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A Controversial Topic of Immigration in The United States

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It’s a controversial topic that has two sides to it, with some seeing it as something positive and others as negative. With Immigration mainly being perceived as something negative and used as a scapegoat whenever the nation finds itself dealing with problems, many either ignore or do not know about the positive aspects and contributions done by immigrants to this nation. Nonetheless it’s a topic that has to be discussed and as such what measures can be done in order to resolve something that has been seen as a major problem for years in the United States? Immigrants by today’s standards are perceived by the current administration in the U.S government as being a major problem with the current President stating that they are “Bringing drugs and crime.” to the United States with the only solution being brought up time and time again is the creation of a wall on the Southern U.S Border in order to deter the “invasion”. This has not only created political and social divide in the United States but as a whole has lead to some completely ignoring how immigrants have given so much to this nation.

As such the greatest weapon in order to counter ignorance is education and thus far through the use of history and facts can such ideas and claims be debunked with one great example being David Cole a professor in law who wrote an essay called “Five Myths about Immigration” in which he discusses how immigrants since the mid-nineteenth century have been blamed for the woes of crime and poverty gripping the nation from back then to even to this day and how they are more vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation out of fear of being deported and as well heavily discussing over contributions to the United States as a whole done by immigrants. This clearly demonstrates that such ignorance only goes further back to the beginning and is not something fairly new as many would like to believe. David Cole only further argues his point in his essay through the use of research and statistics with some examples quoted from the “Urban Institute Report” as well as the “A.C.L.U Immigrants Rights Project Report” in which it states that “immigrants have a favorable effect on the standard of living.” to “that immigrants create more jobs than they fill.” This not only counters and debunks the claims against immigrants but shows a clearer picture on the positive aspects that are mostly ignored as it is much easier to find something to blame instead of address. This not only stresses more on educating on immigration as a whole but to advocate to have a stronger voice against such ignorance and myths on immigration, thus demonstrating the lack of honesty and unbiased thinking.

As a result of the ignorance on immigration, the benefits of it are also heavily ignored as an article called “Why the United States Needs More Immigrants” written by John Cassidy a staff writer for the New Yorker points out how furthermore immigrants are needed for the survival of the United States. Cassidy discusses how American birth rates are declining with the fertility rate as of 2017 being only a merely 1.76 percent compared to the era of the baby boomers being roughly 3.7 percent. This is a result threatens aspects of Social Security and Medicare for older generations. However, he offers a solution citing a study conducted in 2016 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that through allowing more younger immigrants into the nation as not only will the first generation provide a foundation for the 2nd generation of immigrants being born in the United States but also as quoted “Provide, on average, a more favorable net fiscal impact for all government levels.” The main focus of this article is that the United States has a population problem, which if it is not resolved will lead to serious consequences that can heavily hurt both economically and physical well being. Unless the United States can find another solution to promote more birth rates, it will nonetheless will have to heavily rely on immigrants by providing a simple opportunity for a better life in a much less demeaning and hostile manner, thus it will allow not only create a more positive relationship with immigrants but nonetheless create a form of protection for older generations.

With the benefits and the debunking of the myths about immigrants covered, the discussion of the jobs immigrants do is another major factor that must be explored. Going back to David Cole, Immigrants do not steal jobs from U.S citizens rather they undergo the jobs that the majority do not want to take which range from landscaping, agriculture, construction, to factory jobs ranging from meat-packing to child care and the restaurant business. These jobs are both low skilled, minimum wage and manual labor, which take both a financial and physical toll on those working it as well with sometimes dangerous conditions especially those who are undocumented who fear to help medically or seek any help at all can be exploited as such an article by Barry R. Chiswick who holds a Ph.D in Economics and is an extensive specialist on the labor market called “The Worker Next Door” in which he goes over how we can resolve and deter jobs for undcoumented immigrants by taking means ranging from using technology, to even changing the landscape of our lawns or rationing bedsheets and towels in hotels etc. Even with these complex and even absurd forms of solutions against immigration and as well his noticeable bias, he nonetheless does say that “There are no low-skilled jobs that American would not and do not do.” which demonstrates that even those who proclaim the myths and ignorance on immigration do not fully believe the things they say as they prefer to go along with it rather then go back on their word and be called out for it. As much as those against immigrants try to promote the myths they strongly believe in order to achieve the effect and benefits of control they use through fear and ignorance, this allows the opportunity to further hold them accountable for using outdated claims which will result not only in political change but allow public opinion and trust to only further be earned by true and honest political candidates in years to come. Even with the facts, the negative aspects of Immigration must also be acknowledged as an article written by Victor Davis Hanson who serves as a contributing editor to the City Journal called “Do We Want Mexifornia?” goes into detail on how the state of California is affected by illegal immigration and the problems it brings as a result of it going unchecked. He claims that the population of undocmented immigrants is not exact but may be even double the amount that was taken in the US. Census and as well how it cost the state roughly 12 billion dollars for those incarcerated in prisons alone with one quarter being of its inmates being undocumented. As a result of cheap labor, he brings up that the Labor department conducted a study in which roughly 50% of immigrant labor contributes to a decline in real wages.

