The Issue of Immigration

- This page was created partly by materials developed by students at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts.

Follow these steps to participate!


1. Read about immigration policy at a web page created by three students at Noble and Greenough.

2. Watch the videos below of McCain and Obama discussing their views on immigration.

3. Review the strengths and weaknesses of candidate positions on the issue as outlined by Laura, a tenth-grade student from Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts.

4. Discuss the issue at our Great Debate of 2008 in our online social network.

5. Vote in our online poll whether Obama or McCain has better ideas for dealing with immigration challenges facing the United States.

6. Contribute additional information and resources to this wiki page.

Through the security across the US border, illegal immigrants have been deviously slipping through into American territory. The effect of this crime has put a drain in public funding as well as many blue collar jobs have been relinquished to the illegal immigrants leaving the American workers jobless. Another contribution from illegally citizens is the increase in population of USA. A question that might wander through your mind is what will the candidates do about immigration when they arrive in office, and do they have a plan to end this invasion? Barak Obama plans for immigration is simple and crisp. He believes that we must secure borders, improve our immigration system, remove incentives to enter illegal, and bring people out of the shadow. He also believe in working with Mexico to jointly solve this issue. In the other hand McCain’s plan is a little more complex. Similar to Obama, he believes that setting boundaries is vital, both physical and virtual. His plan includes funding resources for ground and training facilities, as well as funding the US attorney’s building which is settled on the border. Another aspect of his plan is to continue “implementation of the US-VISIT comprehension visitor security program.”

Videos:

Barack Obama on Immigration:

Senator McCain and Senator Obama both have different opinions on immigration. They also have similar ideas. Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama would like to secure our borders. They both believe that securing the border is their first priority. Both the senators think that we should have more officers on the border. They also want to have better technology that would help make sure that the immigrants that cross the border are American citizens. McCain and Obama also state that they would like to make sure that American employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
Obama says that this will remove the desire to get into America so they can have a job illegally. McCain also claims that government agencies have to improve their technology to make sure that they have the right information about people. Obama supports and signed the legalization for illegal immigrants to make them learn English and pay fines and taxes. Senator McCain and Senator Obama both have different opinions on immigration. They also have similar ideas. Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama would like to secure our borders. They both believe that securing the border is their first priority. Both the senators think that we should have more officers on the border. They also want to have better technology that would help make sure that the immigrants that cross the border are American citizens. McCain and Obama also state that they would like to make sure that American employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
Obama says that this will remove the desire to get into America so they can have a job illegally. McCain also claims that government agencies have to improve their technology to make sure that they have the right information about people. Obama supports and signed the legalization for illegal immigrants to make them learn English and pay fines and taxes.

John McCain on Immigration:


Strengths and weaknesses of candidate positions according to Laura, a tenth grade student from Massachusetts


Barack Obama:

1. neutral - Barack Obama voted for the Secure Fence Act in 2006, but now criticizes the execution of the fence saying that the local communities should be consulted before such a barrier is created.
a. Strength - He supports a definitive end to illegal immigration, important to many Americans, but he also keeps the support of the Hispanic vote by mediating his position. By advocating the consulting of local communities, he can be in support of increased security without losing any votes.
b. Weakness - There is consistent and increasing controversy in regards to the fence, and having voted for it could weaken his current, more mediated approach.
2. Guest Worker Program- Barack Obama is in favor of a guest worker program, which he says will increase wages and conditions for all workers.
a. Strength - There is a need for immigrant workers in the current economy, and the guest worker program acknowledges how the economy depends on their labor. He also supports a path to citizenship for these guest workers, and thus the guest worker program becomes unto itself a viable path towards citizenship.
b. Weakness - The worry of many workers, with any influx of immigrants, is a decrease in wages and in the standards of working conditions. Through history the United States has tried to limit these effects of immigration. Some are concerned that the Guest Worker Program would only create less prosperity among native Americans.
3. Legalization - Barack Obama believes in a path to citizenship for immigrants with a penalty, and certain standards.
a. Strength - Like the Guest Worker Program this position acknowledges the need for immigrants in the current economy, and provides incentives for immigrants to become document citizens. By providing a legal path towards citizenship, more immigrants will become citizens and thus the government will have a firmer grasp on the numbers of immigrants.
b. Weakness - Many would call this program amnesty and say that this program is unfair to legal immgrants, current workers, and makes illegal immigration more attractive to prospective immigrants. Because it allows current illegal aliens to stay and begin to participate in American society, even with a penalty, the consequences could include increased immigration. (To counteract this Barack Obama calls for increased security and working with countries)

