Since it is the end of the semester I am getting papers back that I wrote for classes. I got this one back today from my cultural anthropology class. After re-reading it I was like "damn...I kick ass" so I thought I would "publish" it :-)
The Dilemma of Americas Illegal Immigration Policies
The issue of illegal immigration is an interesting issue in a country that is made up of the descendents of immigrants. The nations current immigration issues are not new. As a developing country with such a unique form of government, America is faced with having to balance the philosophy of freedom for all and the practicality of distributing scarce resources amongst an ever growing population. In the history of the development of American society there are many examples of illegal (im)migration. There has never been an effective way of defending against the problems this migration causes to society, and almost without exception the illegal immigrants have been eventually granted amnesty, if only because the government does not have the methods or the means to enforce the laws that it creates.
America is one of the richest countries in the world. It is also a nation that was founded on the principle of providing a haven for the poor and disenfranchised of the world. Society, however, has developed the attitude of the political superpowers that our forefathers were trying to escape from. As such, I believe the government should be considering that illegal immigration is actually a symptom of the underdevelopment that we encourage in the world in order to line the pockets of our wealthy citizens. The pope makes an excellent point when he says, The problem of illegal immigration cannot be considered apart from the underdevelopment that motivates it. (Penalver: 9-10)
The argument against illegal immigration is that our society has laws that are expected to be followed. I counter that such laws are ineffectually enforced at best. Politicians are not able to come to an agreement of how to proceed in relation to immigration reform and changes to public policy are slow. The last reform to the law was in 1986.
No one majority is willing to take a stand against illegal immigration, as evidenced by the fact that since 1965 the nations leaders have only once formally addressed this issue. In doing so they granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and failed to make any provisions for actually enforcing the laws in the future. This is just the beginning of Americas arbitrary policy making. In 1990 the president signed a law creating an annual immigration lottery allowing 50,000 individuals from selected nations to go to the front of the line and automatically become permanent residents. (Wayne: 1)
We must consider the legal impetus for the laws of our nation. If we are not going to enforce the policies that we create, the government is wasting their time and taxpayers money to go through the process of putting them on the books. American leaders have routinely disregarded the broken laws of citizens and non citizens alike. The legal doctrine of necessity is the oft used defense of illegal immigrants because the doctrine makes it lawful for someone in extreme need to disregard the law in order to satisfy that need, as long as in doing so they do not inflict an even greater harm than the one they seek to avoid. (Penalver: p9-10) Ethically, how can a society who has continued to allow, and granted amnesty to, lawless squatters justify enforcement of laws which have routinely been disregarded throughout history?
Wayne, Alex. 2005. Questioning the Risks of Immigration'Lotto'. CQ Weekly Congressional Quarterly Inc
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver. 2006. Are Illegal Immigrants Pioneers? THE IRONY OF AMERICAN HISTORY. Commonweal New York: Vol. 133, Iss.9, p.9-10