The American history shows that immigrants started flooding the US far back in its early days. They are therefore a great part of the history of the US. In this sense, it is important to consider the social status of the immigrants who find their way into the country and start living on the streets after failing to get jobs ‘in the shadows.’ The commonsense policy by President Obama is well-set on dealing with the tax evasion by immigrants who have jobs, but it does not consider the ones who are forced onto the streets and into crime and prostitution out of a need for economic sustenance in a foreign country. As a legislator, you can seek to address this unfortunate group of immigrants in a way that they are either helped to get jobs so that they can get off the street, or sent back home depending on their situations and circumstances.
Statement of the Problem
What role should the legislators play in enhancing the social and financial status of jobless immigrants who are lured or forced into crime and prostitution as a result of their desperation? What needs to be added to the commonsense immigration policy to complete its effectiveness and practicality?
Background of the Problem
Immigration has been, and continues to be a major part of America’s existence. As a developed country, the US receives the largest number of immigrants each year and not all of them are legal applicants. There are about 11 million undocumented workers in the US, and these numbers do not include their families or those who are not employed. In other words, the country could be looking at approximately more than 20 million illegal immigrants within its borders (Lewis 24).
While this is a known issue, the proposed policy does not address the issues of the jobless immigrants. It only focuses on the employed ones, with an aim of mitigating their effects on the US economy through tax evasion (Borjas 135). While this is practical and good for the economy, it does not address the real problem caused by illegal immigration.
More often than not these immigrants come to the US with the hope of getting good jobs, education and generally better lives. This is however not always the case as most remain jobless and without a roof over their heads. It is these persons that we need to look at. They end up engaging in crime and prostitution as a means of sustaining their livelihoods in the US. This is clear from the demographics of inmates in our penitentiaries as well as the commercial sex workers populations. While the proposed policy addresses the threats of immigration to the US economy, we seek to address their threats to security and social well being of the American society.
More often than not, sending them back home does not solve the problem as they will end up coming back under different aliases due to the hardships back home. It is therefore important to sort this problem out in a better, practical and more sustainable way if this country is to avoid the recurrence of such situations (Camarota 56).
Statement of Interests in the Issue
As a member of the American society, this organization is interested in keeping the American streets free of street families, and people who engage in crime and prostitution as a way of sustaining livelihoods (Council of Economic Advisers 12). The social and financial status of immigrants affects all Americans in the sense that crime and prostitution do not alienate who to affect. They are societal issues that impact the whole nation and thus need to be addressed as such, national issues.
As a nation, we have an idea of the conditions that these immigrants try to run away from back in their countries. As much as the US has its own problems to deal with, this nation can be of great help to those in need of the peace and prosperity that we enjoy. Their security risk is not an issue that this country cannot handle. What really matters is how ethical, or rather moral America is as a nation. Is this country willing to send immigrants back to die of hunger and starvation, or wallow in abject poverty in their homes? As a nation, it is important that the US not only appears like an economic ‘big brother’ but also a considerate refuge for those in need. The humanitarian aspects of this initiative are obvious, and the world as it stands today needs humanitarian aid. Up until each nation can stand alone, immigration will continue to be a reality that needs current solutions.
Pre Existing Policies
The commonsense immigration policy as proposed by President Obama has sought to address the immigration issue from four angles. The first one is to strengthen our borders and prevent illegal entry since this is how the immigrants get in the first place. Secondly, he proposes a crackdown on companies that have undocumented employees. These companies condone this due to the cheap labor provided given that the immigrants need the job to survive, and can probably not get it anywhere else due to regulations (US Department of Justice 31). The third option requires holding the immigrants accountable by having them pay their taxes and the stipulated fines before earning their citizenship the right way. The major achievement in this policy however is the last component which entails streamlining the immigration system for families, workers and employers. This will most likely reduce the number of illegal immigrants flocking the country.
This policy will thus solve the issue of numbers, but what about the existing immigrants who are not documented, not employed, and therefore not accounted for anywhere in the US system? What about the unknown commercial sex workers and drug peddlers, robbers, carjackers, among other criminals who came in to America with their hopes and dreams of a better life intact only to be shattered by the reality on the ground? They too need to be addressed, and that’s what we seek to do.
Basically, there are two major possible courses of action that can help this cause. The legislators could amend the commonsense policy or draft full amendments to it in two ways. The first one will involve creating immigration channels whereby people entering our borders come in for an already specified purpose (Hanson 73). This will require a system where they are informed of existing job positions and are assisted to apply and prepare before they get in to the country. The second option will be to rehabilitate and find placement options for the already existing jobless immigrants rather than waiting for them to be found guilty of some crime so that they can be deported upon finishing their sentences.
Advantages of Creating the Immigration Channels
In conjunction with having secure borders, bringing in immigrants with a specific purpose is bound to limit joblessness and thence crime rates and prostitution will reduce. Also, the country will not have to have so many foreigners in the penitentiaries awaiting deportation or bribing their way out.
It is generally expensive given that currently there is a high level of unemployment among the citizens. Also, it does not address the issue already at hand but rather only cushions the nation from future complications.
Advantages of Rehabilitating and Placing the Existing Immigrants
First and foremost, this will ensure an immediate decrease in the number of criminals and prostitutes ion our streets and alleys. It will also upgrade the living standards of these immigrants and get most families off the streets (Smith 48).
It may encourage more illegal immigrants into the country but with the strengthening of our borders this may not be an issue to worry about anymore. It will however be a challenge and will require innovation for job creation since the nation already has a fair share of unemployed persons (Gathmann 1934).
The major concern for this immigrants issue is the risks they pose when they come into the country and do not get the jobs they hoped for, thus engaging in crime and prostitution. It is a current issue that requires current solutions and not future mitigation. In this spirit, the second option is more practical. Rounding up the current jobless immigrants and rehabilitating them in order to change their attitudes and habits will go a long way in getting them off our streets. It is a sure way of reducing crime rates and the number of commercial sex workers who mostly are young men and women who should be in school.
Getting jobs for these immigrants may be a hard task even for the US government, but it is possible. They can be absorbed into training and internship programs in conjunction with the private sector to ensure that they get the required skills and competencies so that they can compete fairly in the job market in future. It will also keep them off the streets so that the police can focus on the real criminals and not those, driven by the desperation and frustrations of shattered hopes and dreams in a foreign land.