Illegal immigration is a sensitive topic in America and it has created quite a public flurry in the recent times. In this article, we will take a look at the immigration laws and will try to know why there is an urgent need to address this issue.
When Arizona took lead with some tough laws against illegal immigrants and accused federal government of “failing in its duty to protect Americans”, few eyebrows were raised. Illegal immigration statistics in the United States suggest that there are a whopping 8 million illegal immigrants in the United States who either sneak through the borders or simply overstay the visa issued by the US government. There are proper laws in place, but most policy-makers are of the view that these laws look formidable on paper, but fail to protect the country from illegal aliens. In a country where unemployment rate was peaking at 8.8% as of March, 2011 and where federal aids are already overburdened, illegal immigration poses more challenges for the government.
Laws on Illegal Immigration
- It is illegal to harbor illegal immigrants. Harboring means helping the alien to stay in the United States illegally.
- It is illegal to hire or recruit an alien for employment in the United States
- It is illegal to forge documents to aid illegal immigrants in gaining employment in the United States.
- Abetting or aiding illegal immigrants is punishable under the US laws.
- Immigrants who have naturalized as American citizens should have an understanding of the US history, US laws and its principles. They should be able to communicate in the official language of United States; English.
- Legal immigrants should have a clean record and should display sound moral character.
- Illegal immigrants should at no costs avoid the medical and physical examinations which are conducted to ascertain illness or any infectious diseases.
- Once deported, illegal immigrants are not admissible in the United States except with getting an approval from an Attorney General.
- Illegal immigrants should not be in possession of any firearms or ammunition.
While these laws are aimed to prevent the illegal immigrants from causing any kind of threat to the United States, many states have taken several initiatives to curb the spread of illegal immigration in their respective states. Lawmakers in Virginia are considering banning unauthorized immigrants from seeking admission in public funded universities. Oklahoma’s HB 1804 was aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from receiving benefits from the state. There are many thinkers who are now questioning the futility of all these immigration laws. There haven’t been any massive arrests or no big syndicate has been uncovered, although fear of prosecution has driven illegal immigrants to states with relatively lenient immigrant laws.
Illegal Immigration – A Victimless Crime?
There are a good number of human right activists in America who would rather think of illegal immigration as a victimless crime. While it is generally agreed that illegal immigrants are mostly people who have little opportunities in their original countries and come to United States in hope of a better future, the enormous strain they put on the already dwindling public funds is a cause of concern.
People who look forward to break into US illegally are motivated by the prosperity and the opportunities that this great country has to offer, but what they are ignorant about is the fact that around 12% of the population in the US live below the poverty level. Illegal immigrants not only affect the American citizens, but they also pose a threat to the legal immigrants who spend years and years meeting one criterion after another.
Many of the people accuse the US government and its population in general for being unsympathetic with the plight of illegal immigrants. They opine that US should take a humanitarian look at their problems and make efforts to assimilate them in the society. Their views are valid but the fact is that America has an immigration policy in place through which one can gain employment in the United States and after spending some time can also apply for citizenship.
The debate over the pros and cons of illegal immigration is never-ending, but there is nothing that can justify breaking the laws of the country. We know that we have the required illegal immigrant laws in place, then how illegal immigrants are able to sneak through and go unnoticed is something that the government needs to look into. We think that Dave Reichert is right when he says, “It is vitally important that we implement immigration reform. We need a bill that strengthens our borders and protects this nation, but that also makes it simpler for good people to become Americans.”