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In the past, immigration reform efforts have usually been overshadowed by other events such as national security. Immigration enforcement was favored over immigration reform as reform would require both parties to compromise a lot more. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952 has for the most part provided complex rules regarding immigration in the United States that are still in effect today. It sets qualifications for naturalization to regulating foreign students to managing temporary workers to authorizing humanitarian protections. Over the years, it has been amended many times to allow more access to the nation. Currently, the immigration system in America is not functioning as the amount of illegal immigrants entering the nation is still on the rise.
Many politicians agree that some sort of immigration reform is necessary to fix the immigration problem. There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, many from Mexico and Latin America. President Obama has proposed a “common sense proposal” to build a fair and effective immigration system in the future. The four principles to the proposal include continuing to strengthen the nation’s border security, streamlining legal immigration, creating a way for earned citizenship, and cracking down on businesses that employ undocumented workers. On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. It would allow many undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and possibly citizenship. In addition, it would make the border more secure by adding up to 40,000 border patrol agents. It would also advance talent-based immigration. New visas are also proposed. It would need to be passed by the House of Representatives before it would go into effect.
Reforming the immigration system in the United States is quite important. Many agree that we cannot keep allowing more and more illegal immigrants to enter the United States. Illegal immigration hurts the economy and lots of tax payer money has been used to help pay for costs of illegal immigrants (i.e. medical bills, etc.). Illegal immigrants encourage businesses to exploit them by hiring them as cheap laborers, paying them extremely low salaries. Concerns for immigration reform are that the costs to increase security will be too high and may increase taxes. Other concerns of reform include that the new policies may be too restrictive or too unrestrictive and unfair. There is great debate as to what is the best type of immigration reform such as whether it should be comprehensive or incremental. In addition, people are concerned that reform is not the right solution to fixing the problem and that it will not be effective at all. Although there is a general consent that the problem needs to be addressed and fixed, there are divided opinions as to what the boundaries are for reform and what would make the reform unethical or inhumane.
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