Immigration reform is a divisive topic, and most individuals already have strong, established thoughts on the matter. Whatever your ethical stance is on the matter; delving into the effects on the country’s economic perspective is required. Immigration is meticulously associated with the U.S. economy and global competitiveness, and humanitarian efforts. Companies established in the U.S. that prevent immigrants from working in waste millions of dollars and jeopardize economic growth. Immigration and employment legalities are a crucial component of the economic arena. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that,
“immigrants – both documented and undocumented – made up 16.9 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2016, up from 13.3 percent in 2000. The unemployment rate for foreign-born persons in the United States was 4.3 percent in 2016, down from 4.9 percent in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate of native-born persons fell to 5.0 percent in 2016 from 5.4 percent in the prior year. (Bernstein & Chapman,2016, para. 5)
The current US Administration has moved to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This act grants protection from deportation and authorization to work to the ‘Dreamers’ entering the U.S. without documentation. The act has been buffered temporarily allowing immigrants to work in the United States legitimately. This means that immigrants remain at risk of deportation if immigration agents find them. The move meant that the immigrants often called “Dreamers” could remain in legal a crossroad until Congress acts to make their status permanent.
In addition, “two-thirds (67 percent) of immigrants 16 and older were in the labor force. Foreign-born households had a median income of about $46,000, but about one-in-five immigrant families (19 percent) were in poverty. About one-third (34 percent) had no health insurance coverage” per the US Census Bureau. (US Census Bureau, 2016, p. 26)
The Origin of the Issue of Immigration
The United States has been the “prime destination for immigrants since at least 1960, with one-fifth of the world’s migrants living here as of 2017” per Migration Policy Institute. Regardless of this country’s history of immigration, the United States has wavered between viewing immigration as a treasured resource and as a considerable dilemma. This ethical dilemma shows no signs of stopping. Particularly due to the recent events of the US Administration Immigration Reform Act and President Trump continuing to stand by his campaign pledge of building a wall along the US border with Mexico. According to an article by Alexa Lardieri, “Thirty-two percent of Americans believe legal immigration into the United States should increase, compared to 24 percent who believe it should decrease.” (Lardieri, 2018, para. 1)
Additionally, according to Lardieri the, “U.S. support for increasing legal immigration has increased 22 percentage points from 10 to 32 percent since 2001. However, about twice as many Republicans than Democrats are in favor of reducing legal immigration – 33 percent compared to 16 percent.” (Lardieri, 2018, para. 5)
Immigration has always been a topic regarding US government and economic health. Unfortunately, due to some recent activity this policy has become an epidemic. A few months past, the US government separated families seeking refuge in America when coming through the border illegally. Parents/guardians were being separated from their children — the children were considered “unaccompanied minors,” and sent to government custody or foster care, and the parents were considered criminals. Thousands of children were torn apart from their parents. This action on government was a clear ethical dilemma and an inexcusable atrocity.
The Ethical Issue Dilemma
Global migration is no small-scale issue. The United States occupies immigrants more than any other country. “More than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2016 per the U.S. Census Bureau. The immigrant population is population is very diverse, with almost every nationality in the world represented amongst America. Fine and Ypi stated, “closed borders constrain economic activity, restrict the free exchange of ideas, and prevent people from acquiring important information with which they can hold their governments to account.” (Fine a Ypi, p. 36)
Immigration impacts the United States on so many facets. “More than 43.7 million immigrants resided in the United States in 2016, accounting for 13.5 percent of the total U.S. population of 323.1 million, between 2015 and 2016, the foreign-born population increased by about 449,000, or 1 percent, a rate slower than the 2.1 percent growth experienced between 2014 and 2015. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 86.4 million people, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population”, according to the 2017 Current Population Survey (CPS). Immigration restrictions restrict constitutional liberties. The restrictions on immigration stop individuals and families from successful acclimated to the country and progress to citizenship.
This current ethical issue is relevant to my place of employment. I’m employed at the NYC Small Business Services in the M/WBE department. This program is specifically for women and minority business owners or individuals looking for employment and/or education. Working closely with immigrant and/or women business owners or immigrant and/or women looking for employment I know firsthand the impact that Immigration Reform has on these individuals, and it is heart-breaking. Most of these individuals are frightened beyond compare and are extremely hesitant to even walk through the doors of the office because of the fear of being deported. The ethical dilemma of immigration is a vital component of my daily work activities. This dominant paradigm is constructing a heightened awareness of creating shared wealth and value for society; cultivating the health and well-being of people, the community and the economy.
