Ethical Policy Of The U.S. On Immigration
By definition, immigrants are those aliens or individuals “who apply for admission and fulfill all the requirements for admission” (Weissinger, 2003). While aliens or individuals who are violators of the immigration law are not immigrants, there are those “who enter the United States, or intentionally overstay their visa in violation of law” (Weissinger, 2003). Today, the United States is dubbed as the “melting pot” of the world. However, social and cultural changes have complicated American ways and have raised moral issues about America’s obligations to immigrants.
The recent Conference on Public Service and the Law entitled “Love Thy Neighbor? The Ethical Underpinnings and Racial Politics of Immigration Reform” focused on ethical practices for these immigrants. One of the issues that came out was the fact that immigration tends to be focused on specific reforms yet, when the issue of ethics or race emerges, these are often handled almost accidentally. This was the observation brought out by Kerry Abrams, a law professor and co-director of UVA’s Center for Children, Families and the Law.
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More often, the racial dynamics of immigration are not given any emphasis. (Duncan). Naomi Mezey, a law professor of Georgetown University says it most succinctly, ““Immigration law is really the codification of our admissions policy in the United States. I’m interested in the ways in which immigration laws serve a very powerful and symbolic function in how we imagine ourselves as a nation,” she explained, “and they are a very strong part of the stories we tell about ourselves and our identity. ” She states for instance, the case of Chinese immigrants who were opposed by Californians.
It was apparent that there was a xenophobic sentiment that led to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. This paved the way for the first and last time that America banned large groups of people from entering the country. It seemed that before that Americans had the feeling that immigrants would disrupt the country’s cultural purity. It was good that concerned citizens exercised due prudence and they questioned this seeming antagonism with the Chinese. There was again a display of solidarity for other people who needed help and thus form a society with a diverse culture based on mutual respect. Duncan). The industrialism of the late nineteenth century was accompanied by a notable increase in immigration into the United States from foreign lands. Between 1815 and 1865 about six million immigrants entered the United States; between 1866 and 1915 about 25 million came. More immigrants came in good times than in bad. In the depression of the 1870’s immigration decreased, but by the 80’s it soared to new heights. In many ways, the industrial age directly affected the flow of the immigration. The development of better steamships made ocean passage faster and safer, and competition made it cheaper.
For instance, the Mexican population is fast becoming one of the various issues that pose a question to Americans today and which makes such immigration a threat to present day American economy. Others say that as Mexicans immigrate to the US in millions, they are believed to have dominated the population especially the southwestern part of the US. In fact a recent study reveals that Mexican community in the US has shown a trend to a “transfer of peso” to the ethnic Mexican community in the Southwest considering that it is projected in the next 20 to 30 years, 50 percent of the population of California are Latinos (Moore, 2002).
Some immigrants have dual citizenship as allowed by the United (Moore, 2002). By having such privilege, they have a voice that must be active in terms of increasing the interests of their country. One can say that illegal immigration to the US is very high considering that they see the many benefits they could gain from by migrating to the US whether legally or illegally. Some of the benefits immigrants gain from migrating to the US is the capacity to earn very attractive wages with an average daily wage of $60 versus that of their country at about $5 a day.
However, lately, the US government has been implementing stricter measures to control the entry of illegal immigrants to the US as recent census confirms that “the immigration tide is ‘importing poverty’ (Moore, 2002) and the immigration policy is “not serving their interests” that is why there is also a move for the government to change its policies (Moore, 2002). Nevertheless, immigration will continue to change the shape of the American population and present challenges to both federal and local policy.
The decade of the 1980s saw legal immigration approach the record of 9 million pesos set in the decade from 1901 to 1910. Immigration accounted for one-third of U. S. population. Some feel that asylum and refugee law is the most ethical part of the immigration policy. However, the problem lies during the implementation because it is not carried out ethically. This is because there are debates about the U. S. immigration policies which zeroes in on the immigrants’ effects on the wage-labor and employment in America. Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.
C. asserts that the “total immigrant population is generally thought to be about 38 million, which means that about one in every eight people in the United States is an immigrant or foreign-born. ” The figures reflect that many of these immigrants have not received any further education after elementary and that means more workers. Thus, the debate continues and is now geared on the effect of immigration not only on the shortage of less educated workers but also on the proliferation of low-income U. S. citizens whose hourly wages are lowered in more industries.
Camarota explains that the social safety net is strained because of these immigrants who exert a huge influence on the less-educated natives. Today, the ethical aspects of immigration remain a hotly-debated issue. In the midst of all these, it is still good to remember what Professor E. Ann Matter, dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences, who concluded talks on immigrants when she avers that a solid stance on the ethical values for immigrants involves “respect for others and an appreciation of different points of view—a belief that other experiences and other people are every bit as important as you are. ”