John McCain
1. neutral - Mccain voted yes for the Secure Fence Act in 2006.
a. Strength - McCain wishes to tighten border security as well as building a the fence. However, he recognizes that Hispanics play a large and much needed role in todays economy. He believes that the jobs Americans refuse to take should, in fact, go to immigrants. Voters should be happy that Mccain recognizes the role of Hispanics, while at the same time recognizing that legal Americans are more important to this country.
b. Weakness - Americans are upset that their jobs are being taken by immigrants. Mccain’s proposal of giving the jobs Americans do not want to immigrants, do not take into account that while most Americans may refuse to take those jobs, some need them to survive. Mccain’s plan to tighten border security and build the fence may be appreciated in the North and Northeast, but much of the Southern and Southeastern economy depends on tourism from Mexico. McCain’s proposals seem to only take one side of this problem into account
2. Guest Worker Program - McCain voted yes on establishing the guest worker program in 2006. However, Mccain is now saying that guest workers may only enter into American once the border is properly secured and patrolled.
a. Strength - McCain is attempting to help the American economy by only allowing a specific number of immigrants to find jobs in the US. This will create more opportunities for Americans and hopefully begin the processes of recovering the US economy.
b. Weakness - Supporting the guest worker program means supporting the snatching of American jobs by immigrants. Mccain is trying to appeal to the masses by saying that he will only allow for a small number of guest workers to enter, but many people see the guest worker program as an excuse for cheap labor and high prices. Because of this, Mccain’s proposals regarding the economy may go overlooked.
3. Legalization - Believes everyone should have a chance to come to America. Mccain originally supported a bill to give illegal immigrants a clear path to citizenship, but he no longer supports that bill.
a. Strength - McCain is popular with those who support tightening border security because he believes illegal immigrants need to earn their citizenship for breaking American laws. McCain says he does not believe in amnesty and wishes to deport 2 million .
b. Weakness - McCain is not gaining much support from the Hispanic community by saying that he does not believe the illegal immigrants in America today deserve to be given citizenship. His legalization proposals seem stricter than both Obama and Clinton’s and may be hurting him with the Southern voters.


What is the Secure Fence Act and do Americans think it is beneficial or negative towards
limiting the entrance of illegal immigrants into the United States of America?

The Senate and the House of Representatives of the U.S enacted the Secure Fence Act on October 26, 2006. By enacting the Secure Fence Act the government set out to build 700 miles of twelve-foot high, double- reinforced, chain-link fence across cities and deserts between California and Texas to block Mexico from the United States of America. The government aspired to build this fence in areas that have been prone to illegal drug trafficking and illegal immigration to try to protect America from illegal immigrants. The fence costs roughly 1 million dollars per mile. That is 700 million dollars in total. The fence is this expensive because the bill authorized the installation of more lighting, vehicle barriers and border checkpoints, while putting in place more advanced equipment like sensors, cameras as an attempt to watch and control illegal immigration into the United States . It has been said in recent interviews including some with CNN, a online news-cast center, that many Americans who thought the Secure Fence Act was something that was supposed to help stop the entrance of illegal immigrants, know think that it has not been beneficial, but has been a waste of money and time.
Ciro Rodriguez, a Texan Democrat stated, “ We want to secure our borders, but we can’t wall ourselves off from Mexico.” A Texan Republican, Martin Hagne Harlingen, stated, “ The ‘Fence’ is to protect the areas between the bridges that used to separate the two countries. There are only certain areas where undocumented workers, and drug smugglers cross the Rio Grande. The Border Patrol knows where these places are, and if they had enough personnel they could stop the crossings. I drove my camper across these check points several times without ever being questioned or searched. Why? Because the Border Patrol does not have enough personnel to run these check points. What was the point of wasting millions of dollars if the Patrol isn’t even going to protect America from illegal immigrants?”
Other Americans thought this was beneficial towards eliminating the entrance of illegal immigrants. An example of this is the President of the United States of America, George Bush, who signed the bill that enacted the Secure Fence Act, he stated, “The Secure Fence Act is part of our efforts to reform our immigration system. We have more to do. Meaningful immigration reforms means that we must enforce our immigration laws in the United States”. Will this fence protect America? America will have to wait and see.