The primary emphasis on ethics regarding my place of employment is to provide just employment for employees as well as reasonable business practices for employees include equal pay and living wage compensation. Ethical labor practices have been in question for decades. However, there are companies that ensure ethical business practices, for example, Starbucks has ensured 100 percent equal pay for all genders and races working for their company. This is commendable knowing the unfair/unjust wage dilemma based on documented and undocumented individuals. It’s important to recognize and celebrate all ethnicities and walks of life in businesses, both to encourage their work and to show how they can successfully incorporate sound ethical principles in their business. Ensuring equality for documented and undocumented immigrants takes vigilance and dedication but pays off because of the message it sends to all individuals living in the US that you can still have the American Dream.
Cultural Shift, Spiritual Approach and Social Evaluation of Immigration
Cultural Shifts over Time to the Public Perception of this Issue
Immigration always has been debatable in the United States. We are a land built by immigrants. Sequential patterns of immigrants have upheld this country and maintained its sustainably and have enriched this soil with several seeds of cultures. As the self-styled ‘melting pot’ of the world, the United States is known as the defender of racial and cultural diversity. However, of economic uncertainty and social climate has increased the complexity of the American ideal regarding immigration. Immigration laws serve a very powerful function in how we represent this as a nation. The recent shift in immigration reform has generated a strong surge of racial anxiety that insinuates that people will not be allowed to assimilate to America. America was built and formed through immigrants from across the globe and the flexibility of the ‘open borders’ is what the American Dream is based upon. The fluidity of human capital, as well as religion, are the prime pillars of America. The pillar of religion is a crucial component in the immigration model, for example, the motto of America is ‘In God, We Trust” and is etched in all US currency. Per an article by Joe Norman, “during the ﬁrst century of European settlement in the New World, many people came to North America in search of greater religious freedom. Today, those who migrate to the United States follow more faiths than early colonizers ever imagined existed.” (Norman, 2011 p. 48)
Scriptural Approaches are Applicable/Helpful When Addressing this Issue
There are several exemplars in the bible that reference the concept of immigrants and migration. The Israelites could not oppress a stranger in the land (Ex. 22:1-2, KJV). The Israelites were reminded that God brings justice for the orphan and the widow while He gives food and clothing to the stranger (Ps. 146:9, KJV) and there was a command to the Israelites to love foreigners because they were once strangers in the land of Egypt (Deut. 10:19, KJV). One might be drawn from the scriptures in the Old Testament that the government should allow illegal immigrants to be able to stay and obtain equal benefits within the country. If God told Israel to show forth love for the foreigner, with assurance US should follow the same guideline/principle. As stated previously, one of the fundamental pillars of America is religious excellence. However, spiritual excellence and standard are left to interpretation, and one must be careful, especially when referencing the Old Testament text. The scriptural approach/example that is most applicable to immigration is the story of Abraham. In Genesis 12, the scripture states,
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1, KJV)
Abraham had the courage and willingness to leave his home in the promise of a better life for his family and the generations thereafter. He was called to go to a land which God would show him. The Lord assured Abram that he would be blessed. When God called, Abram obeyed. He left with his wife, Lot, and all their belongings. This occurred when Abraham was seventy-five years old. This took great valor because he did not know where he was going. The text states that Abraham and his family left Ur “to enter the land of Canaan” (Genesis 11:31, KJV), but there is no indication that Abraham had any familiarity with the land. There are undeniably lessons to be unveiled from this passage of scripture regarding Abraham. This is the same reason why individuals from other countries pursue to live in the US. They’re in the pursuit of the American Dream and to build a legacy for their family. Abraham was willing to leave what was comfortable for something that was unknown but undoubtedly better, similarly as some immigrants do. The primary difference is that most immigrants are fleeing poverty in hopes of a promising future in America.
Social Issues That Must be Considered When Evaluating This Issue
Recent theories of how immigrants progress in the United States draw primarily upon models of resource utilization reports from the government. Amplified application of immigration laws and the evolution of the detention centers have led to a lot of human rights violations with answers as to why these actions are being administered. For example, per an article from the Unitarian Universalist Association, “immigrants in the U.S. detention system are not afforded the same due process rights as U.S. citizens, leading to unnecessarily lengthy detentions, resulting in larger profits for the prison industry.” (UUA, 2016, para. 9) Also, according to the American Immigration Council, “due process allows people to exercise the legal rights and court processes afforded to them by American law, and it allows them to contest an action proposed by the government in front of a neutral decision maker, like a judge.” Additionally, this article states that “courts have consistently held that anyone in the United States is protected by the Constitution’s right to due process, even if they illegally entered the country”. However, the due process is deemed to be ‘due’ depending on the situation, which lives a large area of grey overflowing with uncertainty.
