We've talked a bit about immigration these past two weeks (both past and present), and so I wanted to see what you thought about current immigration reform.
Another issue concerns undocumented or illegal aliens. It is estimated that 50-75% of America's agricultural workforce is undocumented. "Farmers across the country don’t want to see their best workers taken away from them, but whether these workers are given the legal authorization to work will depend on action by Congress." 1
President Bush proposed a plan about seven or eight years ago that would help put undocumented immigrants "on the path to citizenship." This plan included having the immigrants receive legal immigrant status in exchange for paying a penalty for having stayed here illegally, learn English, become citizens within five to ten years, and become tax-paying, Social Security number-having, green-card-carrying aliens. Opposition in Congress shot this plan down , and so it remains in limbo.
As we saw in the Frontline special, "Lost in Detention," President Obama and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have cracked down on illegal immigrants and cast a very wide net across America to deport illegal immigrants with their Secure Communities program. ICE has tried to reach its quota of 400,000 undocumented immigrants deported every year for the past three years. The show seemed to imply that if Obama enforced the laws vigorously, then Congress would pass some meaningful immigration reform. But so far, that hasn't happened yet.
This plan acknowledges the idea that America must do something about the estimated 10-12 million undocumented immigrants living here already. The plan also goes after businesses who hire undocumented immigrants and avoid paying taxes on these workers. "Employers who refused to swipe the card or who otherwise knowingly hired unauthorized workers would face stiff fines and, for repeat offenses, prison sentences." 2
The plan also wants to improve our economy by insuring that educated immigrants stay here: "Ensuring economic prosperity requires attracting the world's best and brightest. Our legislation would award green cards to immigrants who receive a PhD or master's degree in science, technology, engineering or math from a U.S. university. It makes no sense to educate the world's future inventors and entrepreneurs and then force them to leave when they are able to contribute to our economy." 2
And lastly, the plan addressed temporary workers to acquire green cards:
"Our blueprint also creates a rational system for admitting lower-skilled workers. Our current system prohibits lower-skilled immigrants from coming here to earn money and then returning home. Our framework would facilitate this desired circular migration by allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can show they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position; allowing more lower-skilled immigrants to come here when our economy is creating jobs and fewer in a recession; and permitting workers who have succeeded in the workplace, and contributed to their communities over many years, the chance to earn a green card." 2
Pick one of the issues that I've mentioned above:
2. what to do with the 10-12 million undocumented immigrants already here;
3. should Secure Communities continue deporting people;
5. deporting school aged children who were brought here illegally by their parents
and discuss your opinions about that issue and possibly if it has affected your family or friends.
200 words, due by class Thursday 10/4.
3. http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/DACA-First-Month.pdf "Deferred Action Program Moves Forward." National Immigration Reform.