In 2007, the Pew Hispanic Center noted a record number of undocumented immigrants in the country, with 12 million living in the United States. Though the number fell to 11.1 million two years later, it has largely remained steady, with 11.2 million undocumented workers calling the U.S. “home” in 2010. That is a large number of undocumented illegal individuals living in our country.
With more than double the number of U.S. agents protecting the U.S.-Mexican border, than in past administrations, the number of people arrested for illegally crossing into the country has fallen by 36 percent, according to statistics compiled by The Wall Street Journal.
Chris Newman, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, notes that the economy is the primary factor affecting the numbers of undocumented workers in the country. When economic conditions improve, demand for work increases and the number of undocumented workers coming into the country rises. The current economic uncertainty in the U.S. may contribute to the numbers remaining mostly unchanged over the last few years.
President’s Focus on Immigration
In 2008, Obama made immigration reform a central component of his campaign. Yet, immigration rights advocates have said the president has not done enough to push the reforms that he campaigned on.
Despite the number of undocumented workers holding steady; our countries increasing debt crisis; the inability of our government to pay for entitlements for our own citizens; and political opposition, Obama has called for “a new movement” to help undocumented aliens and their families, according to the New York Times. Calling reform a “moral imperative,” the president is focusing on a renewed push to administratively attempting to circumvent the Immigration Act so as to fulfill his political ideals, while at the same time pursuing to change the laws surrounding immigration.
Obama long supported the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for those who entered the country before they were 16 years old, completed high school and had no serious criminal record. Though the measure died in the Senate during the Obama administration, President Trump remains committed to comprehensive immigration reform.
Now in 2018, President Trump demanded early February 2018 that any new immigration legislation provide at least $25 billion to secure our southern border, end chain migration that allows legal immigrants to bring their extended families to the U.S., and end a diversity lottery system that gives preferential treatment to immigrants from nations that send few people to America, for without these changes wew ill not stop the illegal entry of individuals into our country.
The new Republican proposal before the Senate, which President Trump endorsed, would also grant legal status to some 1.8 million immigrants who were largely brought to the U.S. illegally as children, as those are the individuals the DACA program was established to assist.
While it is natural to sympathize with these young people, they did enter illegally, when other enter legally, and that sympathy must be balanced by the reality that any amnesty program will encourage other individuals to continue illegal immigration, thus extending the problem that the reform is trying to resolve.
However, an amnesty reform deal that is far more generous than the one President Trump campaigned for, is the one that most conservatives will accept.
President Trump threatened to veto more limited legislation that only promises to tighten border security, as that promise has gone unfulfilled in the past.
The childhood immigrants protected under the program Obama created called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has been ordered by President Trump to end in March 2018. In response to that order, two federal judges have issued orders blocking the president from ending the DACA program in March. The U.S. Justice Department is appealing the first of those orders to the Supreme Court and it is likely expected that the Supreme Court will overturn the district court’s DACA rulings and uphold the president’s right to end DACA, as that was only an executive order of Obama and NOT law. DACA is similar to DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents), another Obama-created program, and the Supreme Court ruled that program unconstitutional in 2016 when suit was brought to end that program. The same result is expected if the Supreme Court hears the argument on DACA.
And, does DACA really help our country. Many do not believe it does. Many DACA recipients cannot even speak English fluently, as shown by the fact that on the DACA application form, where it offers a space to list the name of the person who translated it for the recipient, it is signed by a person. But with a few small exceptions, English proficiency is allegedly a requirement for citizenship.
Further, almost three-quarters of DACA recipients are those of low income households, which proves that their immigration will not help our economy but may hurt it, with the need for state and federal income assistance programs to help them with their low income issues. In fact, 20% (Twenty percent) of the DACA applicants are high school dropouts, and despite how Obama called DACA recipients “Americans … in every single way but one – on paper,” the Center for Immigration Studies has estimated that 70% (Seventy percent) of these individuals have only “basic,” OR LESS, English fluency than the Americans born legally, or entering legally into the United States. And, the pro-amnesty Migration Policy Institute, in its study, found that DACA recipients “are workers more likely to hold lower skilled jobs than US workers overall,” with top economic employers showing that they employ DACA recipients in food preparation and serving, sales, administrative support, and construction jobs, which are NOT critical deficit areas for our U.S. economy, unless the goal is to make sure Americans don’t make high wages.
And, the biggest dilemma in giving DACA recipients amnesty is that once DACA recipients get amnesty, they will become eligible for benefits and preferences over many American citizens, including natives whose families have been helped build this country for many generations and including the millions of legal immigrants who followed the law and the rules of this country and did things the right way to enter the US legally, as more than 95 percent of DACA recipients will be eligible for affirmative action programs covering everything from preferential college admissions and job placement to advantaged treatment for government programs targeted at “underrepresented minorities.” The majority of individuals who are legally here in the US or who are native here, or who were born here do NOT believe that this is the correct path to steer this country. As yourself: Why should we give those who entered our country illegally, preferential treatment and benefits?
As Fox News stated on February 15, 2018, Wouldn’t it be great if Congress considered the dreams of their own constituents to be as important as those of illegal immigrants?