Editorial: Immigration questions still unanswered

By Kaitlin Barr
September 20, 2007

George W. Bush has attempted to bring the immigration issue to the forefront in Washington. Unfortunately, as a result of more pressing issues like the Iraq War at hand, the issue of immigration has not been resolved and probably won’t be until the next president takes office.

Immigration is a hot topic not only among the 2008 presidential candidates but also among Americans. The impact immigration will have on our country is profound and needs to be addressed.

The United States is sometimes called “the land of milk and honey,” and it is because of that, that people risk their lives every day to cross the border to come to America for better opportunities.

As Americans, we ask questions such as, do we want people from other countries taking away our jobs, do we want our neighborhoods to change from dominantly English speaking, should illegal immigrants be able to attend our public schools and receive healthcare, what should the penalty be for businesses that employ illegal immigrants?

We as an editorial staff know and understand that our country is founded by immigrants. Some of our own parents are immigrants and because of that, we believe that we do not have the right as Americans to turn away people who want to do honest work to better the lives of their families, particularly work that most Americans would never do themselves.

The United States Department of Labor projects that by 2010, the U.S. will create 22 million new jobs but we have only 13 million new American workers.

However, The United States should know who is entering and leaving the country because times have changed. Post 9/11, safety has become of utmost importance. Legislation should be passed to ensure that the borders are heavily guarded from drug traffickers and terrorists.

Twelve million illegal immigrants reside in the United States today. In hopes of finding them, we believe Congress should make a time period in which illegal immigrants can come forward in an effort to become a legal citizen of the United States. Congress should specify that one of the factors of becoming a United States citizen is to speak and write English. Being able to clearly speak and write is absolutely a necessary factor in adapting to our culture.

Employers should be held accountable for knowing whether or not their employees are here illegally or legally. Employers employing illegal immigrants should be fined.

Recently in the news, senators have been pushing hard for Congress to hear more about the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. Also known as the “DREAM Act,” it is a bill that would provide a six-year path of citizenship for illegal immigrant students if they graduate from high school and continues on to college or military service. It would allow states to provide in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students. Although presented to Congress several times, Senate has approved nothing as of now.

The immigration policy that Congress passes should be true to American’s history, a country of immigrants.

Kaitlin Barr

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