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Who really calls the shots in the immigration debate?

Updated on December 21, 2014

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.

Works Cited

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.


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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      A good article that our government needs to read. Sometimes I think the government is totally against the American people. Maybe we need several new parties because the two party system we have is not working. I think both parties need to stop blaming each other and do some work. The country is falling apart. My grandparents came here learned to speak English and did came legally. What makes everyone else so special? Close the borders. Great Hub.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      3 years ago

      We already have laws in place that deal with immigration. Those laws were never followed and now we are paying a heft price. Granting amnesty to all these people will accomplish two things. Those that came here and abided by the legal process will be made to feel like fools and in the future there will only be one party, the Democrats! Something has to be done but it has to make sense and it has to be bi-partisan. This cannot be decided by one man. That's not how we roll. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome!

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 

      3 years ago from Uruguay

      This is a very good hub because it establishes a conversation on a hot topic that is usually not debated but in which each party only listens to itself screaming.Many of the facts you state here are true and should be taken into account when trying to understand the issue ,many of the facts you state however ,are erroneous altogether or present a notion that even though is not completely false is presented in a way that conveys the idea of an end result as if it was immediate and harmful to the country.Such is the case for example of the statement where you say that Obama is granting citizenship to the millions of illegals that qualify, that is not the case, all he is giving them is the benefit of not being deported,they will still have to apply and qualify for permanent legal residence ,meet all required guidelines ,pay hefty amounts of money,in a lapse of between one and a half to three years become legal permanent residents, pay more money and after five years of being legal apply for citizenship and after another year and paying all the fees become a citizen if they pass the language and civics test and have maintained a pristine criminal and civilian record.There are many other affirmations you make i would be able to dispute but that would take too much of your time and hub don't want to be abusive .These facts I talk about nobody told me I lived them.These facts have been the same since at least five or six decades maybe more,they have remained so despite many immigration reforms and nothing obama ,bush or anybody else has talked about would have any impact on these requirements,they will remain in place through the next inevitable immigration reform. Voted up, shared etc.


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