In American history—and the history of many other nations—immigration has been an issue that often creates
great conflict. In recent times, illegal immigration has been a particularly contentious issue in American society. Faced with an illegal immigrant population numbering in the millions, many citizens and lawmakers have argued that the American government needs to take a stronger stand on illegal immigrants.
Read the following sources (including any introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim that America should take a stronger stance on illegal immigration.
You may refer to the sources by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the descriptions in parentheses.
Source A (Douthat and Woodson)
Source B (Williamsen)
Source C (Scott)
Source D (Anonymous)
Source E (Graph)
Remember to use the sources to support your position. Do not focus your essay on the paraphrasing or summarizing of the sources. Your position should be the focus; the sources should be support.
Take 15 minutes to read the sources and 40 minutes to write the essay.
Douthat, Ross and Jenny Woodson. "The Border: Illegal Immigration Is Once Again A Potent Political Issue," The Atlantic Monthly, Jan-Feb 2006, 54.
The following is an excerpt from a magazine article on illegal immigration.
Immigration pressure from Mexico is unlikely to abate anytime soon. Nearly half of all Mexicans asked by Pew said they would come to the United States immediately if they had "the means and opportunity." Twenty-one percent said they would do so even if they had to come illegally. Indeed, many Mexicans seem to have a sense of entitlement regarding the United States: 58 percent surveyed in a 2002 Zogby poll believe that "the territory of the United States' Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico."
Americans are unhappy about this state of affairs: according to recent polls, most favor beefing up the enforcement of immigration laws and using troops to police the border. A majority even voiced support for the Minuteman Project, a group of civilian vigilantes who have begun patrolling the border themselves.
However, political leaders in both parties (along with many business organizations, media outlets, and bipartisan interest groups) see the issue differently, believing that restricting immigration is not economically desirable. The immigration proposals currently circulating in Washington seem unlikely to reduce the influx from the south. They are aimed instead at regularizing it, by creating a temporary-visa program for migrant laborers. Although such a "guest worker" program might be paired with legislation to tighten border security and curb the hiring of illegal immigrants, as President Bush suggested in a November policy speech, there's reason to doubt that serious restrictions would actually result. The last major immigration reform, in 1986, was supposed to provide a similar tradeoff —an amnesty program for illegal aliens already in the United States was joined to a commitment to crack down on employers of illegal immigrants. The amnesty was implemented; the crackdown fizzled out. And in December of 2004 Congress authorized the addition of 10,000 Border Patrol agents over a five-year period beginning in 2006 —but only 210 new positions were funded for this year.
This gap between popular and elite opinion means that the porousness of the border is becoming a potent issue, especially for working-class voters, whose jobs may be vulnerable to guest-worker programs. Tom Tancredo, a Republican congressman from Colorado, has threatened to make an insurgent run for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination if no other candidate comes out strongly against illegal immigration, and observers speculate that Democrats might use the issue to try to outflank the GOP on the right. (Last year the governors of New Mexico and Arizona, both Democrats, declared states of emergency because of the influx of illegal immigrants, blaming the federal government for failing to secure the border.)
Nativist politics hasn't fared well in recent decades. And securing the border may not be feasible no matter what the public wants —at least absent a heavy military presence and the sorts of barriers used in Cold War Berlin and the Korean DMZ. (Spending on border security rose dramatically during the 1990s, but so did the number of illegal immigrants.) However, unless the gap on this issue between America's leaders and its citizenry is somehow narrowed, whether by stringent reform or by rising economic optimism on Main Street, a populist backlash could ensue — against both illegal immigrants themselves and those many see as their enablers in Washington.
Williamsen, Kurt. "Not Giving Up On Immigration Control: When It Comes To Immigration Reforms And Tight Immigration Controls, Many Say It Can't Be Done. But They Are Wrong," The New American, Oct. 31, 2005, 27.
The following is an excerpt from a magazine article on illegal immigration.
Not giving up on immigration control: when it comes to immigration reforms and tight immigration controls, many say it can't be done. But they are wrong.
To reduce the number of illegals trying to cross our southern border from the present rate of one to three million a year to a more manageable size, we need to make their lives in the interior of the country as untenable as possible. To begin with, illegals need to be cut off from all types of welfare programs. When illegals have a child in this country, their children are immediately eligible for Medicaid. Because the bulk of incoming immigrants are poor, they qualify. Also, according to Madeleine Pelner Cosman, a medical lawyer, illegal immigrant children "have inordinately high incidences of disabling mental disease" that include behavioral "disabilities such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder." Because of their "disabilities," they get Social Security Disability Income.
As part of making life as an illegal alien untenable, cities deemed "sanctuary cities" for illegals—like Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles—which do not report illegal immigrants to the federal government, must be required to detain illegals for deportation. Pressure brought to bear on state legislators could bring about this result. To enlist the aid of local law enforcement personnel in deporting illegals, statewide standards need to be set for what does and does not constitute racial profiling (to prevent the ACLU from suing cities for doing their duty), and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement needs to do its job.