Furthermore, these holding centers are not regulated and extremely congested with immigrants. Vital requirements, like medical attention, are frequently denied, while adequate and humane measures are ignored. The detention centers resemble prisons in many cases are located within a correctional facility. Also, until you are released on bond, ‘reasonable supervision’ or are granted the right to remain lawfully in the U.S., you may not know for how long you will be detained. Per the US Census Bureau, “there are nearly 200 immigration detention facilities in the United States, usually located far from major cities. Some house several thousand detainees at any one time, mixing aliens who have criminal records with others who don’t.” (US Census Bureau. (2016, p. 11).
Several undocumented immigrants live in continuous distress of deportation. This affects their use of educational opportunities and their will to interact with society at large. This way of life eats away at trust between immigrants and the community, resulting in racial profiling. Deportation results in ruined dreams and can construe the origin of the American Dream to the American Nightmare. The apparent and created threat of those who are different has led some individuals to meet immigrants with fear. Fear has become a social and political element etched in the immigration process and labeled an immigrant is somehow taboo, and one is a criminal – illegally residing in this country. Thus, immigrants are operating in this country under invalid and unsubstantiated scrutiny. Immigration is not diminishing the value of the American experience; it is a fundamental part of what bonds this country and that needs to be embraced.
Perspective on Immigration Reform
There is certainly not a one-stop remedy/prescription for immigration reform. This issue has increased an existing hostile atmosphere for the US and across the globe and intensified racial tension. This subject has elevated racial tension amongst legal and illegal residents. There have been numerous racial acts of violence within the past few months in this country from the massacre in Las Vegas to the shooting in Charleston, SC church. Immigration is a high-level concern particularly due to the recent election a few days ago.
The Paradox Between the Role of Community, the Nature of Freedom and the Conscience
Freedom, diversity, and individualism are all components of a community. The topic of the community can be explored by region. Communities emerge by individuals with similar language, culture and economic, and social ideals. A positive or progressive community is developed by individuals coming together for the greater good. The issue develops regarding the approach of the set goal, for example, some parties may want to take a deontological approach or a consequentialist approach regarding immigration reform.
Difference makes the difference. The freedom of choosing a process can create division in any community. Like a snowflake; there aren’t any two individuals exactly alike (even twins). Therefore, the American asset of freedom is necessary to initiate and resolve conflicting ideals and is necessary for improvement. Freedom evokes revolution and sometimes combats existing laws. Conflict is necessary for change and might result in war, for example, the American Revolution and the Civil War.
Facing Negative Consequences for the Position Taken
There are consequences to any action taken on a position that deemed justifiable. The current legislation governs the current immigration reformation policy under the current population statistics in the US. The opinion of having the US borders to remain open is one that seems fair and humane. There are several ways that the government can assist in making the citizenship process faster. One idea is that legislation can implement a mandatory working visa policy in which all companies must hire a percentage of current illegally residing immigrants. The mandatory hiring policy will be assessed by the capacity of the business, for example, a start-up company would be mandated to hire 1 – 3 individuals and a company like Google would need to hire a minimum of 50 individuals. The proposed policy will create huge controversy and debate. However, the feedback should be strongly considered and acknowledged but the act should be implemented.
Remaining Questions/Concerns Needed to Develop a Robust Immigration Reform Policy
Taking a retrospective approach to American history would be necessary in developing a robust immigration reformation policy. Essentially, it will assist in concluding a revised immigration reformation policy that will adhere to the origin of American rights once an immigrant lands on US ground. Handling remaining questions/concerns need careful processing and assessment.
Finances, family and being the favored of God establishes focus and balances the liberties in life. Free to be who you want to be, being proud of your nationality and free to migrate to the US is what this country was prized for. The recent legislation has disrupted the premise of the founding fathers of this country’s core values. Finances and family are an enormous factor in the motivation for immigrants to journey to the US. Additionally, as Believers we are the favored of God, Proverbs 3: – 6 states, “so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (KJV)
The evolution of life and society permits one to be in an ever-present work in progress and helps other and the community grows at the same time. The implementation of individuals migrating to the US is a prime example of individuals unapologetically accepting a life of growth and improvement. While waiting and watching the plan set out for their life; they must consistently remind themselves of the America promise: “freedom and justice for all”. America is the modern day ‘promised land’ for most immigrants desperate for refuge. Immigration is a capacity building requirement for the success in America’s sustainability. The more this policy is crafted and development in the favor of immigration, the stronger the country will become.