip of land. Moreover, the Border Patrol estimates that over 90 per cent of its total apprehensions occur in just 100 miles of border segments. The concentration of illegal traffic means that interdiction efforts can be focused for greater effectiveness. Physical structures such as lights, fences, and anti-automobile barriers can be placed along the high-traffic crossing points. Without new legislation, the Administration can build these structures and add Border Patrol officers at the hot spots (Lempres 1994).

Other than that, there has been a lot of prosecutions regarding illegal immigration over the past few years. But the government is not merely prosecuting illegal immigrants for immigration offenses; it is reinvigorating its investigation and prosecutorial efforts against corporate America as well. Various corporate scenarios in the United States show that corporate America currently faces in confronting federal prosecutions. Congress first deputized corporate America into controlling the flow of illegal immigration at our nation's borders in 1986--by making it illegal for employers to knowingly hire, or knowingly retain after hiring, illegal immigrants, as well as to fail to comply with the employment verification requirements--and then subjecting employers to stiff civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance. Congress further deputized corporate America in 1996, and subjected corporate America to even higher financial stakes, when it made certain immigration offenses predicate offenses in RICO, and thereby opened the doors to suits from plaintiffs' lawyers for treble damages for having knowingly hired at least ten undocumented workers in a twelve-month period. Given the increasingly high stakes for employers, it is imperative that they expend the resources now to take the preventive measures outlined in this article. To do less will only perpetuate exposure to unnecessary and costly risk (Ciobanu and Green 2006).

Work Cited

Carney, Dan, (1996). " Social Policy " Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 54, (36): 2531.

Ciobanu, Ileana M. and Thomas C. Green. (2006). “Deputizing - and Then Prosecuting - America's Businesses in the Fight against Illegal Immigration,” American Criminal Law Review, 43, (3): 1203+.

Fullinwider, Robert, (2005). “Affirmative Action”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),

Graham, Hugh Davis, (1990), The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy 1960-1972 (New York: Oxford University Press): 413.

Hayes, Ted, (September 25, 2000 ). “Illegal Immigration Threatens U.S. Sovereignty, Economy and Culture,” Insight on the News, 16, (36): 46

Howell, Llewellyn d. (July 2006). “Ironies of Illegal Immigration,” USA Today, 135, (2734): 19

Lempres, Michael T. (1994). “Getting Serious about Illegal Immigration,” National Review, 46, (3): 52+

LMD, (Summer 1992). “How to Avoid Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination,” Labor Management Decisions, 2, (2)

Website, “Immigration Problem in the US,” Online,

White, Deborah, “Analysis of Immigration Reform Proposal,” Liberal Politics: US, Available Online:

THE INTRODUCTION OF “immigration reform” legislation is a tribute first and foremost to the heroic activism of proud “Undocumented and Afraid” youth coming forward to demand their rights and refusing to live in the shadows. It also raises a host of new issues. Socialists call for open borders, amnesty for so-called “illegal” immigrants and citizenship for those who wish it, but we also need to develop a concrete attitude toward specific proposals. Do these reform proposals make the situation better and less repressive in people’s real lives, or worse? Do they open pathways for further reforms, or create barriers blocking new progress?

We need to listen carefully to what activist forces are saying. One commentary, “Immigration Reform Depends on Us” by Rigo Padilla, appears at the Solidarity webzine at

We present here another first response, written on January 29, 2013 by Georgia activist and Solidarity member Joaquin Bustelo. — The ATC Editors

A LOT OF Latinos and other supporters of immigrant rights are celebrating tonight the announcement of an outline for an immigration reform hatched by eight senators. And there is reason to celebrate.

The gang of eight came up with a compromise, supported by all four Republicans, including John McCain, their 2008 presidential candidate, and Marco Rubio, a tea-party darling who is much talked about as the GOP standard bearer in 2016.

So the Republican united front against any reform has collapsed, and they have accepted — in principle — that it be a single bill and that legalization will lead to permanent residence and then citizenship for those who want it. Thus far the good.

The bad is in the details. First, no move towards permanent residency can begin until some new commission of border state politicos proclaims that the border is secure. Unless the government changes its catastrophic “War on Drugs,” there will be incidents along the border related to drug trafficking that can be used as a pretext to freeze everything for decades.

Once the border is supposedly “secure” there would be a requirement that everyone who was “standing in line” to get their immigrant visa to become permanent residents — all of them, every last one — get their green cards first before the currently undocumented can get theirs.

