Immigration Essay, Research Paper

Immigraton in the U.S.

While immigration has played an important role in the building

and formation of America, new federal laws have resulted in mass

immigration. Throughout history, Congress has enacted laws and has

had to amend them to control the flow of both legal and illegal

migration to the United States.

In 1948, legislation was first enacted in an effort to control the

number of applicants fleeing persecution; it permitted 205,000

refugees to enter the United States. In 1952, Congress set in place

major regulations setting parameters and quotas mostly for the

eastern hemisphere and leaving the western hemisphere unrestricted.

In 1953, congress was again faced with having to increase the

number of refugees from 205,000 to 415,000. In order to qualify as a

refugee one must have a well founded fear of persecution, not be

firmly resettled in a third country, and must not be an aggravated

felon. In 1965, the national origin?s quota system was abolished but

still maintained was the principle of numerical by establishing

170,000 hemispheric and 20,000 per country ceilings and a seven


category preference system. This system included the spouses of

lawful resident aliens, brother and sisters of United States citizens,

skilled and unskilled workers. To present date spouses and minor

children of US citizens are exempt any quota system. In 1980, the

refugee act removed them from the preference category and

established clear criteria and procedures for their admission. In

1986, Congress was faced with yet another national crisis which it

attempted to resolve by enacting the Immigration Reform and Control

Act (IRCA). IRCA was considered to be the most comprehensive act

which was to grant amnesty to those who had resided in the US

illegally since January 1, 1982, (2) created sanctions against persons

and companies that hired illegal aliens, (3) created the a new

classification of temporary agriculture and granted amnesty to such

workers, (4) created a new visa waiver pilot program (VWPP) allowing

the admission of certain non-immigrants without visas, (4) created

legislature for conditional status for those couples whose marriage is

less than two years prior to immigrating to the US. Under IRCA 2.7

illegal aliens mostly from Mexico were given legal immigrant status.

These new laws opened the door to the longest and largest wave of

immigration ever-27 million since 1965, including illegal entries.

The visa waiver pilot program (VWPP) is designed to extend

reciprocity to the countries that permit US citizens to visit their

countries without the need of a tourist visa. To date a total of

twenty-nine countries are signatory to the treaty. In order to qualify,

countries must have a low rate of non-immigrant overstays to the US,

and must have state of the art machine readable passports.


Prior to the enactment of IRCA, marriage fraud between

non-citizens and US citizens was rampant and out of control.

Measures were put in place to reduce this by requiring couples to

submit proof to INS. This proof must show that the couple has been

living together and submitted ninety days prior to the second

anniversary. If the couple fails to establish that the marriage is valid,

the non-citizen will not become a lawful permanent resident and will

be faced with and order of deportation. The only exception, is that

the non-citizen cannot be the subject of spousal abuse and be

expected to remain in the marriage for the two years.

After almost thirteen years, Congress and the United States

citizens have had the misfortune of reflecting on the blunders of the

Immigration Reform Act of 1986(IRCA). The amnesty permanently

added millions of poor people to our society. A study done by the

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) showed that after ten

years in the United States, the average amnestied illegal alien had

only a seventh grade education and an annual salary of less than

$9,000 a year. The cost of amnesty to the American taxpayer is

unbelievable. According to a recent study by the Center for American

studies, the total net cost of amnesty after ten years comes to over

$78 billion dollars. An amnesty sends the message that it?s okay to

break the law. Eventually, it says, you will be forgiven, even

rewarded for doing so. Further-more, it makes a mockery of the legal

immigration process, where-in those who obey the rules, wait years to

immigrate. Their is a list of 3.6 million eligible people waiting to be

admitted as immigrants to our country; some of them have been on


that list for eighteen years. Illegal aliens make a mockery of those

who respect our laws and our country?s sovereignty by waiting for an

opportunity to immigrate.

Again Congress and the American public are faced with a serious

problem–the high number of criminal aliens. Criminal aliens are a

growing threat to public safety and national security, as well as a

drain on our scare criminal justice resources. In 1980, our federal

and state housed fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. By the end of

1994, these same prisons housed over 59,000 criminal aliens. Today,

criminal aliens account for over 25% of federal prison inmates and

represent the fastest growing segment of the federal prison

population. For the first time ever, more that 50,000 criminal aliens

were deported in fiscal year 1997. In fiscal year 1998, the number

jumped by more than 50% to 106,000. According to Immigration

Subcommittee Chairman Congressman Lamar Smith, only a small

percentage of criminals are being deported. Congress in 1996 passed

a law that took effect last October that requires mandatory detention

and deportation of aliens who commit any of a long list of offenses,

regardless of how long ago they occurred. INS is making every effort

to remove the criminal aliens expeditiously but many foreign

countries hinder this process by not issuing the necessary travel

documents in an expedient fashion. This intentional delay affect the

American public, both socially and economically.

Closer to home, Miami?s foreign born population rose, in a ten

year period, by about 28,000 (14.9%) since 1980. During the same

period, the city?s overall population was increasing by about 12,000.


This caused the share of the population that was foreign born to

increase from 53.7% to 59.7%. In contrast, the largest number of

immigrants are of Cuban decent totaling 72,042, Haitians, 29,219,

Jamaicans, 9,887. According to reports by the US Border Patrol, 2,000

Cubans have arrived since October 1, 1998.

Since it?s enactment in 1965, The Cuban Adjustment Act has

fundamentally treated Cuban nationals differently than any other

national. This law provides Cuban nationals a ?safe haven?, no

questions asked, do as you please in America. It is believed that the

Cuban nationals are fleeing a government of persecution, but in my

opinion, they are fleeing a government in economic shambles.

Despite the fact that their country is economically inept they

should be treated as any other person that comes to the country

illegally. Nonetheless, as soon as Cubans set foot on American soil

they are granted with employment authorization, can adjust their

status to lawful permanent status (green card) within a year, can

apply for US citizenship within five years, and government assistance

(welfare). All of these benefits without really knowing about their

backgrounds. For instance, a mass murderer in Cuba could set foot

on US soil and based on a honor system interview conducted by INS,

the person must be admitted.


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