A report by the Center for Immigration Studies, entitled "Officers Need Backup," lists numerous instances when immigration officials either refuse to pick up illegals from local law enforcement or turn them free after they pick them up. In fact, illegals end up in our legal system constantly, only to be released. When European, Asian, and African illegals are caught at the southern border, unless they are suspected terrorists, they are immediately released because Mexico will not take them—they are not Mexican nationals—and Customs considers it too costly to fly them home. When Hispanics get caught in our country, they are usually given a "notice to appear" at a future court date, and they are let free. Over 88 percent don't show up for hearings. In cities near the border the no-show rate is often over 98 percent.
To make immigration controls work, we must lock up the illegals (in tent cities, if necessary) until it is time to deport them, and we must end or greatly simplify the appealing of deportations by illegals, by which illegals clog the federal holding facilities and bring deportations to a virtual standstill. Only the federal government can make the Bureau of Immigration do its job, and so congressional representatives need to hear that we know about this.
Also, many more immigration officers need to be hired to patrol the interior of our country to arrest businessmen who hire illegals and do not report the workers for tax purposes, breaking tax laws. To stop employers from hiring illegals who have managed to obtain forged identification documents, thereby giving employers who hire them the veneer of legality, and to catch illegal aliens, immigration officers should investigate every company that turns in an invalid Social Security number on tax forms because most illegals who have forged immigration documents are using fake Social Security numbers.
Scott, Michael. "America Must Take Stronger Measures to Halt Illegal Immigration." The Social Contract 11, no. 1 (2000).
The following appeared in an article in a scholarly journal.
One look at the ravages of illegal immigration in California is enough to make most Americans sick. At least 40 percent of the nation's 6 million illegal immigrants are here. From a base of 2.4 million illegal immigrants already present, they just keep coming—20,000 net new illegals each year into California (300,000 nationally), and the horrendous social costs just keep rising. There are 408,000 illegal immigrant K-12 students to educate at a cost to California taxpayers of approximately $2.2 billion annually, for example. Never mind that these students can't work, drive or vote once they graduate, unless they obtain fraudulent documents.
Taxpayers subsidize 96,000 illegal immigrant births in statewide county hospitals (200,000 nationally) at a yearly cost of $352 million. Then we have annual ... [welfare] costs for these new citizen children of nearly $552 million. Add another $557 million to incarcerate 23,000 illegal alien felons in California, plus $60 million health care costs for various services, and we're over $3.7 billion annually—out of our pockets, and against our overwhelming opposition to such outrages.
Eliminating this brutal migratory devastation involves two basic actions, enforcing our own immigration laws, and accepting the ugly reality that "we've met the enemy and it is us".
Center for Immigration Studies. Illegal Immigration.
The following appeared on a website for a nonprofit and nonpartisan research group that studies immigration in America.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) estimates that in January of 2000 there were 7 million illegal aliens living in the United States, a number that is growing by half a million a year. Thus, the illegal-alien population in 2003 stands at least 8 million. Included in this estimate are approximately 78,000 illegal aliens from countries who are of special concern in the war on terror. It is important to note that the 500,000 annual increase is the net growth in the illegal-alien population (new illegal immigration minus deaths, legalizations, and out-migration). In 1999 for example, the INS estimates that 968,000 new illegal aliens settled in the U.S. This number was offset by 210,000 illegal aliens who either died or returned home on their own, 63,000 who were removed by the INS, and 183,000 illegal aliens who were given green cards as part of the normal "legal" immigration process. One of the most important findings of the INS report is the intimate link between legal and illegal immigration. The INS estimates that it gave out 1.5 million green cards to illegal aliens in the 1990s. This was not due to amnesty legislation, but rather reflects how the legal immigration process embraces illegal immigration and encourages it through legal exemptions. According to the INS, only 412,000 illegal aliens were removed during the decade.
The Census Bureau has also developed estimates of its own. Their estimate at the time of the 2000 Census suggests that the illegal immigration population was about 8 million. Using this number, it can be concluded that the illegal-alien population grew by almost half a million a year in the 1990s. This conclusion is derived from a draft report given to the House immigration subcommittee by the INS that estimated the illegal population was 3.5 million in 1990. For the illegal population to have reached 8 million by 2000, the net increase had to be 400,000 to 500,000 per year during the 1990s.
The two "magnets" which attract illegal aliens are jobs and family connections. The typical Mexican worker earns one-tenth his American counterpart, and numerous American businesses are willing to hire cheap, compliant labor from abroad; such businesses are seldom punished because our country lacks a viable system to verify new hires' work eligibility. In addition, communities of recently arrived legal immigrants help create immigration networks used by illegal aliens and serve as incubators for illegal immigration, providing jobs, housing, and entree to America for illegal-alien relatives and fellow countrymen.
The standard response to illegal immigration has been increased border enforcement. And, in fact, such tightening of the border was long overdue. But there has been almost no attention paid to enforcement at worksites within the United States. Nor has there been any recognition that the networks created by high levels of legal immigration contribute to mass illegal immigration.
Wasem, Ruth Ellen. "Estimates of unauthorized aliens residing in the United States, 1986-2002." Congressional Research Service Report to Congress (Sept. 15, 2004), 3.
The following graph appeared in an article about immigration by a congressional research group.
Illegal immigration had become the major problem of America. Illegal immigration is often caused due to the lack of... View the full answer