The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Immigration: Why you should care

 Immigration
Immigration

Immigration

Over the last few weeks I have read numerous discussions about prejudice and tolerance in our paper. I am very glad to see the campus engaging in this type of debate, and I would like us to all address another complicated issue: the immigration problem. Yes, it is a problem.

First of all, immigration is a problem for the government. They must address the issue somehow, and there is no simple solution. Closing the border with a 750 mile long wall won’t help them figure out what to do with the 12 million illegal immigrants who already reside here. Making it a felony to be here illegally simply increases the fear that these people already live with every day. They will continue to hide, uncounted, not only from the IRS and FBI, but from adequate medical care and education programs. Making it illegal to assist or employ an illegal alien will cause many of these undocumented workers to lose their jobs. Will they go back to Mexico? Probably not. Likely their children (legal citizens) will struggle to support them, potentially sacrificing their education to get jobs sooner. Meanwhile, the unemployable illegal aliens will sit idle in our country, possibly tempted to turn to crime for money. Granting them citizenship is unfair to the countless immigrants who went through the lengthy legal process of becoming an American. It also encourages people from other countries to come here illegally in the future. The issue is a heated one and the government can’t avoid it. Yet no solution emerges.

Secondly, immigration is a problem for the immigrants. Millions of them live here illegally, in constant fear of being caught and deported. They are generally poor and uneducated, and they come to America seeking jobs and the possibility of wealth. They are breaking the law just by being here. As criminals, simple things like going to work, enrolling their child in school, and going to the doctor are terrifying events. They choose to live in that fear to give themselves and their children opportunities in America. It is a much bigger problem for the immigrants’ children-who often are legal citizens, having been born in America. These children generally speak English, and they have access to education and all the other social benefits of being an American. These children are grateful to their parents who crossed the border to give them these opportunities. They do not see them as criminals or as a threat to the U.S. economy. These individuals act as the liaison between their families and society, constantly interpreting, explaining and protecting. These are the protesters in the streets, and they are large in number.

Finally, immigration is a problem for Americans. Countless U.S. companies and individuals hire immigrants as workers in hotels, construction, restaurants, landscaping, and individual households. Often they are paid in cash, allowing the employee to escape documentation and taxes. The employer avoids health care costs, overtime pay and minimum work hour restrictions. These Americans will face tough decisions if it becomes illegal to employ illegal immigrants. Many companies and families will take a hit financially if they are forced to replace those workers with expensive Americans and their demands. Immigration is also a problem for these Americans-the many poor citizens whose jobs go to even poorer illegal immigrants. It can be argued that illegal workers keep minimum wages low because they are willing to work for even less. If Americans filled all those jobs, they would likely demand better work environments, higher wages, union membership, etc. They would increase the minimum wage, the standard of living, and the economy in this country.

This issue affects each and every American. Immigrants continue to pour over the border. Our tax dollars absorb the millions of added bodies in this country who seek a desk in the classroom, “free” health care clinics, food assistance programs and low-paying jobs. Something must be done, and many potential solutions will be put forward in the coming months and years. We should all stand up, get informed and vote on these important issues.

 

Elizabeth George is a senior finance major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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