Immigration problems stem from law

By Chris Giglio

Opinions Editor

The immigration laws enacted in Arizona this past April follow a misguided notion that illegal immigration is dragging America down. The law, SB 1070, requires any alien in the state of Arizona to carry his or her immigration papers at all times. This opens the door to increased racial profiling, as police are now given the authority to “determine the immigration status” of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

The broad support this bill has received comes from the beliefs that illegal immigration is a drag on our economy, that it increases unemployment for American citizens and that it is diluting our very culture. These beliefs are only partly true and disregard the enormous benefits legal and illegal immigrants are provide to the U.S.

An influx of Mexicans into the U.S. is not diluting our culture. Where I’m from in California, around 36 percent of the population is Hispanic. If anything, I should be seeing this so-called dilution first hand. In fact, living and working alongside Mexican immigrants, I’ve seen quite the opposite. Indeed, at first these immigrants are faced with a language and cultural barrier but like the Italians, Chinese and Irish before them, they have slowly integrated into our society.

I’ve met ranch workers who take every chance to practice their English, encountered Mexican children who idolize Barry Bonds and Neil Young and seen the American flag waving from the porches of Mexican households. I’d argue that the individualism, resourcefulness and hard work Mexican immigrants have continuously shown embody some of the most important American ideals. In this way Mexican immigration is a rejuvenation of the American spirit.

I similarly take issue with the idea that illegal immigration is greatly increasing unemployment. These immigrants are competing for low-skilled jobs that only a small number of American citizens are looking to occupy. For the most part, Mexican labor complements the higher-skilled service and manufacturing jobs Americans pursue. As our native labor force continues to decline with the flattening of birthrates, the importance of Mexican labor will only increase.

The most compelling argument of the anti-immigration movement is that illegal immigrants drain many of our resources. This occurs as illegal immigrants use our public schools and health systems without paying proper tax requirements. The solution is not to pursue some major crackdown on illegal immigration, but to expand legal immigration to those that are most needed. Today roughly one million immigrants are admitted to the U.S. annually. Of these million, 43 percent are admitted due to family-based preferences of American citizens, according to Perhaps expanding employment-based immigration would stem the adverse effects of illegal immigration and allow immigrants to continue playing their vital role within the U.S.

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