Who really calls the shots in the immigration debate?
One of the most controversial topics in America at this time, the debate of immigration has split many hard-working Americans as to what we should do with immigrants. The topic of immigration has many branches to it, including what we need to do with the current illegal immigrants in the country, how many people we should let in and receive citizenship per year, and whether or not our boarder needs to be strengthened. The current illegal immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans and working for lower wages than the legal limit, piquing the interest of companies large and small. This poses the question: should we allow these immigrants citizenship if they have already been in the country working for years? The answer is no because illegal immigrants being granted citizenship is unconstitutional, takes jobs from current Americans, and is a slap in the face to the millions of foreign citizens that went through the naturalization process to become an American.
The fact that what Obama is doing is unconstitutional is the biggest reason we need to have a change in how we handle the immigration process. On November 20th, 2014 Barack Obama gave a speech telling the people of America that the policy of how we handle the illegal immigrants currently in our country is flawed; a proposal was made by him that we create a law called the Common Sense Law (Obama). Before Barack proposed the Common Sense Law, he spoke in his speech of a bill he attempted to pass in the senate. The bill he tried to pass was a compromise, allowing these current illegal immigrants we knew about a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying taxes, and went to the back of the line (Obama). However, Obama said the bill did not pass because the senate would not allow a yes or no vote to occur, blaming the Republican Party for this. This is very unprofessional on his part; instead of immediately proposing a new idea to make everybody happy and fix the problem, he quickly blames the Republicans in the senate for not allowing his first idea to pass. To follow up with his rejection, Obama proposed a new law called the Common Sense Law which he knows is even more of a stretch he will have to make to pass than his former bill.
What Obama’s Common Sense Law will do is this: All of the illegal immigrants in the country right now will be given background checks, taught the English language if they do not already know it, paying a penalty for crossing over the border illegally, and start paying taxes. According to an interview with Jeffrey S. Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center, there are as many as 12.2 million illegal immigrants in our country now (Casselman). How much would this cost the American government to give background checks on all of these people? Not only that but who knows how long these immigrants have been here; these people could have made a good sum of money that was not taxed and the government would give them a “penalty.” Also, to be an American a person must be able to speak the English language. In title 8 of the United States Code, it specifies that “an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language: Provided, That the requirements of this paragraph relating to ability to read and write shall be met if the applicant can read or write simple words and phrases to the end that a reasonable test of his literacy shall be made and that no extraordinary or unreasonable condition shall be imposed upon the applicant” ( Sec. 312. [8 U.S.C. 1423]) For Obama to say that the American government will teach these current law-breakers English to grant them citizenship will bypass this act altogether. He is promoting and giving hope to these people that did a bad deed crossing the border and now is giving them more rights than ever. Passing this bill will break many laws that have been put in place for a reason for many years, deeming what Obama is doing for these immigrants unconstitutional.
On December 3rd, 2014 it was announced that Obama and his administration was to filed a lawsuit by a coalition of seventeen states, being led by the state of Texas (Miller). The governors in favor of going after the president said they feel as if Obama should not have the power or authority to bypass the congress and make an executive decision that angered many (Miller). Texas, a historically conservative state, would be greatly impacted if Obama’s plan is put in place. Texas is right on the boarder of Mexico and many immigrants attempt to cross over the Rio Grande. The last thing Texas ranchers need are more immigrants coming over because they have hope to now become legal citizens of arguably the best country on Earth.
While creating this Common Sense Law is unconstitutional, it will also take away the jobs of Americans that are in need in this time of a diminished and shattered economy. Ever since the Fiscal Crisis of 2008 the economy has not been as strong and supportive as it previously was. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employment rate for independent Americans was a low 4.61 percent in the year 2007, while in 2009 the average shot up to 9.28 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The economy has gotten somewhat better since the stock market crash, but not enough for the American people to consider the current economy strong. Many people are still out of jobs, inflation is on the rise, and people are losing hope in our banking system (Kosakowski). When the stock market crashed in 2008, investors were scared they were going to lose their money. Following the crash, investors not only took money out of the banks but out of the stock market as well. Everything and everyone took a hit; gas prices rose homes were selling for much less than they previously were, and many people were to blame for the entire situation (Kosakowski). Under President Obama the economy has not fully recovered and employment rates are still low; bringing in five million immigrants would not help the situation.
During President Obama’s speech on November 20th he stated that allowing all of these immigrants to become American citizens would not hurt our job outlook. If what he said were true though, the possible 12.2 million people that would potentially become American citizens would also need jobs if they do not already have one. One of the big reasons big corporations like these immigrants here in America is because they are willing to work for less pay than the federal minimum wage. Saying that these immigrants receive citizenship, not as many companies will want to pay the federal minimum wage for an employee; even less immigrants would have jobs and inflation would occur because companies will have to pay these low-income workers more money. With less people working and those that are working being paid very little will only cause further problems. According to a research done by Ohio State University, as the inflation-adjusted wages of the working force without a college degree fell by twenty percent between the years of 1979 to 1997, crime rates increased thirty-five percent. Immigrants would only cause greater problems in the work force if they do become American citizens.
There must be some sort of reason why these immigrants want to cross the border into foreign soil. Immigrants are not the only ones however looking to do this. People of many nationalities have requested to come to America to “Live the American Dream.” It needs to be noted that many people have come over legally. But is it really fair that the effort of the people that went through the process to be totally wasted? To be granted citizenship a foreigner must pass two tests: an English test and a civics test. The English test ensures you are fluent with the English language. The civics test is a test that shows whether or not you have knowledge of U.S. history and government. The tests consist of ten questions each and an applicant must be able to answer six of the ten correctly. Obama is bypassing both of these tests to help these immigrants gain citizenship. Not only that, but all of the hard work and studying done by law-abiding foreigners would have been futile.
During Obama’s presidential run, he gave a speech in 2008 saying that creating a bilingual nation would not be a bad thing (Obama). Many citizens would disagree with this statement and would not want a bilingual nation; after all, we have used the same language since the signing of the Constitution. Language would be a large barrier to break if Obama’s Common Sense Law is passed.
When Obama made his speech on immigration on November 20th, 2014 many mixed feelings were in the air. Some thought he was making the right move, giving these less fortunate a glimpse of hope. However, what he said and his plan of action was not the right one because illegal immigrants being granted citizenship is unconstitutional, it takes away jobs from current Americans, and is a slap in the face to the millions of foreign citizens that went through the naturalization process to become an American. Overall, a change needs to be made in the process of this hot topic. While it is impossible to please everybody, the safe route is often the logical one. In conclusion, granting the illegal immigrants in this country free citizenship is not the correct way to handle the situation.
Sec. 312. [8 U.S.C. 1423]
"Barack Obama on Immigration." On The Issues. N.p., 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.
"Bureau of Labor Statistics." Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.
United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.
Casselman, Ben. "How Do We Know How Many Undocumented Immigrants There Are?"
DataLab. 10 July 2014. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.
Grabmeier, Jeff. "Higher Crime Rate Linked To Low Wages And Unemployment, Study
Finds." Ohio State Research. N.p., 10 Apr. 2002. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.
Kosakowski, Paul. "The Fall of the Market in the Fall of 2008." Investopedia. N.p., n.d.
Web. 03 Dec. 2014.
Miller, S.A., and Stephen Dinan. "17 States File Lawsuit in Bid to Halt Obama Amnesty
Order." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 3 Dec. 2014. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
Obama, Barack. "Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Immigration."
The White House. The White House, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.