Bibliography:

“ Fact sheet: Secure Fence Act of 2006” Retrieved on 10/20/08
HYPERLINK "http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061026-1.html" http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061026-1.html

“Americans for more border cops, not a fence.” Retrieved on 10/ 22/ 08 HYPERLINK "http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/24/immigration.poll/index.html?eref=rss_us" http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/24/immigration.poll/index.html?eref=rss_us

Time Magazine. Drehle D. The Great wall of America, June 30 2008.






Background LAWS AND statistics
Laws passed in 1903 and 1907 made it harder for immigrants to enter America from Mexico. The Alien Registration Act of 1940 and the Passage of the Internal Security Act required that non-U.S. citizens have green cards. Today's immigration system was established with the 1952 Act. In 2003, the USCIS was created. Its function is to handle U.S. immigration services and benefits.

· The US admits about 660,000 legal immigrants per year (1998 figures).
· About 5 million illegal aliens reside in the US (1996 figures).
· the illegal alien population is growing by about 275,000 each year.
· The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) runs the Border Patrol as well as interior enforcement.

OBAMA’S IMMIGRATION BELIEFS/PLAN

- Obama believes the immigration issue has been exploited by politicians to divide the nation rather than find real solutions.
o This divisiveness has allowed the illegal immigration problem to worsen, with borders that are less secure than ever and an economy that depends on millions of workers living in the shadows.

Steps Obama wants to take to help immigration- especially with southern border Mexico
· Wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.

· Believe we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.

· Will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

· Support a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.
· Believe we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.
Obama’s Record on past works about immigration
  • Championed a proposal to create a system so employers can verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S.
o Introduced amendments to put greater emphasis on keeping immigrant families together.
  • Encourage every student to learn a second language. (Feb 2008)
  • Extend welfare and Medicaid to immigrants. (Jul 1998)
  • Increasing the legal fees on immigrants is not helping. (Feb 2008)
  • Let's be a nation of laws AND a nation of immigrants. (Aug 2007)
  • Deporting 12 million people is ridiculous and impractical. (Feb 2008)
  • Solve the driver's license issue with immigration reform. (Jan 2008)
  • Immigrants are scapegoats for high unemployment rates. (Jan 2008)
  • Support the DREAM Act for the children of illegal immigrants. (Jan 2008)
  • Health plan: not enough resources for illegal immigrants. (Jan 2008)
  • Illegal immigrants shouldn't work; but should have path to citizenship. (Dec 2007)
  • Don't deputize Americans to turn in illegal immigrants. (Dec 2007)
  • Support granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. (Nov 2007)
  • Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)
  • Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program. (May 2006)


YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Dem debate- hil, Barak
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inZjyW_F7YE&feature=related
Ohama immigration 1 minute
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxN57YeDD-Q&feature=related
Obama calls for immigration reform
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM6q-E4rThA


John McCain immigration plan:

John McCain believes the U.S.A.'s immigration system is broken. He has created a two-step process to reform.
o His top priority is securing the borders.
· His goals are to:
      • Ensure that funding is provided for resources on the ground, training facilities, support staff, and ready military force of technical knowledge.

      • Dedicating funding to US Attorney’s offices in Border States.
      • Requirement policies for contracting Department of Homeland Security software and infrastructure.
      • Castigate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and other aircraft where needed in the border region.
      • Continue implementation of the US-VISIT comprehensive visitor security program.
· Once borders are secure, McCain plans to require an Electronic Employment Verification System.
· This system will ensure that individuals are screened for work eligibility in a real-time fashion. It will identify and aggressively prosecute employers that continue to hire illegal immigrants.
· He plans to meet America's labor needs with temporary worker programs that will reflect the labor needs of the U.S.A.

WHAT McCain HAS SUPPORTED/ STATED
  • Illegal immigrants are God's children as well. (Nov 2007)
  • Deport 2 million illegal immigrants who committed crimes. (Jan 2008)
  • Would no longer stand by own 2006 immigration proposal. (Jan 2008)
  • Do everything I can to help all immigrants learn English. (Dec 2007)
  • No official English; Native Americans use own languages. (Jun 2007) Change rule barring immigrants from running for president. (May 2007) Make possible for immigrants to do a job Americans won't do. (Oct 2004) -More help for legal immigrants when immigrating & once here. (Jul 1998)

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8WNuoKxr3w


Once McCain started his running for president he no longer supports his own bill on immigration
Obama talking about McCain’s flip flop
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRCjN3wZ48Y&feature=related
McCain: I wouldn't sign my own immigration bill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M34KKaczvKg&feature=related


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