When it comes to immigration, certain issues have dominated the debate over the last year. According to iSideWith.com, there are about a dozen of these “hot topics.” They are listed below. I present each issue in the form of a question. I then give a brief one sentence synopsis of the key arguments for and against each question. Then I add my view on the matter. Hopefully this will serve to bring you up to date on the latest in immigration.
Should Muslim immigrants be banned from entering the country?
For: Much of the violence and terrorism in the world involves Muslim actors.
Against: This is racist profiling and discriminatory.
My take: A Muslim ban is offensive because it is racist and discriminatory. Each individual immigrant should be judged on his or her own merits and not based on their religious or ethnic background.
2. The Wall
Should the U.S. build a wall along the southern border?
For: Fences make good neighbors and will stop the flood of illegal immigrants into the country.
Against: Most illegal immigrants did not come illegally across the border but overstay their visas.
My take: Most illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. overstay the term of their visas and a wall would not have stopped them. I am more inclined to embrace the symbolism of the Statute of Liberty than the Wall on the southern border. Illegal immigration can be curtailed without building a wall.
Should local law enforcement be allowed to detain illegal immigrants?
For: Police are police – if the person is illegal he or she should be detained.
Against: Immigration is not a criminal matter in most instances and is too complicated to leave to local enforcement.
My take: I can see why detaining violent criminals would make sense. But I also accept that immigration is a complicated field and it is not easy to determine who is and who is not legally here. I am divided, but lean in favor of not having local officials detaining people on immigration reasons alone.
4. Naturalization of Children of Illegals
Should children of illegal immigrants be granted legal citizenship?
For: The constitution says if you are born in the United States you are a citizen.
Against: Why should a child of an illegal immigrant gain legal status in the USA?
My take: I believe this is an overblown issue and that the constitutional right of a child born in the USA to be a citizen should be maintained.
5. Access to Government Services
Should illegal immigrants have access to government services?
For: They should because otherwise they will be driven underground and operate outside the law.
Against: Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to benefit from their illegality.
My take: I believe illegal immigrants should be able to access government services for things like drivers licenses and that we are better off regulating these matters than forcing them to go underground.
6. In-State tuition
Should illegal immigrants be offered in-state tuition rates at U.S. Colleges?
For: Illegal immigrants should not be able to benefit in any way from their illegality?
Against: A past wrong should not justify retarding the education of people living according to the law ever since.
My take: I do not favor punishing children for the wrongs committed by their parents and in most cases this is what would happen if we denied students in state tuition based on illegal status.
7. Deportation for serious crimes
Should immigrants be deported if they commit a serious crime?
For: An illegal immigrant should not even be in America in the first place and should be removed if they commit a serious crime.
Against: Each case must be judged on its own circumstances and some instances may justify allowing a wrong doer to pay for a crime in America such as where deportation could lead to oppression elsewhere.
My take: I am all in favor of deportation for serious crimes but would leave that punishment in the discretion of judges who can look at all the circumstances of a case before meting out that sentence.
8. Work Permits
Should working illegal immigrants be given temporary work permits?
For: This helps the government keep tabs of illegal immigrants and makes them tax paying contributors to American society.
Against: Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for their illegality.
My take: I favor granting work permits to those illegal immigrants who are leading a normal crime-free life.
9. English Language
Should immigrants be required to learn English?
For: English is the dominant language in America and immigrants should learn it.
Against: There are many examples of immigrants who came to America and did not learn English yet had meaningful lives and contributed to America. What counts is not the language but the patriotism.
My take: What matters is whether an immigrant – illegal or legal – loves America and is a patriot. Whether they speak English or not to me is secondary.
10. Increase Border Policing
Should the U.S. increase restrictions in its current border policing?
For: Too many illegal immigrants are entering the USA.
Against: Most illegals overstay their period of authorized stay on their visas but enter the country legally. Increasing border policing will not stop this flow.
My take: Border patrol is only one element in the mix. It is almost impossible to seal the border completely in this day and age – so it is a matter of incurring escalating costs for diminishing protections. A reasonable balance must be found.
11. Skilled Immigrants
Should the U.S. increase or decrease the amount of skilled immigrants?
For: Skilled immigrants create jobs for themselves and others – we should increase them.
Against: Skilled immigrants drive down wages and take jobs away from American workers.
My take: For every one skilled worker who comes to America the evidence is he or she creates four or five new jobs for American workers. The marketplace can better regulate the need and number of such workers and who should be allowed to enter each year.
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