Immigration Reform

We need immigration reform, not only would we be helping the people, but our society as well. Forty million foreign born residents currently living in the United States. Nearly 11.7 of those foreign born residents are undocumented immigrants. An undocumented immigrant is a non native born person that is living in the United States illegally. One of the major reasons that immigrants come to the United States is because they need to work and find more opportunities for themselves and their families. The opportunities they cannot receive in their country. Immigrants have been living in the United States illegally since the 1900’s and they continue to come and form their lives here. Since the very early years of immigration it started to become a problem. People started arguing that illegal immigrants harm our society and others argued that on the contrary they helped not only us but our economy as well.

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Then visas were formed and people were and still come into the United States legally. The bad side about the visas is that it takes months, sometimes years, to get one and many of the immigrants don’t want to wait months or years to come to the United States, so they find different ways to come to the United States; border crossing. It can be the easiest way or for many the most dangerous way to come to the United States; if someone crosses the border illegally. Anyone caught crossing the United States border illegally can be convicted of a crime and held responsible for a civil violation under the U.S immigration laws. That has been one of the major problems known to our society; people keep crossing the border illegally and building higher walls will not stop them. Without immigration reform immigrants will continue to come to the United States illegally and that will lead to more problems in our society.

Immigrants began migrating mainly from Germany, Ireland, and England especially between the 1880’s-1900’s, followed by the Mexican immigrants in the early 1900’s. The first decade of the 1900’s Mexicans came in and out the U.S as they pleased. After the immigration outbreak during WWI, immigrants allowed in the U.S had to pay $8 tax and demonstrate literacy in any language. Then the Bracero Program was formed in 1939, and it allowed 50,000 agricultural and 75,000 railroad workers to enter the United States, to work, at any given time. It was started because many thought that there would be labor shortages to low paying agricultural jobs due to WW2. By 1942 there was about 100,000 braceros. It was Mexican immigrants that continued to come to the United States, by 1953 the number had increased to 543,000 and in 1954 the Operation Wetback had started. Operation wetback would send millions of Mexicans back to Mexico on buses, and those that didn’t want to be sent back simply went back on their own. During the 1950’s illegal Mexican workers became a national concern, they were being blamed for diseases and taking American jobs. Yet there were also many Americans that insisted that without their help and labor work, the American people in the U.S would go broke. The number of illegal immigrants began to grow, between 1952 to 1953 the number jumped from 543,000 to 865,000. Even with the Alien Registration Act of 1940 that allowed immigrants to get a green card, and be in the country legally, immigrants continued to come to the United States illegally. The very first green cards were white and at first immigrants were able to apply for green cards in post offices but once the number of immigrants increased it became part of regular immigration procedures. Immigrants continue, up to this day, to come to the United States illegally and unfortunately it has been a controversial problem for a long time.

So what is the problem that americans have with undocumented immigrants? Many Americans argued that illegal immigrants brought diseases and took their jobs, and now some suggest that they undercut wages. Not only do they argue that but there are also some Americans that say, Many use social programs, like hospitals and schools, that cost taxpayers and add to our $16 trillion national debt. The reason that they blame undocumented immigrants for stealing their jobs, is because, like previously mentioned, they undercut their wages. Research from an article, Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Harm the U.S Economy, states, Labor economist have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S adults without a high-school diploma – 25 million of them – by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent. Another recent survey showed that older participants had more negative attitudes. In addition, americans argue that immigrants continue to come to the United States illegally and they want something done about it. With our current president, Donald Trump, Americans have the hope that there will be as many as possible undocumented immigrants sent back to their country. On the other hand, Mario Vargas argued, …However undocumented worker often work unpleasant, back breaking jobs that native-born workers are not willing to do. David Card, an economist of UC Berkeley, stated Evidence that immigrants have harmed the opportunities of less-educated natives is scant. Does that mean that undocumented immigrants really are taking American jobs or taking the jobs americans wouldn’t want to do? Although many U.S citizens argue that undocumented immigrants come to the U.S illegally and harm our economy and steal their jobs, the number of immigrants coming to the U.S illegally would probably decrease if there was immigration reform. With immigration reform the requirements to gets green cards wouldn’t be so difficult, it would decrease the number of illegal immigrants coming to the United States and put themselves in danger and at the end it would end up helping our economy.

