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During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made frequent mention of immigration reform. This initiative would further ensure that undocumented aliens are treated with zero tolerance. During his campaign, Trump insisted that the majority of immigrants arriving was unproductive. In his announcement speech, he used Mexico as an example, insisting that most Mexican immigrants who come into the country are hardcore offenders and drug traffickers forced into the country by the Mexican government. With the immigration policies, there will be some regulation, especially over Mexican drug cartels and criminals. The immigration policy is to be achieved in three major steps.
The first step is building a wall along the southern border. This wall will work towards controlling the influx of illegal immigration at the Mexican border. As Blinder(90) points out, the construction of a barrier to keep illegal migrants out of the United States is not a new concept since there were about 670 miles of fencing which was erected under the secure fence act of 2006.Trump insisted that the wall wouldn't just be regular kind. He promised the wall would be reinforced by high technology and military personal.
Also to ensure that the immigrant policy was successful it’s proposed that there could be a mass deportation of illegal immigrants. To achieve this, a deportation force was to be formed. The deportation force was to ensure that once an illegal migrant was caught he or she won’t be released, rather they would be detained till they are deported to their respective home countries. The mass deportation plan, however, has faced a lot of opposition and it’s prone to legal and logistic difficulties.
Another aspect of the immigration policy is the banishment of Muslim immigration. This proposal was to ban foreign Muslims from entering the United States. Statistics showed that the United States receives about 100,000 Muslim immigrants each year (Brady and Finnigan, p.38). The high numbers were alarming according to Trump and hence proposed the ban until the government figures what was going on. This prohibition has since gone to effect since countries like Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Libya whose citizens have already been banned from entering the United States. Iraq which was initially among the prohibited countries was excluded from the ban since it had helped in fighting against terrorism.
U.S has experienced major waves of migration. Many of these immigrants came in search of better economic opportunities while others like Pilgrims arrived in search of religious freedom. There was no major legislation on immigration till in 1882 when the Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted, this act banned Chinese workers from coming to America (Henkin, p. 855). This law came as a result of Chinese laborers accepting to work for low pay, and this was bringing competition to the locals regarding employment opportunities. Regulation of immigration was done by individual states before 1892 where afterward the first federal immigration station was opened. During the great wave (from 1900 to 1920) about 24 million immigrants arrived in the United States. World War I reduced immigration from Europe but at the end of the war mass immigration resumed. This forced the Congress to come up with a new immigration policy. This policy was limited by assigning each nationality a quota according to its representation in past U.S census figures. In 1924 there was the creation of border patrol within the immigration service. Over the next 20 years, there was very little immigration. During World War II immigration remained relatively low. In 1952 the Congress re-codified and combined all past immigration laws into the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.
For a great part of the 1900s, the central government had left the immigration policy to individual states. However, towards the last decade of the century, the government saw the need for handling the increasing number of immigrants. In 1996 Clinton administration passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This bill was to make deportation easier and focused on immigrants who had criminal records. It also penalized employers who hired workers who had no legal papers. In the same year Congress passed welfare bill which bared undocumented immigrants from enjoying any public benefits.
After the 9-11 attacks in 2001, the government came up with legislation to enhance national security. This included the enhancement Border Security and Visa Reform Act which included new verification methods of documents when traveling into the U.S from other countries and more strict security checks (Hollifield, Martin, and Orrenius, p. 46).The immigration policy has received different criticism; some of those in the Congress supporting it while others were saying it’s against the law. Most of them support the idea that there should be more strict travel restriction from certain countries especially those with a history of terrorism. Rep. Justin Amash is quoted arguing that Trump should work close with the Congress in the immigration reforms.
According to the congress members, they believe that the government has the responsibility to defend the borders and ensure safety to the people of the United States. Although they don't concur with Trump's executive order on the issues since it was not properly vetted. Their argument is that the matter was not well consulted. They disagreed with stopping green card holders from entering the country at the airports. Also, they were strongly against turning back on refugees in the country since they have gone through a thorough vetting and posed no threat to the country.
Although there has been numerous opposition, we can see that trumps immigration policy has already started taking effect. As a matter of fact the government has already banned some Muslim countries which have been past associated with terrorism. Although some part of the system might take years, for example, the construction of the wall, there is still high possibility that it will be implemented. However, with the strong opposition from both the public and the Congress, the policy is likely to face stiff challenges which might stall its development. There are various interest groups involved in the policy and they have played a significant role in shaping the immigration policy over time (Facchini, Mayda, and Mishra, 120). It is only guided by trumps believe that to make America great gain, and there should be regulation on the number of illegal immigrants gaining entry into the United States. He believes that most of the illegal immigrants are criminals running away from their home countries following criminal records.
Blinder, Scott. “Imagined Immigration: The Impact of Different Meanings of ‘Immigrants’ in Public Opinion and Policy Debates in Britain.” Political Studies 63.1 (2015): 80–100. Web.
Brady, David, and Ryan Finnigan. “Does Immigration Undermine Public Support for Social Policy?” American Sociological Review 79.1 (2014): 17–42. Web.
Facchini, Giovanni, Anna Maria Mayda, and Prachi Mishra. “Do Interest Groups Affect US Immigration Policy?” Journal of International Economics 85.1 (2011): 114–128. Web.
Henkin, Louis. “The Constitution and United States Sovereignty: A Century of" Chinese Exclusion" and Its Progeny.” Harvard Law Review 100.4 (1987): 853–886. Print.
Hollifield, James, Philip Martin, and Pia Orrenius. Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective. Stanford University Press, 2014. Google Scholar. Web. 12 May 2017.
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