In light of the recently enacted Arizona law on immigration, interest on the topic of illegal immigration has once again brought forth various sentiments from proponents of both sides of the issues.
61% of likely U.S. voters support a law similar to Arizona SB1070 for their own state (Rasmussen, July 2010).
The new law is by far the most stringent law ever passed requiring immigrants to carry with them their proper registration documents at all times. The law is heavily criticized because it is said to promote discrimination and harassment. Even President Obama is not too keen on the idea of putting immigrants behind bars just because they do not carry immigration documents.
To state the obvious, it is considered a crime if an immigrant fails to present documents to police if they are suspected of being illegal aliens. This new Arizona law poses a threat to the Hispanic communities, as they are known to have the largest number of illegal migrants in the country. With the very divisive nature of the law, it becomes necessary for people to be educated on the immigrants pros and cons. This way, racial discrimination is prevented and further laws should be focused on resolving the issue and not perpetrate hostilities towards the minorities, specifically those that illegally entered the US from Mexico.
In any debate, the positive and negative sides of the issues are laid out, each of them has its own merits, but with varying levels of importance vis-à-vis their immediate effects to the general public. It is important to have knowledge of immigrants pros and cons so that we are not easily swayed by racist overtures of staunch supporters of anti illegal immigration laws.
56% of likely U.S. voters disagree with the Justice Department’s lawsuit challenging Arizona SB1070. 28% agree with the lawsuit (Rasmussen, July 2010).
It is acknowledged that since illegal immigrants have committed a crime and should be sent back to their home country. However, the reality is that the American government cannot easily get rid of them. Although it is said that they use up taxpayers money when they use tax-based resources, it would be so shortsighted to think that there’s no benefit from illegal immigrants. Perhaps the often-overlooked benefit that these immigrants contribute is in the spending aspect.
In the states near the US-Mexico border alone, the number of Hispanic illegal immigrants is said to be about 60% of the estimated total number of immigrants. This translates to millions of immigrants buying goods and services that add up to the consumption, which in turn drives up the economic activities in these states. If this persists, then businesses will expand, which in turn would lead to more job opportunities. On the other side of the coin, these illegal immigrants are perceived as threats to the American working class because the former are willing to work with lower wages.
This could serve as a ‘wake-up call’ for all Americans. We cannot blame Mexicans, Asians or Europeans for entering U.S. illegally because everyone is entitled for a better life.
70% of likely Arizona voters approve of the state’s new law authorizing police officers to inquire about an individual’s immigration status; only 23% oppose it (Rasmussen, April 2010).
They risk their lives crossing the borders and God knows what they have to sacrifice, leaving their family, friends and children behind just to work long hours in exchange of a low income. Crossing the border is never their choice. It is something that they had to do to provide better lives for their families. Why not look at it in a positive perspective? Illegal immigrants are a great help in the progress of the U.S. economy. They are a big part of the working and business sector. A lot of American families depend on these ‘illegal immigrants’ to take care of their young children and manage their household.
Illegal immigration should not be viewed as negative in itself. We should look at the both sides of the issue. And although there are concerns regarding crimes, drugs and prostitution that are connected to illegal immigrants, let us not generalize. Immigrants, illegal or not, have human rights.