Thousands of people over the world leave their homeland every year to journey to the United States, a country that offers them better opportunities than their countries of origin. Why do these people leave their native country? Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Aaron Terrazas reported that more than 1 million immigrants have entered the United States legally each year for much of the past decade. There are many different reasons why people immigrate to the US. It may be economic, political or personal reasons why they immigrate to the US. A common understanding of why people migrate to the US is that these immigrants come from poor and underdeveloped counties. The living conditions in their countries are bad and the unemployment is high. Furthermore, the minimum wages in the US is higher that most of Central America. Also, the need for workers for unskilled jobs is very high in the US. That is why they will not have the difficulty in job searching or in earning enough compared to what they will get in their previous jobs. Basically, people immigrate to the US to have a better life.

Immigration in the US is not as smooth as one would think of. It is accompanied by responsibility and accountability. Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Aaron Terrazas reported that half a million have typically entered illegally each year. The U.S. immigration policies and national laws state the different consequences to be administered to these illegal immigrants.

In this discussion, the following topics will be covered:

  1. What is the Immigration?
  2. What are Illegal Immigrants?
  3. How are Illegal Immigrants treated according to the Immigration Law?
  4. What is the Arizona Law?
  5. How are Illegal Immigrants supposed to be treated according to the Arizona Law?
  6. What is Amnesty?
  7. What do you think about the punishment that must be given to Illegal Immigrants? Amnesty or Deportation?

What is the Immigration?

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Immigration is the movement of non-residents to a foreign country. It has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout the American history. Furthermore, the US accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined (Nie Peng, 2006, p.1). The United States has one of the largest immigration rates in the world. The leading countries of the people who immigrated are Mexico, India and the Philippines. In 1998, President Bill Clinton said that “the United States has always been energized by its immigrant populations,” and that “America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants…They have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious of people.”. Furthermore, Immigration has its accompanying responsibilities and accountabilities. That is why there are Immigration laws. These laws are the ones responsible for discipline and proper actions of the immigrants. If these laws are not followed, proper sanctions are to be given to the suspect.

What are Illegal Immigrants?

Illegal Immigrants are people who violated the U.S. immigration policies and national laws by entering or remaining in the United States without proper permission or process from the United States government. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, in 2008, the illegal immigrant population is approximately 11 million. It is slightly lower than that of 2007, which is approximately 12.5 million. Furthermore, According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, in 2005, 57% of illegal immigrants were from Mexico; 24% were from other Latin American countries, primarily from Central America;[3] 9% were from Asia; 6% were from Europe; and 4% were from the rest of the world. Also, recent studies show that the population of the illegal immigrants still outpace the population of the legal immigrants; this was seen as a trend since 1990’s.

            Moreover, an illegal immigrant can be classified as one by:

  1. Entering without authorization or inspection – this includes the trade of smuggling illegal immigrants in exchange for excellent pay. There are an estimated half million illegal entries into the United States each year.
  2. Staying beyond the authorized period after legal entry – this is also called “visa overstay”. This occurs when a tourist or traveller remains in the US after the time of admission has expired. In 2006, they were approximately 45% of the illegal immigrant population.
  3. Violating the terms of legal entry – this is commonly represented as visa fraud – obtaining visa using falsified documents. Other forms of this is the “green-card marriage” which is very rampant then.

How are Illegal Immigrants treated according to the Immigration Law?

According to the Immigration laws of the United States, there is an immigration law created specifically for Illegal Immigrants. This is the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). This act states that if an immigrant has been unlawfully present in the United States for 180 days but less than 365 days he or she must remain outside the United States for three years unless the person obtains a pardon. If the person has been in the United States for 365 days or more, he or she must stay outside the United States for ten years unless he or she obtains a pardon. If the person returns to the United States without the pardon, the person cannot apply for a waiver for a period of ten years.

Furthermore, some of the laws included in the act are:

  • Minor offenses, such as shoplifting makes the suspect eligible for deportation.
  • Mandatory detentions
  • Deportees may be held in jail for months, even as much as two years, before being brought before an immigration board, at which defendants need to pay for their own legal representation
  • Civil penalties for illegal entries

Basically, IIRIRA provides laws that state that deportation will be granted for illegal immigrants.

What is the Arizona Law?

The Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 or “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” is a state law that allows police officials to inspect the immigration of any person based upon “reasonable suspicion”:

For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.

Furthermore, it is easy for a police to inspect a person even if there is no warrant of arrest. They may arrest the people whom they think are illegal immigrants and send them to the immigration bureau.

How are Illegal Immigrants supposed to be treated according to the Arizona Law?

According to the Arizona Law, the convicted illegal immigrant will be sent directly to the immigration department for further inquiry. They will be sent for trial in the immigration bureau. Furthermore, after the Arizona Law, the Immigration law will succeed. After the suspect was convicted as guilty, he will be deported. Generally, the Illegal Immigrant will be deported. However, he will be given a chance to come back to the country after 3 years of deportation.

What is Amnesty?

Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people. It includes more than pardon, inasmuch as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the offense. In the Illegal Immigration field, amnesty is the act of allowing illegal immigrants to legally remain in the United States.

What do you think about the punishment that must be given to Illegal Immigrants?

Amnesty or Deportation?

I personally believe that the Arizona law is an abusive right of humanity. I believe that every person has the right to be free. We are in the land of the free beings, America. I believe that people have the right to freedom. People should not be treated unjustly. I think that the simple suspicion that a person is an illegal immigrant is enough to say that you are being violated. The non-warrant arrest or inspection is not right for me. Some people say that this is a manifestation of racial profiling. I believe that it is a human right for privacy. For example, you are walking down the street, and then somebody tells you that you are a suspect for illegal immigration, what are you going to feel? Isn’t it a violation for human rights? I believe so. There is a proper way of investigation. It’s the law of science that before you conclude, you have to investigate first. The Arizona Law is definitely a violation of human rights.

On the topic that whether to choose amnesty or deportation, if proven guilty, I believe that deportation is the right way to punish the suspect. As I have said earlier, Immigration comes with a responsibility and personal accountability. Illegal is a crime. It is the personal responsibility of the immigrant to file his or her documents properly and follow the laws accordingly. Not acting in accordance to the law should be given proper sanctions. On the other hand, amnesty can be given to the elderly that is only my belief because I believe that they need to be pardoned. In conclusion, in choosing whether to deport or give amnesty, the answer is dependent on the status or case of the suspect. I believe that there are two sides of the story, understanding both gives us the chance to stand up for our beliefs.     

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