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Free Essay on Immigration

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For hundreds of years people from all over the world have fled to America from their native lands in hopes of finding a better life here. After all America is a country that takes great pride in our freedom and accomplishments. Who wouldn’t want to live in such a great nation that seeks life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for everyone? And that is just what happens. America is viewed as a “melting pot” and a nation of immigrants, but is this truly the American identity? Columnist Ben Wattenburg gives one such label; he claims that the United States is “the first universal nation”. He goes on to say, “In America, we now come from everywhere, becoming one people, getting along pretty well with each other, and vastly enriched by our pluralism”. This approach is quite valid, but can this country go on allowing millions each year, who knock on the door or simply sneak in, to stay forever? When immigration is so deeply rooted in our heritage, how can we refuse individuals the same right and privileges that our ancestors sought years ago when they arrived on this land? America can for the same reason any other nation can. After all, are not all nations “nations of immigrants”? That after hundreds and thousands of years, they were shaped to be the countries they are today. Yet because America is a fairly new country, and has not had the convenience of such a gradual process, she is seen as hypocritical for refusing any such individuals.

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The United States may have such a history and immigration should not cease over all, but when the U.S. Census estimated in 2000 that 8.7 million unauthorized immigrants are living within our borders, America’s immigration policies are in dire need of revising. The numbers of unauthorized immigrants are short of those that are let in legally each year. Although immigration may contribute positive aspects to society, it also has many downfalls. Immigration puts a strain on our economic system, environment and resources, and our culture. One of the most significant factors of immigration is our overall welfare and safety within the country; which seem to be taken away on September 11th. With the seemingly infinite number of immigrants coming to America to escape the political instability, civil war, and poverty of their homelands, immigration has become one of the most heavily debated issues in the modern world. On the receiving end, the government has been forced to change the existing laws as well as create new ones where none were present in the past. In recent years, admittance was based on family reunification and work-related circumstances, but these qualifications are criticized for the lack of attention of the country’s economic well-being. Most migrants seek to live here to better their material circumstances. Their lives are not endangered in their country, but they are at a disadvantage of living in a poor economic society. Is it the United States duty as a country to provide a safe haven for these individuals merely because they were at a disadvantage from where they originated? As a country, there are enough problems internally without worrying about the well-being of outsiders. Peter Brimelow emphasizes “our moral obligations to our fellow citizens take precedence over those to others. Receiving immigrants is in any case, a hopelessly ineffective way of using our wealth to help people; it can help only a small number of people, and at the cost of overwhelming the very economic system which is producing that wealth in the first place”. Many countries do not desire to welcome newcomers. This is often due to economic reasons. Individuals fear that the migrants may take away job opportunities that word otherwise be theirs. Most incoming aliens will work for lower wages and also in poorer working conditions. Welfare is also taken into consideration. Taxpayers are not willing to pay for poor newcomers. With open immigration policies, Americans are freely helping unauthorized illegal individuals to obtain the benefits for which citizens have worked so hard to acquire. Illegal aliens may receive the same health benefits and a free public education as native- born citizens. Taxpayers are even paying for illegal aliens to attend college. In 2001 the California legislature passed a bill allowing illegal immigrants to pay the same in-state tuition as legal residents. In addition to the United States economic welfare, immigration also alters the country’s way of life and the surrounding environment. The average immigrant today is not as skilled or as well educated as those newcomers in the past. The country should attempt to attract those that will benefit society instead of leaving a burden. America honors diversity, but how much is too much? Immigration tends to overshadow common values and ideals that Americans share. Not to mention a common language and government. The nation needs to focus less on diversity and more on the values that it takes pride in and which the country was founded on. Recent immigrants are persistent in holding on to their ethnic identity. This creates a problem for assimilation and American to find a common culture. Roy Beck believes the way of “the American people” may worsen with the addition of outsiders. Beck considers “High immigration tends to lengthen travel time; increase in air pollution; add pressures to already vulnerable resources; lower quality of schools; diminishes social cohesiveness, decreasing public safety, and generally changing the ambience and lifestyle. It is quite foolish to allow entry to those from other countries when the economy is low and resources are overwhelmed as it is. With the growth of the population, the environment also stands as one of the most prominent issues especially in developed countries. The earth does not contain an infinite amount of resources. Immigrants contribute to even more pollution. They take away land from plants and animals, pollute the air and water, and use up the already limited natural resources. Beck states “immigration makes every bad environmental situation worse”. The lenient immigration policies of the United States pose the greatest problem to our national security. On September 11th the nation witnessed this first hand. Afterward, many Americans failed to feel safe and secure in their own homes. Because of our poorly written laws, the country assisted in the terrorist attacks. Those terrorists found no resistance entering the country and took advantage of weak system. Our government failed to keep track of the individuals for the duration of their stay as they plotted the attack on our soil. In 2000 there were more than 100,000 individuals from the Middle East, where the terrorists originated, living illegally in the U.S. These numbers do not include the more than two million people who overstay their visas each year. The Canadian border extends over four thousand miles, for which there are, three hundred patrols. Of these three hundred patrols, there is rarely any coverage after midnight. When entering into the country, the records of the individuals coming in are rarely checked to see if they are possible terrorists. More so, airport security companies have not upheld their duties in doing background checks either. Those terrorists on the flights of September 11th are required by Federal Law to be citizens, but the screeners at the airport were not diligent in doing their job and the planes were hijacked as a result. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was created to regulate immigration. The INS is largely at fault for the easy access that the terrorists obtained in the attacks. They allowed each one of the terrorists to receive legal visas and failed to deport them after their visas had expired. None of the applications for the visas were checked appropriately. Many of which were missing vital information in the process for obtaining such a visa. The country has had to suffer because of the carelessness of such agencies. The location and the intention of the individuals entering the country should be monitored at all times. After the expiration of the visa, such an individual should be immediately deported. Overall the current immigration policies do not fulfill their basic tasks in regulating immigration. There is no clear outline of who shall be admitted as immigrants, who shall stay temporary, and who will have no access at all. It is hard to say to what to what extent our nation is responsible for the different policies of immigration, but one such model by Hardin may pose some questions. Hardin says the world is made of “lifeboats” at sea. A lifeboat represents America with fifty people with the capacity of sixty. One hundred swimmers from other boats want to enter the American boat, but obviously it is not possible. What should America do? They may choose “complete justice, complete catastrophe” and fairly allow all onboard, and the boat sinks, “moral dilemma” allow ten onboard, but which ten do they choose, or “situational ethics” allow no one on board, maintain comfort of original fifty because they did not put the swimmers out there in the first place. This is the dilemma the U.S. faces daily with their approach to immigration. America represents a land of freedom and equality, but to what extent are they obligated to share these aspects with the rest of the world? It is not possible to give it to other countries, nor is it possible for all those who want to be associated with these to come here either. High immigration brings a lot of strife to our country, even though it may have advantages also. No matter the circumstance, the policies of immigration are far too lenient and are frequently take advantage of. The country not only has the problem of those waiting for legal citizenship, but also those that have crossed the border illegally or taken advantage of their expired visas. This country allows too many individuals who are not qualified to live here. As a result it has placed a strain on our environment, the economy, and to some extent our overall well being. And there is a clear danger of our national security. The overall level of immigration needs to reduced a great deal.

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