The Urban Institute estimates that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools each year. In most respects, these young people are already important members of our society. After completing an education in our primary schools, they envision their futures here and internalize American values. They also represent a considerable number of our population.
Rather than valuing them as important societal resources, current policies restrict their options and curb their potential. Without full legal rights, these graduates are barred from the very means that have ensured high levels of economic and social mobility to other immigrants throughout U.S. history. The undocumented students’ efforts to adapt and contribute economically are met with legal obstacles. Their situation is made even more difficult by confusing and conflicting laws that allow them to legally attend U.S. schools, but deny them opportunities to work, vote, receive financial aid, and drive in most states. This denial is enough to set them on a path of poverty and frustration.
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The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that as of March 2010, 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants live in the U.S., and about 7 million of them migrated from Mexico. Why do so many Mexicans choose to illegally immigrate to the U.S where they are often treated with contempt and disrespect? And, if they really want to come to the U.S., why don’t they play by the rules and enter legally? Why do so many choose to make the grueling 4-day journey though the Arizona desert that involves very real risks of dehydration in 115-degree heat and rape at the hands of human smugglers? Read the rest of this entry
Legalizing marijuana, while controversial, would be a step in the right direction and would ease prison overcrowding, reduce illegal immigration, and have the potential to greatly increase tax revenue. Yet despite these obvious advantages, the United States and many other countries still dole out harsh punishments on even the most casual users of marijuana. This is a policy that must come to an end.
Decriminalizing marijuana would help increase the amount of revenue on hand in several ways. First off, the resources used in fighting the so called “War on Drugs” would be greatly reduced. Second, legalized marijuana purchases would provide additional revenue in the form of sales tax. Third, companies that grow and distribute the marijuana would in turn provide even more tax revenue as well as much needed jobs. According to Jeffrey A. Miron in his report titled “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States,” over $2.4 billion in tax revenue would be generated by the sale of marijuana, and other research estimates are even higher. Read the rest of this entry