One problem is ... there is no line. Each year Congress decides on a quota of people to be admitted through a preference system. That system has two pools — visas for employment and visas for family members. These are further subdivided by category. Family has five categories and four levels of preference. Employment has eleven categories with five levels of preference. (There are special quotas for religious ministers, and another one for Iraqi or Afghan translators. In 2012, more than 4000 were admitted in that category).

In 2013 there will be up to 380,000 “quota” visas. So how many are on the waiting list worldwide? The number is 4,412,693, meaning it would take over 11 years before the first green card under this proposal were granted. But it gets worse.

No country is allowed to have more than 7% of the world quota. So in the case of Mexico, they will get up to 26,600 visas. And how big is the waiting list in Mexico? It’s 1,316,118. Divide by 26,600 immigrant visas a year and you get 49.47 years: as close to half a century as makes no difference, before the first green card would be offered under this proposal.

And it gets even worse: not just in each country, but each priority level also has a quota. In the lowest family preference category there are 746,137 applicants waiting in Mexico. Fourth preference category visas are limited to a world maximum of 65,000, and 7% of that is 4,550 visas/year. So how long would it take to drain that pool of applicants? 163.986 years, which means that counting from the beginning of this year, by December 26 of the year 2175 the government would start processing permanent residence applications for people receiving legal status under this proposal.

Now the senators all know this ... or at least people on their staffs do, because they are often called upon to lean on la migra on behalf of some well-connected immigrant who is “out of status.” So this is all sort of a sick charade. Marco Rubio needed cover and they gave it to him, everything that he asked for. It’s political theater.

It’s great that the Republicans have been forced to abandon one position after another. First it was, no immigration reform until hell freezes over. Then it was, let them stay but they can’t be citizens and, oh yeah, let’s do it piecemeal so maybe we can pass a Dream Act and something supposedly for the agricultural workers and leave the rest twisting in the wind.

You can see now why the Republicans wanted several bills — to pit one segment of the community against another. And they’ve incorporated that strategy into this document with promises of special treatment for childhood arrivals and farm workers. The Republicans have agreed to having just one bill and a path to citizenship, at least in theory. But they’ve incorporated the divide-and-rule strategy into this document with promises of special treatment for childhood arrivals and farm workers.

But the reality of this proposal is that the path to the grave is much shorter than to citizenship for the rest of the immigrants, and although it claims to be “comprehensive,” lots of very necessary points have been left out of the proposal.

The Really Ugly

Those immigrant visa numbers were the bad; now it gets really ugly:

For example: Why are we still spending millions deporting people whom we would otherwise be legalizing in a few months? But the senators “forgot” to have a moratorium on deportation of people who don’t have convictions for serious crimes, not even parents of children.

Another necessary point is an end to polimigra — the use of local police as extensions of the immigration service — and a return to what has been the U.S. tradition, that local and state law enforcement play no role in enforcing federal law.

Which brings me to another missing point: amnesty.

No, I don’t mean for the undocumented, because they’ve done no wrong. Hominids have been meandering all over the globe since we climbed down from the trees in Africa, and doing what humans have always done is not a crime in my eyes.

The amnesty would be for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have been unjustly prosecuted for illegal entry (even though it’s only a misdemeanor) or illegal reentry after deportation, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years.

In Texas and Arizona Obama continued and expanded a program Bush started called “Operation Streamline.” Federal prosecutors are required to charge every last border crosser caught in their sector — no discretion allowed.

Under Obama, prosecutions of people caught at the border have skyrocketed to become the most frequent cases filed in Federal Courts. Yet what’s going on is simply that people who got caught and deported are trying to return to their families and friends. An amnesty that frees them from prison or banishment and erases these convictions from their record is needed.

With local cops acting as extensions of la migra, the result has been a catastrophic dismemberment of hundreds of thousands of families. That — the reunification of families and healing of communities that have been devastated by this deportation madness — needs to be at the center of any reform.

These issues aren’t addressed by the eight Senators, or in Obama’s leaked back-up plan. So it’s not yet time to celebrate but to organize and prepare for the next battle, which is over the content of the reform.

One tool is the “ucanfixitnow”website and the 15-point “Basic Requirements for a Just Reform” ( We need to be clear on what we’re fighting for.

March/April 2013, ATC 163


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