Initially we need immigration reform because there are many requirements in order to get a green card; including the wait to get the green card/visa. In 1990 there was the Immigration Act of 1990 that would implement stronger enforcement system by employer sanctions and tighter border control. By 1991-1994 there was a lottery distribution of 40,000 permanent resident visas, with exclusion of people with AIDS, and in 1995 over 4.5 million people applied for the 55,000 available visas. There are different types of visas that people can apply for, but it is only the Immediate Relative Visa that take months to actually receive, the rest take years. For instance, the Employment Based Green Cards take between 1-4 years, and that causes a problem for people because they have to wait years to actually be able to work a decent paid job that they can’t have in their country. There’s also a Family Preference Green Card, but that one can take between 1-10 years of waiting. One to ten years just to see a family member? It’s hard for people to be able to wait so long and not knowing for sure if they’re going to qualify for the visa or not. What’s the problem with getting the visas, besides the wait? It’s the requirements to apply; an application form (DS 160 for non-immigrant visas or DS 260 for immigrant visas), a passport which is 6 months valid beyond the planned stay in the U.S, two photographs that comply to photograph requirement, and paid visa fee to be able to schedule interview. Not only are the requirements a bit much for the people, but also like mentioned in the article Why Don’t they just Get In Line?, research mentions that Unauthorized immigrants who want to regularize their status in this country cannot just get in line. There are lines, but a large number of aspiring immigrants are not eligible to be in any of them. So what does this have to do with immigration reform? Well, if we had immigration reform the wait for the visas wouldn’t be so long and the requirements to get a visa would probably change as well, therefore it would be a better way for immigrants to come to the United States legally.

Furthermore, immigration reform is needed because people keep coming to the United States illegally and putting themselves in harm in order to reach the American Dream. In the 1960’s there were new ways of getting in the United States, the Border Crossing Card. It allowed people to cross the United States border temporarily for shopping, business, or entertainment, but there were exceptions; Person could not travel 25 miles North of the border. and they were required to return to their home country within 3 days. Most people relied on coyotes, The El Paso branch of the INS estimated in the late 1970’s that close to 50 percent of Mexican illegals relied on coyotes (BOOK). Many of the times people were abandoned and left by the coyotes, some ended up dead when crossing the Rio Grande. It was like they were leading themselves to their own death, Millions of Mexican immigrants have risked their lives trying to cross the border illegally. Even though immigrants that cross the border go through many dangers, such as catching a disease or dying, the number of illegal immigrants coming to the U.S keeps increasing just as fast as the number of deaths, In 2000 the Border Patrol recorde 383 deaths of undocumented immigrants along the border. BOOK Immigrants come to the U.S in search for better jobs and more opportunities, but many do not qualify for visas or are not willing to wait in line so many years to start a better life, like mentioned in the book, ,…Immigrants typically risk the hazards of crossing the border illegally mainly because they seek to escape poverty in their homelands.(page 28). Based on the research, we need immigration reform because not only would the people not have to wait as much but it would also help increase the number of immigrants coming to the U.S legally and it would decrease the number of deaths caused by border crossing. Although immigrants are not forced to cross the border they do it because it’s not like waiting years to get a visa can be another alternative to follow their American Dream.

Ultimately we need immigration reform because it would help the immigrants get to the U.S legally and it would also help our economy. Immigrants come to the U.S in search for better jobs, and better jobs to them are jobs that Americans would not likely do. Since they are not legal residents, many undocumented immigrants do not have the high job opportunities that Americans have, so when they first get to the U.S most of the jobs they take are field work, house cleaning, babysitting, and more jobs that really do help our economy. In the book, , the author states, … mutually beneficial for both immigrants who make higher wages in America than at home, and U.S citizens, who rely on cheap labor. (page 29). All that helps our economy because it helps America’s agricultural sector to continue being vital and competitive. It is immigrants, the majority illegal immigrants, that take up the unskilled labor jobs that help form a huge part of our economy. If illegal immigrants didn’t come to the U.S and work in the unskilled labor jobs the economy would slowly go down, and it would make sense that Americans would not be the ones to immediately take over the jobs since they are not used to those type of working conditions. So what does immigration reform have to do with illegal immigrants having a job? The point is that illegal immigrants would have the eligibility to apply for the Employment Visa and would be able to work in the U.S legally. Even though the Employment Visa already helps immigrants work in the U.S legally, like previously mentioned, many don’t apply because the wait is long. Therefore, immigration reform would help immigrants apply for visas and make the process faster for them to work legally in the U.S and in that way continue helping America’s economy.

In conclusion, immigration reform is something that should be going into action because it would help reduce the wait and requirements, keep more immigrants out of danger, and help America’s economy. For many years immigrants have came to the U.S illegally and it has caused a lot of controversy with U.S citizens. In addition, when the immigrants cross the border they’re putting themselves in danger, and they cross the border because they don’t see waiting for years to give themselves and work for better opportunities as an option; so they do it illegally. Something that with immigration reform would decrease and benefit many. Immigrants come to the U.S in search for jobs and in the book, Does Illegal immigration Harm Society?, author Barbour states that, The jobs illegal immigrants do are crucial. (page 29). In other words, immigrants help our economy grow and continue having competition, because it is obvious that without illegal immigrants there wouldn’t be many Americans that would be willing to do the job. Immigration reform would do something many of use hope will happen, decrease illegal immigration and increase legal immigration. Why do we really need immigration reform? Even though it might not seem like it, illegal immigrants go through a lot for the American Dream and they help form the U.S whether many of us like it or not. To conclude, based on the research I am convinced that in order to make America great again we need immigration reform.

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Immigration Reform. (2019, Jul 01). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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