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Immigration Reform Paper

Today, the problem of illegal immigration becomes an unbearable burden for the US, especially for the local authorities and states, which are often left alone in face of a bunch of socioeconomic problems provoked by illegal immigration. Moreover, the current socioeconomic crisis and economic recession have aggravated the situation dramatically because the local as well as federal budgets cannot afford the increase of social expenses and elimination of problems raised by the illegal immigration. In such a context, the views on the immigrant reform vary dramatically from the total ban of illegal immigration and expulsion of illegal immigrants from the USA to the legalization of immigrants, including the provision of a possibility of reunification with their families, on the premise of the protection of human rights of illegal immigrants.

The full controversy of the immigration reform and its major challenges are revealed in the Washington Post’s editorial “Democrats Should Face the Challenge”, which stresses the necessity of the immediate introduction of the immigration reform. In this respect, the experience of the Governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano is very important since she is an opponent of the illegal immigration and she deals with this problem daily because Arizona is the state the most affected by the problem of illegal immigration. The number of illegal immigrants in Arizona is highest compared to other states. In such a situation, Janet Napolitano knows all the effects of illegal immigration on the state as well as national economy and social life.

In fact, it is obvious that the illegal immigration evokes a number of serious socioeconomic problems. Basically, the illegal immigration affects the labor market of the USA because illegal immigrants move to the US in search of work and better life. In such a way, it is obvious that the ongoing illegal immigration will lead to a profound crisis in the national as well as local labor markets, where illegal immigrants can potentially replace US-born workers and, thus, increase the unemployment rate, which has been galloping within recent months because of the economic recession in the USA. At the same time, Janet Napolitano warns that the economic crisis in the US will not stop the illegal immigration because the situation in Latin America, where the majority of immigrants come from, is even worse than in the USA.

In addition, illegal immigration evokes problems related to health care services and education of immigrants, including illegal immigrants. These problems definitely lead to the growth of the state expanses and become unbearable burden for the state budget in face of the aggravating socioeconomic situation nationwide. At the same time, the position of Janet Napolitano reveals the existing controversy in view on the immigration reform. To put it more precisely, basically she stands for the ban of illegal immigration and limitation of the access of illegal immigrants to return to the US once they leave the country. On the other hand, she does not support legislative initiatives which would have “cut-off in-state tuition aid for undocumented college students, even if they were brought to the country as children of their parents” (Democrats should face the challenge). In actuality, this means that the Governor of Arizona admits the possibility of retaining a part of illegal immigrants in the US, especially those who could be or are qualified specialists in some areas. In such a way, it is possible to speak about a moderate view on the immigration reform, according to which the illegal immigration should be banned, but not all illegal immigrants should be expelled from the country. However, the latter raises the problem of the development of clear and just criteria according to which illegal immigrants should be either expelled or stay in the USA. Moreover, this issue also raises the problem of human rights since it is obvious that formally all illegal immigrants are in the same, illegal, position. Hence it would be just either to expel all illegal immigrants or let them stay in the country.

In regard to the solution of this dilemma specialists offer absolutely different approaches. For instance, David Bacon, in his article “Beyond Broceros” insists on the necessity of the protection of human rights of illegal immigrants. Moreover, he argues that immigrants should take an active social position and launch civil action against the efforts of the Republicans to limit rights of illegal immigrants and maintain discriminatory policy in regard to people living and working in the US, even if they are undocumented immigrants (Bacon, 2005). In such a situation, it is obvious that Bacon is a proponent of the legalization of illegal immigrants and counteraction to the efforts of officials to limit the access of immigrants to the US as well as the violation of their rights within the country. In fact, this position can be justified by the necessity of the protection of basic human rights of immigrants, even though do not have a legal status in the USA. However, such a position is a bit radical because it does not simply lead to the legalization of illegal immigrants in the USA but it also encourages pro-immigration policies. The latter means that Bacon practically offers the state to avoid interference in the immigration policies on the premise of the violation of human rights of illegal immigrants.

At this point, the position of T.P. Jeffrey in relation to human rights is particularly noteworthy since he refers to the principle of freedom of choice its legal interpretations. To put it more precisely his argument may be interpreted in the context of immigration as follows: if the US get some benefits from the illegal immigrants than it should give them back some benefits, for instance, provide them with job equal to American citizens (Jeffrey, 2005). In fact, this position undermines the position of supporter of the ban of illegal immigration and expelling of illegal immigrants from the US, because immigrants apparently bring considerable benefits to the US economy since they are the main source of younger, economically active population to the US and they enlarge national labor market. Hence, the state could give them some positive feedback either through legalization or some social guarantees. However, such an approach to illegal immigration does not take into consideration possible negative effects of illegal immigration, such as unemployment, high crime rates, etc. In fact, the position of Bacon and Jeffrey is based on purely formal, legal ground.

In this respect, the position of Felicia Persaud seems to be more rational and it backs up, in a way, the position of Janet Napolitano. In fact, this position is grounded on socioeconomic factors. The author apparently understands the economic significance of illegal immigrants to the US. On the other hand, she understands that the further growth of illegal immigration will unaffordable for the US. Hence, she suggests to stop the illegal immigration and to legalize the undocumented immigrants that are living and working in the US. In fact, such a solution may be an effective compromise which can balance the current situation avoiding growing expenses on the departure of illegal immigrants and granting them with the possibility to get the legal status in the US.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the immigration reform is needed since it is impossible to maintain status quo when the illegal immigration is growing and the US suffer from economic recession. In such a situation, the immigration reform should apparently aim at the prevention of illegal immigration, but it is impossible to send all the illegal immigrants off the country because it will be costly and, what is more, it may have negative economic effects, taking into consideration that there are millions of economically active illegal immigrants in the US, at the moment. Hence, their legalization would be more logical but it should be backed up by stricter immigrant policies to be implemented in the future.


Works Cited:

Bacon, D. “Beyond bracers.” The Nation 281.22, Dec 26, 2005, p5(2). 
 “Democrats Should Face the Challenge.” Washington Post. December 3, 2008. Retrieved on December 13, 2008 from
Jeffrey, T.P. “Tell Harvard: A Deal’s A Deal,” Human Events, December 12, 2005.
Persaud, F. “Illinois congressman insists border security tied to earned legalization.” Caribbean Update , 2005.
Sandoval, C. and Tambini, C. Farmingville. 2004.
Urrea, L.A. Across The Wire. New York: Anchor, 1993.