Assimilation is another factor that many either complain or use against immigrants nothing that that they neither speak English or try to embrace American ideals instead remaining culturally and physically loyal to their home country even as American citizens. Hanson argues that crime, as well as a decline in the standard of living as well education are a result of unchecked immigration and that many 2nd generation immigrants lack both the motivation or even appreciation and appreciation for the United State’s opportunities it has to offer, as such even going as far as blaming that Ethnic Studies class such as Chicano Studies are to blame for the radical concept of “La Raza” which promotes pride in one’s roots of being latino and the struggles endured throughout the United States history, in other words he says victimization is a major problem and is something completely unacceptable. But one aspect does bring both concerns and raises an eyebrow and it’s how he advocates for a more traditional approach to educating such immigrants saying “Apparently, these rather unsophisticated teachers thought that learning to master English and acquire the rudiments of math, American literature, and national culture were more valuable to the immigrant than were racial studies, Chicano dance, and other popular courses now au courant and designed to instill ethnic pride. As I can best fathom it some 40 years later, their egalitarian aim was to create a mass of students who would reach high school with equal chances of success.” This can be interpreted that such courses as Ethinic studies are simply more harmful and as such assimilation must be pushed even more as a result. Although Hanson manages to explain extremely well his points, his flaws are simply his bias with his example on how immigrants do not assimilate can be countered by David Cole’s article on how “This claim has been made about every new group of immigrants to arrive on U.S Shores.” As a result his bias only weakens his argument thus only further cementing the lack of open-mindness to more than one perspective.

Finally, there is the Southern U.S Border itself, and with the proposal of the construction of an actual wall as President Donal Trump claims is required to stop the debunked “invasion” a research document called “Border Wars: Narratives and Images of the US-Mexican Border on TV” written by Reece Jones a Department Chair of Political Geography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa proposes that instead of a wall, using technology and hiring more Border Patrol agents as well a stricter surveillance and accountability on the agents themselves will further prevent a loss of human loss and deter those who want to cross as a whole yet he does also mention that humber of immigrants trying to cross has greatly decreased over the years. He does go further into details that the elements tend to kill most in the crossing into the United States as well occasionally being murdered by the cartel. He also describes how in the majority of cases, even with such horrors, the majority of cases there is no danger and that agents tend to over exaggerate their feats of fighting crime. As a result this document only further deters that the wall will not work as it will be too costly to build, maintain and most of all the resources and terrain are just too complex to work with as it has to bypass mountains and rivers.

Thus, overall the claims made by the President and those who follow in his footsteps of those same ideals are not only disproved but also demonstrate a complete lack of both understanding and ignorance the other perspective. Overall the measures that can resolve immigration is education, accountability, looking at the long term benefits, advocating and most of all promoting an open mindedness to compromise instead of holding on to one’s bias. By taking these steps into consideration, not only will immigration as a whole will be both understood and resolved but it will allow the United States as a whole to grow and flourish by actually resolving the issue instead of going around in circles over and over again as it has done multiple times in the past. In other words, actually learning from its mistakes and putting what it knows into practice to fix this once and for all.

Works Cited

  1. Cole, David. “Five Myths about Immigration” The Nation, October 17, 1994, (Current Issues and Enduring Questions, 11th Edition) Accessed 23 November 2019
  2. Chiswick, R. Barry. “The Worker Next Door” The New York Times, June 2006, (Current Issues and Enduring Questions, 11th Edition) Accessed 23 November 2019
  3. Cassidy, John. “Why the United States Needs More Immigrants” The New Yorker, June 22, 2018, Accessed 25 November 2019
  4. Hanson, Davis Victor. “Do We Want Mexifornia?” City Journal, Spring 2002, Accessed 25 November 2019
  5. Jones, Reece. “Border Wars: Narratives and Images of the US-Mexican Border on TV” ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, September 1, 2014 2014;13(3):530-550. Accessed 27 November 2019

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