Political Candidate Position Analysis
Arguably, the issue of immigration is connected with social welfare. In 1996, former President Bill Clinton signed into law an act that eventually removed welfare as an entitlement to immigrants. It also limited lawful immigrants’ access to welfare, health insurance, and other social programs. States were given powers to minimize the benefits of this group of individuals living in the United States. For the first time, it codified the eligibility of unauthorized immigrants, legal immigrants, and refugees for state and federal public benefits. Many believed that welfare attracted immigrants to the United States.
This act confused immigrant communities. Referred to as PRWORA, it created complicated rules regarding the eligibility of immigrants that were qualified, which differed depending on the program. Nonetheless, access of post-enactment immigrants to public benefits has improved since 1996, except for the rules concerning eligibility. Most welfare reforms have not significantly altered the limited eligibility that affects undocumented immigrants’ benefits and access to welfare programs.
Immigrant families make up a huge number of families in the US. They also comprise a growing population in a number of county and state child welfare systems. However, the above-mentioned restrictions continue to hinder them from living comfortably in the country. Consequently, welfare providers across the nation continue to encounter numerous challenges in meeting complex needs of immigrant children and families. This limited access to resources and welfare programs makes immigrants distrust various public systems, especially when they are trying to attain citizenship. Distrust, fear and lack of knowledge about their relief options and immigration status may hinder these families from looking for services.
More often than not, the lack of resources adds to immigrants’ involvement in child welfare. Despite all these hardships, NASW supports local, state, and federal policies to make sure that undocumented immigrant children get necessary immigration-related services or adjustment to their status if they are eligible. Welfare workers, therefore, face a lot of challenges in providing these services, for instance, a language barrier can prevent immigrants from fully understanding their rights and responsibilities in the child welfare system. According to the National Association of Social Workers (2012), existing laws and policies contribute to making it difficult for providers to offer efficient services to these immigrants. In general, issues surrounding immigration status, laws, culture, and language at times complicate cases that concern planning and delivery of service.
President Obama’s Position on Immigration
The President stated that he will carry on with the fulfillment of the federal government’s duty to protect the nation’s borders and demand responsibility from those individuals and families that live in the United States unlawfully. Furthermore, he will require accountability for businesses that go against the law by exploiting both American and undocumented workers. President Obama has also recently announced that the country will stop deporting some undocumented workers who have come to the United States before they were sixteen, have lived in the country for over five years, have no trace of criminal records, are attending school or at least have a high school diploma, or have served in the military and have been honorably discharged.
Obama’s stance on immigration sends a clear message to many undocumented immigrants, especially the Hispanic population living in states like Nevada and Florida among others. They are frustrated with the government’s reluctance to address their problems with deportation and the immigration system. It puts pressure on the opposition that has maintained a tough position on immigration. With unemployment still high, immigration politics has been a sensitive one with neither Republicans nor Democrats wanting to be seen as undermining jobs meant for the American workers. The Obama government has continued the deportation of illegal immigrants, hence breaking up families. Nonetheless, the deportation of young immigrants will mean that they can have increased access to social welfare and a pathway to permanent residency. Knowing their status will also help these groups to understand their rights, which would eventually make social work carried out by NASW easier.
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Mitt Romney’s Position on Immigration
Serving as governor of Massachusetts, Romney wholly enforced a number of federal immigration laws. Additionally, he authorized state policy to help the federal government in enforcing the immigration laws. Romney also opposed driving licenses being given to illegal immigrants and vetoed in-state tuition benefits extended towards illegal immigrants. According to Mitt Romney, illegal immigration has to come to an end. Therefore, as the President, he would finish building a high-tech fence and provide enough border patrol to observe the border between the United States and Mexico.
Additionally, he would introduce a tamper-proof employment verification system that would allow employers to hire only those who can legally work in the United States, hence denying jobs to those who live illegally in the country. Mitt Romney is against amnesty because he believes it encourages illegal immigration. Unlawful immigrants who want legal status should not have any advantage extended to them. On the other hand, those who enter the United States legally would get more Visa caps, especially highly skilled workers. Furthermore, Romney would give residency to qualified graduates that have advanced degrees in sciences, math, or engineering.
Throughout the primary season, Mr. Romney opposed the contents of the Dream Act that would encourage young immigrants to stay in the United States and hence give them a path towards citizenship. However, he has been forced to soften his stance since he would lose out on many immigrant communities like the Latinos. Mitt Romney criticized Obama for failing to find a permanent solution that would determine the fate of young undocumented individuals that work in the United States. Earlier, he stated that he would veto any bill that allowed children coming to the country with immigrants to acquire permanent residency.
Conservatives are against Obama’s program to halt the deportation of young immigrants defining it as an amnesty that will increase competition for jobs. Romney has reiterated his intention to offer a pathway to residency for individuals who have served in the military adding that he would work together with Congress to resolve the whole issue in a reasonable way. It would mean that undocumented immigrants would continue to face difficulties while living in the United States until they go back to their countries and apply for citizenship. According to Kaestner and Neeraj (2005), many people, especially of the Latinos origin, do not support Romney because they fear that their lives and those of their families would become even more complicated. It would have more consequential implications on social injustice than what is currently felt. More immigrants will be locked out of welfare services, jobs, and pathways to permanent citizenship.
Position of NASW on Immigration
According to the National Association of Social Workers (2009), it is vital to work towards fair and just refugee and immigration policies. Social workers understand that migration is a complex political, cultural, and social process that is indispensable to the apprehension of human rights and social work in general. Social workers play roles both as direct service providers and policy advocates. Therefore, they have a direct impact on refugee and immigrant policy and populations. They are involved in the coordination and designing of community support programs that affect refugees both in the United States and in other countries. Additionally, they carry out researches and campaign for better refugee settlement services. For instance, in the United States, they help the newly arrived immigrants performing such roles as job developers and resettlement caseworkers.
On a global scale, they work with various humanitarian aid organizations in coordinating psychosocial programs that help children in refugee camps. Alternatively, they work with such established organizations as the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) and UNICEF to design various programs and affect policy. Nonetheless, social workers are at times ineffective in giving aid to clients because of penal laws and policies that deny access to vital resources. Therefore, social workers have to familiarize themselves with the dynamics that is characteristic of migration and the implications that immigration policy has on individuals or families before they can be effective in supporting refugees and immigrants in the United States and all over the world.
Arguably, immigrant families make up a huge number of families in the US and a growing population in a number of counties and state child welfare systems. However, lack of jobs and restrictions continue to hinder them from living comfortably in the country. President Obama’s stance on immigration is clear. He will carry on with the fulfillment of the federal government’s duty to protect the nation’s borders and demand responsibility from those individuals and families who live in the United States unlawfully. The President will also require accountability for businesses that go against the law by exploiting both American and undocumented workers. Recently, he has announced that he would stop deporting some undocumented workers who have come to the United States before they were sixteen, have lived in the country for over five years, have no trace of criminal records, are attending school or at least with a high school diploma, or have served in the military and have been honorably discharged.
Mitt Romney has stated that illegal immigration has to come to an end. Therefore, as the President, he would finish building a high-tech fence and provide enough border patrol to man the border between the United States and Mexico. Additionally, he would introduce a tamper-proof employment verification system that would allow employers to hire only those who can legally work in the United States, hence denying jobs to those who live illegally in the country. Mitt Romney believes that extending amnesty to undocumented workers encourages illegal immigration. However, those entering the US legally will have more incentives, for instance, they would be offered permanent residency if they are qualified graduates with advanced degrees in sciences, math, or engineering.