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The United States' immigration policy is a vital course of action that includes guidance for the acceptance or rejection of immigrants into the country. The program is linked to the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), which allows for legal and permanent residence. International citizens are permitted to live and work in the United States under the scheme. The proposal further limits the number of non-citizens who can enter the states on a temporary basis. It is founded on fundamental concepts that characterize legal immigration. The policy's introduction promotes diversity, protects refugees, and allows immigrants with useful expertise to come to the US to help the economy. Immigration to the US is also working to reunite families. The policy states the various immigrations systems including family based immigration, employment based immigration, per-country ceilings, refugees, and Asylums among many other systems. It provides for US citizenships through naturalization and the use of green cards. Immigration policy allows diversity visa programs and other humanitarian relief forms that make the people reside in the states either temporarily or permanently so long as they meet all the stipulated requirements by the policy (Warner 24).
Challenges of Immigration in the U.S
The United States has been facing significant challenges recently hindering proper implementation and execution of the policy because of the massive scale of illegal immigration to the states. Although the illegal aliens add value to the US economy as they come to look for better jobs, they pose a great risk to the national security environment. Research shows that most foreigners are undocumented while others have fake or forged papers resulting to a massive security problem. The illegal immigrants tend to distort the law and destroy valuable resources in the state. In fact, the illegal immigrants have played a role in covering for criminals and terrorists. I believe that threatening the national security risks the economy as investors are scared away. However, the US government should acknowledge that the real issues are secure. That is why President Trump has stipulated strict rules and regulations on immigration enforcement aimed at ensuring all the unauthorized immigrants are deported back to their native countries. Apparently, the high rates of illegal immigration have resulted in millions of undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S. Illegal immigration has also resulted in deterioration of security in the states and at the same time influencing negatively on the entire economy of the US. I believe that these challenges result from the changes made by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986) that led to an increase in the number of immigrants. In turn, this action has negatively impacted the quality of life of Americans. Previous American Presidents and Congresses have failed to approve strategies that would reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the country (Kelly and Portes 64).
The lack of a nationwide substitute system to identify all foreigners currently in the US has also posed a great risk to the state. Despite the fact that globalization has a positive impact on the US economy, it should be noted that it has brought negative effects too. Globalization, for instance, allows migration and terrorism, therefore, hindering policy makers to differentiate real problems and the elusive immigration problems (Taylor 44). America is striving to create a sustainable economy for its citizens.
Unfortunately, we are losing out on the world’s top talent and bright minds that can help to boost our economy significantly. The US Immigration System has put up many barriers and regulations that make it difficult to attract top talents. These regulations must be adjusted to allow international students who wish to train in American universities and colleges to stay and work in America hence contributing significantly to economic growth (Wilson and Guskin 70).
Pathway to Citizenship
The process of obtaining full citizenship or legal status is clearly time-consuming, costly, and above all frustrating. It involves a series of civic tests from Immigration Officials and trips to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Immigration lawyers charge over five thousand US dollars to take you through the immigration process. The process is disheartening and opaque as you can never inquire how far the application procedure has gone and that you are forbidden from changing jobs. In case one is laid off or promoted at a work place, he or she will have to start afresh or rather all over again even when the process was almost done. New legislations were passed by the Clinton administration to clear the backlogs, but the situation became worse. Besides, the federal government has limited the number of applicants from each country (Wilson and Guskin 111).
America has suffered greatly by failing to secure the borders effectively hence facilitating the infiltration and transit of terror groups such as Al Qaeda as well as narco-terrorists. Immigration bills have failed to combat terrorism because they lack border security measures that can be enforced. America has welcoming immigration policies that are easily exploited by terror groups. Today, more than 8 million illegal immigrants are living in the US. Studies reveal that every one out of 10.9 billion Americans risks being killed by an illegal immigrant (Semotiuk 1).
Solution to Border Security
Immigrants have significantly benefited from legal immigration. There should be effective reforms that will ensure a legal immigration process that is safe and orderly while discouraging undocumented immigrations. Many immigrants come to the US to work and serve in the military. This way, they contribute positively to economic growth.
I support the recently implanted Border Security Act and the Immigration Modernisation Act that enhances guest worker programs, which attract and encourage immigrants to grow our economy. Enforcing the current laws on immigration would help to improve border security. To minimize the number of illegal immigrants sneaking through the borders, the federal government needs to embrace larger border security. Business organizations that hire illegal or undocumented immigrants for cheap labour must be penalized heavily. Every employer needs to have access to government tools that help to identify if a particular worker is a legal immigrant or is eligible to work in the US (Warde 22). Lawful entry into the US helps to achieve the much needed economic prosperity, national sovereignty and homeland security. The Department of Homeland Security (i.e. DHS) should be provided with additional tools and resources to ensure greater border security. Besides, it should increase the number of professional personnel to secure the borders. By observing these measures, individuals who threaten national security will not be allowed to enter or hide in the country. In 2016, the US government invested more than 3.8 billion US dollars to boost interior enforcement and border security. With over 49,000 personnel, the interior enforcement department has been able to apprehend, detain and deport illegal immigrants (Bush and Bolick 50). The federal government must screen foreigners entering the US through borders and deal with those that threaten the national security.
