The Obama Administration’s Immigration Policy Revision and its National Ramifications
Immigration refers to the process of migration and settlement of people in a new country. It may be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary migration occurs in cases where people migrate to search for jobs and better living conditions. Involuntary immigration occurs in war mostly whereby the survivors migrate into the said country as refugees. Some laws have been put in place in order to control the rate of immigration in America. These laws are important because they help to keep the country free of dangerous people like terrorists. These laws are present in the constitution of the country but are often revised by the legislature when need arises. This paper will discuss the most recent revision of the Immigration policy and its ramifications on the nation.
Immigration is the main source of population growth in the United States. This is because about forty thousand immigrants migrate into the country every year. This is a much higher number compared to the rest of the countries that admit a much smaller number than America does. Immigration also causes cultural changes in society. This is attributed to the fact that different cultures are meeting and sharing their traditions with each other. One of the main reasons why immigration takes place in the country at such a high rate is due to family reunification. It has been proven that 66% of the immigrants migrate into the states in order to unite with their families. 13% are due to employment skills while 17% are due to humanitarian reasons.
America began due to immigration, and this is probably why this practice is still accepted. Its immigration history is divided into four distinct periods that brought distinct national groups, ethnicities and races into the country. The first epoch was during the colonial period in the early seventeenth century. This migration brought Englishmen into America. They were in search of more land and better living conditions since most of them were indentured servants fleeing from Europe. However, in the eighteenth century immigrants from northern Europe started migrating, as well. This group of people comprised of small business owners as opposed to their counterparts who were slaves.
The second epoch was during the nineteenth century. The majority of the immigrants were of Asian origin, but some blacks settled, as well. The immigration rates were quite high, but they gradually decreased as the years passed. This may have been due to the high death rates that were involved with these voyages. The turn of the twentieth century brought in some more people of varied origins. Italians, Jews, and Slavs were the majority of the immigrants during this period. They came into America in such large numbers that the congress passes a law that limited the number of immigrants from these countries.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 caused a radical change in the migration patterns in America. This law abolished the national-origin quotas system. This made immigration from non-European nations possible. This caused the number of immigrants to exceed one million during this period. In 1990, the congress decided to regulate this number to a maximum of 550,000 people per annum. This provided an opportunity for people from several parts of the world to come into America. Subsequently, the cultural beliefs of the country also changed due to this. The patterns of immigration were noted to centre based on America’s economic position. For instance, during the recession I 1930, the immigration rate decreased tremendously. However, after the recession, the immigration rates increased.
Some laws have been put in place concerning immigration and naturalization in the states. They include the 1990 Immigration Act (IMMACT), the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). IMMACT is the law that limits the annual number the immigrants to only 700,000. This law also acknowledges the fact that family reunification is the main criterion of immigration followed by employment related issues. AEDEPA and IIRIRA are the laws that ensure that any immigrants taking part in criminal activities should be deported from the country.
On June 15, 2012, the president announced that there was a revision in the Immigration policy. President Obama has always been a prominent supporter of immigration, and this revision proved just that. The revision was that the Department of Homeland Security was to take steps to lift shadow deportation from young people. Those of them that are eligible may apply for work authorization and request temporary relief from deportation. This, however, applies only to those that pose no risk to the security of the nation. He also categorically stated that this provision was not a permanent solution to the problem. He supports this amendment because he believes that these young people will eventually help in developing the country in the future (The New York Times, 2).
In the light of the previous terrorist attacks that America has gone through, this may not be the best decision for the nation. This is because, with the rising number of immigrants, the population is also increasing. This causes a strain in the already available resources. The issue of security for instance is a principal cause of worry for the citizens of America. The level of security in the country is not as strong as it should be. This is because the number of citizens they have to protect drastically outweighs the number of police officers. This makes our country prone to terrorism attacks as well as criminal activities that make the country unsafe. This is the reason why most Americans prefer that the number of immigrants be reduced for the country’s well-being.
The basis of this decision is honorable but in the current situation, it is rather unwarranted. Such laws before being passed should be deliberated in detail. These discussions should outline the effects that such a law may nave on the nation as well as on the citizens themselves. This revision of the Immigration policy will have some effects of the American citizens. Unemployment leads on that list. After the economic meltdown, most people lost their jobs. This is because the organizations wanted to cut down on their expenditure. Some people who lost their jobs are still unemployed. This revision allows immigrants to work in the country. It is expected that the needs of the citizens be fulfilled before the government takes on the greater responsibility associated with immigrants.
Before providing the immigrants the job opportunities, they should ensure that their citizens are already catered. This opinion may seem to contain bias, but it is the opinion of more than 85% of the citizens of America. Another ramification of this revision is that criminals and illegal immigrants have a chance to extend their citizenship period. Even with the laws in place, to prevent illegal immigration, some illegal immigrants still find their way into the country. This mostly occurs in the border between America and Mexico. The Mexicans are known smuggling of drugs. This law enables them to stop deportation temporarily. Such people pose a significant risk to the healthcare of the Americans since they expose them to drugs that have several negative effects.
Education is also affected by increased by increased population pressure. Several studies have shown that most public schools enroll a greater number of Spanish speaking students, as opposed to the Americans (Jasper, 78). White parents prefer their children obtaining private education. The proficiency in the English language has also significantly dropped in the public schools. This is not appropriate for the development of the country. The environment is also affected by the increase in population. Resources like water and energy will not be able to maintain the population in America if this trend in immigration continues as it is. Studies show that the states may have a water shortage by the year 2025, especially in the heavily populated states like California (Berlatsky, 87).
Such effects eventually slow the rates of economic growth in the country. The healthcare industry is also strained due to increased population. This is because it needs to care for a larger number of people with the same resources it has. This makes them offer services of poorer quality to the citizens (Harrington et al, 34). This revision has more disadvantages than disadvantages to the citizens of America. It is a noble cause but the welfare of the citizens must be put first to ensure their comfort and well-being.
Harrington, Charlene, Carroll L. Estes, and Cassandra Crawford. Health Policy: Crisis and Reform in the U.S. Health Care Delivery System. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2004. Print.
Jasper, Margaret C. The Law of Immigration. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 2008. Print.
The new York Times.” Transcript of Obama’s Speech on Immigration Policy.” The New York Times 15 Jun. 2012: 1-4. Print.
Young, Mitchell. Immigration. Detroit: Green haven Press, 2008. Print.