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Immigraton in the U.S.
While immigration has played an important role in the building
and formation of America, new federal laws have resulted in mass
immigration. Throughout history, Congress has enacted laws and has
had to amend them to control the flow of both legal and illegal
migration to the United States.
In 1948, legislation was first enacted in an effort to control the
number of applicants fleeing persecution; it permitted 205,000
refugees to enter the United States. In 1952, Congress set in place
major regulations setting parameters and quotas mostly for the
eastern hemisphere and leaving the western hemisphere unrestricted.
In 1953, congress was again faced with having to increase the
number of refugees from 205,000 to 415,000. In order to qualify as a
refugee one must have a well founded fear of persecution, not be
firmly resettled in a third country, and must not be an aggravated
felon. In 1965, the national origin?s quota system was abolished but
still maintained was the principle of numerical by establishing
170,000 hemispheric and 20,000 per country ceilings and a seven
category preference system. This system included the spouses of
lawful resident aliens, brother and sisters of United States citizens,
skilled and unskilled workers. To present date spouses and minor
children of US citizens are exempt any quota system. In 1980, the
refugee act removed them from the preference category and
established clear criteria and procedures for their admission. In
1986, Congress was faced with yet another national crisis which it
attempted to resolve by enacting the Immigration Reform and Control
Act (IRCA). IRCA was considered to be the most comprehensive act
which was to grant amnesty to those who had resided in the US
illegally since January 1, 1982, (2) created sanctions against persons
and companies that hired illegal aliens, (3) created the a new
classification of temporary agriculture and granted amnesty to such
workers, (4) created a new visa waiver pilot program (VWPP) allowing
the admission of certain non-immigrants without visas, (4) created
legislature for conditional status for those couples whose marriage is
less than two years prior to immigrating to the US. Under IRCA 2.7
illegal aliens mostly from Mexico were given legal immigrant status.
These new laws opened the door to the longest and largest wave of
immigration ever-27 million since 1965, including illegal entries.
The visa waiver pilot program (VWPP) is designed to extend
reciprocity to the countries that permit US citizens to visit their
countries without the need of a tourist visa. To date a total of
twenty-nine countries are signatory to the treaty. In order to qualify,
countries must have a low rate of non-immigrant overstays to the US,
and must have state of the art machine readable passports.
Prior to the enactment of IRCA, marriage fraud between
non-citizens and US citizens was rampant and out of control.
Measures were put in place to reduce this by requiring couples to
submit proof to INS. This proof must show that the couple has been
living together and submitted ninety days prior to the second
anniversary. If the couple fails to establish that the marriage is valid,
the non-citizen will not become a lawful permanent resident and will
be faced with and order of deportation. The only exception, is that
the non-citizen cannot be the subject of spousal abuse and be
expected to remain in the marriage for the two years.
After almost thirteen years, Congress and the United States
citizens have had the misfortune of reflecting on the blunders of the
Immigration Reform Act of 1986(IRCA). The amnesty permanently
added millions of poor people to our society. A study done by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) showed that after ten
years in the United States, the average amnestied illegal alien had
only a seventh grade education and an annual salary of less than
$9,000 a year. The cost of amnesty to the American taxpayer is
unbelievable. According to a recent study by the Center for American
studies, the total net cost of amnesty after ten years comes to over
$78 billion dollars. An amnesty sends the message that it?s okay to
break the law. Eventually, it says, you will be forgiven, even
rewarded for doing so. Further-more, it makes a mockery of the legal
immigration process, where-in those who obey the rules, wait years to
immigrate. Their is a list of 3.6 million eligible people waiting to be
admitted as immigrants to our country; some of them have been on
that list for eighteen years. Illegal aliens make a mockery of those
who respect our laws and our country?s sovereignty by waiting for an
opportunity to immigrate.
Again Congress and the American public are faced with a serious
problem–the high number of criminal aliens. Criminal aliens are a
growing threat to public safety and national security, as well as a
drain on our scare criminal justice resources. In 1980, our federal
and state housed fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. By the end of
1994, these same prisons housed over 59,000 criminal aliens. Today,
criminal aliens account for over 25% of federal prison inmates and
represent the fastest growing segment of the federal prison
population. For the first time ever, more that 50,000 criminal aliens
were deported in fiscal year 1997. In fiscal year 1998, the number
jumped by more than 50% to 106,000. According to Immigration
Subcommittee Chairman Congressman Lamar Smith, only a small
percentage of criminals are being deported. Congress in 1996 passed
a law that took effect last October that requires mandatory detention
and deportation of aliens who commit any of a long list of offenses,
regardless of how long ago they occurred. INS is making every effort
to remove the criminal aliens expeditiously but many foreign
countries hinder this process by not issuing the necessary travel
documents in an expedient fashion. This intentional delay affect the
American public, both socially and economically.
Closer to home, Miami?s foreign born population rose, in a ten
year period, by about 28,000 (14.9%) since 1980. During the same
period, the city?s overall population was increasing by about 12,000.
This caused the share of the population that was foreign born to
increase from 53.7% to 59.7%. In contrast, the largest number of
immigrants are of Cuban decent totaling 72,042, Haitians, 29,219,
Jamaicans, 9,887. According to reports by the US Border Patrol, 2,000
Cubans have arrived since October 1, 1998.
Since it?s enactment in 1965, The Cuban Adjustment Act has
fundamentally treated Cuban nationals differently than any other
national. This law provides Cuban nationals a ?safe haven?, no
questions asked, do as you please in America. It is believed that the
Cuban nationals are fleeing a government of persecution, but in my
opinion, they are fleeing a government in economic shambles.
Despite the fact that their country is economically inept they
should be treated as any other person that comes to the country
illegally. Nonetheless, as soon as Cubans set foot on American soil
they are granted with employment authorization, can adjust their
status to lawful permanent status (green card) within a year, can
apply for US citizenship within five years, and government assistance
(welfare). All of these benefits without really knowing about their
backgrounds. For instance, a mass murderer in Cuba could set foot
on US soil and based on a honor system interview conducted by INS,
the person must be admitted.
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