Most immigrants who enter the US have low incomes, which make it difficult to access healthcare services. Even the few insured immigrants do not access quality healthcare services easily. Generally, the US has recorded more than 47 % illegal immigrants who fail to access medical services. A report from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey reveals that less than 8 percent of immigrants get medical services compared to 13 percent of the native born Americans (Bush and Bolick 59). Additionally, 25 percent of Native born Americans are entitled to public insurance coverage while only 17 percent of immigrants are entitled to the same cover. There is a list of individuals living in the US who are entitled to Health Insurance Coverage: US Nationals, US Citizens, Legal immigrants.
It is quite unfortunate that undocumented immigrants will not be able to purchase a Marketplace health insurance coverage. The immigration policy should allow them to apply for the health coverage and enjoy quality health care services. The immigration policies of the US government create health disparities that are expensive to settle. The system also prevents immigrants from the COFA (i.e. Compact of Free Association) from accessing significant healthcare programs such as Medicare (Illingworth and Parmet 68).
Solution to Healthcare Problems
Apparently, few illegal immigrants have contributed significantly to the American Economy. We need a realistic approach that will allow such immigrants to register quickly with the government and be able to purchase a medical cover to help them access quality healthcare services. America must reform the health sector to ensure that it offers health insurance coverage options to immigrants who have been previously excluded (Kelly and Portes 145). Besides, ensuring that immigrants have access to health insurance will help to minimize the costs of uncompensated healthcare. The US government should move with speed and restore eligibility for COFA immigrants in accessing Medicaid.
Other Possible solutions to Immigration Problems
These challenges, however, can be fixed in various ways. Instead of the government focusing on minor issues, the policy makers should work on improvement of security, especially in the borders. There should also be the establishment of programs for guest workers. The program is essential in securing all the borders (Taylor 106). Immigration reforms should also be enhanced to be comprehensive enough. This entails ensuring the lopsided and ideological approaches are avoided. The issue of focusing on security and ignoring immigrant workers has contributed to the failure in most of the attempts at solving these problems. To achieve results, therefore, these two factors need to be addressed simultaneously because they are not mutually exclusive. The immigration system should allow quicker reunification of families. Evidently, the American immigration system is antiquated such that families are separated for years. Reforms or rather new measures must be put in place to ensure that immigrants can keep in touch with their nuclear families on a regular basis. This way, close family members will not need to sneak into the US because their families are not separated (Warner 89). America needs a Work Visa System that will respond effectively to the country’s economy and workforce. Many professionals and immigrant workers are forced to wait for decades to immigrate because their visa quotas are out-dated. Availing temporary visas can clear this backlog. In future, the Immigration System should be able to adjust (up and down) the number of professionals or workers entering America based on the country’s economic needs (Bush and Bolick 77).
Evidently, the US Immigration system offers minimal legal channels for immigrants. I firmly believe that the number of illegal immigrants would be much lower if the immigration system was reformed to accommodate immigrants. The task of deporting or rather apprehending illegal immigrants is more difficult and costly. If the right channels were pursued and effective measures put in place, the US government would spend fewer resources on immigration without worrying about the border or national security (Semotiuk 33).
Bush, Jeb and Clint Bolick. Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Illingworth, Patricia and Wendy E Parmet. The Health of Newcomers. NYU Press, 2017.
Kelly, Patricia Fernandez and Alejandro Portes. Healthcare and Immigration: Understanding the Connections. Routledge, 2013.
Semotiuk, Andy J. "How to Resolve The Problem of Illegal Immigration in America." Forbes, Feb 2017,
https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyjsemotiuk/2017/02/22/how-to-resolve-the-problem-of-illegal-immigration-in-america/#76eb591016c0 Accessed 6 Aug, 2017.
Taylor, Yoku Shaw. Immigration, Assimilation and Border Security. Government Institutes, 2012.
Warde, Bryan. Inequality in US Social Policy: A Historical Analysis. Routledge, 2016.
Warner, Judith. US Border Security. ABC-CLIO, 2010.
Wilson, David and Jane Guskin. The Politics of Immigration. NYU Press, 2017.
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