October 10, 2011
Crossing the Line
The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 6-7 million unauthorized migrants have come to the United States via illegal entry (Passel 1). The current immigration policy is extremely ineffective at keeping order of who is allowed to enter the country, for how long someone can stay, and taking care of those seeking refuge. This lack of efficiency is causing numerous problems for society in the U.S. as well as violating the illegal immigrants’ natural human rights. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 is what the current Federal Immigration policy is based on. It replaced the Immigration Act based on quotas for different origins, with a preference system that focuses on Immigrants skills and family relationships with citizens of the U.S. and replaced the term entry with admission which changed the view of immigration in the United States (Immigration | LII 1).
The first question that comes to my mind when thinking of our federal policy on border enforcement is “how are illegal immigrants getting through in the first place and how are visa holders managing to stay well beyond their visa’s allowance?” Some principles that are currently governing our border enforcement are; Illegal entry, deportation, and agencies like the CBP. Illegal entry is the act of any non-citizen of a country who crosses that country’s border against the laws of the country entered. Many people use “coyotes” to sneak across the borders where others partake in long dangerous hikes such as through the arid dessert of northern Mexico. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, deportation is the removal from a country of an alien whose presence is unlawful or prejudicial (Merriam-Webster 1). Those caught at the border are arrested and held in detention centers until they are identified. After they are identified they are deported home. CBP is part of the Department of Homeland Security with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws (CBP Spotlight 1). With all of these different agencies such as the CBP and different areas of illegal immigration, the United States is failing at protecting it's borders. The current federal border enforcement effort is ineffective at securing our borders, providing safety for all of whom are concerned and abiding by human rights for all humans.
According to the legal information institute of Cornell, the current Federal immigration law determines whether a person is an alien, and their rights, duties, and obligations associated with being an alien in the United States, as well as how aliens gain residence or citizenship within the United States. It also provides the means by which certain aliens can become legally naturalized citizens with full rights of citizenship (Immigration | LII 1). Congress is in complete control the legal aspect of immigration and the President has no power unless it concerns the refugee policy. In highly populated areas near the border there are the border patrol or CBP to enforce the laws as well as interpret them. Some one out of all of these required organizations is not doing their job or is not communicating with the other ones.
This becomes apparent because multiple issues are happening in our country due to illegal immigration. Some people might say positive things about illegal immigration such as it broadens are culture and economy. However, there are many less pros affiliated with illegal immigration than cons. Problems such as drug trafficking, loss of lower class work, terrorism, and issues with captured illegals, all have weakened our national security. Drug trafficking occurs every day at the U.S./Mexico border. The U.S. approximately seized 1,626 metric tons of