Policy Goals In America

Submitted By pokergod7479
Words: 3438
Pages: 14

Contradictory Policy Goals in America

On September 11th, 2001 a terrorist act was committed on U.S. soil. This event has shaped our country in more ways than one, but the often-overlooked consequence is how it has changed the lives of people in countries thousands of miles away. The global climate about national security has changed in such a massive way that it now reaches into nearly every part of our government as well seemingly unrelated parts of foreign nations policy. One can look to 9/11 as a tipping point and a catalyst to these changes, and the question now becomes how to better understand and deal with the issue of security without jeopardizing our other interests or losing sight of the ideals America was founded on. Focusing on immigration, a key part of the changes engendered by the shift towards national security, my goal is to link the character of Tarek, from the movie “The Visitor”, into our dichotomy between being a safe nation and a true nation for the people, by the people. I want to preface our current situation by acknowledging the fact that the anti-immigration sentiments and even laws are not without precedent. Past laws such as the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, that flatly refused immigrants, and the 1924 National Origins Act, which restricted immigration into national quotas, are certainly part of our history and illustrate the progress we have made today (Lecture, 1/13/10). Large steps have been made since that time in terms of better inclusion and with more adherence to human rights, and the issues of today are much more nuanced and complicated than the simple outlawing of a certain people. We have in no way solved how to handle immigration but looking back in history shows that progress on an issue as large as the one at hand not only takes time, but often occurs as a halting march where it takes two steps backward and three forward to accomplish anything. Recent restrictions to immigration range far and wide. Some are focused at the geographical borders and others affect the large population centers far away from border crossing and customs agents. The laws pertinent to the discussion of Tarek’s situation are those that are in affect inside the country. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, the Immigration and Naturalization Service becoming the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the subsequent conscription of local law enforcement through 287g agreements with the Department of Justice form the changes that enabled police to stop Tarek in the subway for no apparent reason (Lecture, 3/1/10). The IIRAIRA act first introduced the concept of using means other than federal agents to police illegal immigration and the gray areas that occur in the immigration process. The INS turning over immigration control over to a new organization dubbed ICE is not in itself a red herring, but the name change certainly suggest a harder line towards immigration and the timing alludes to anti-terror efforts. Looking at the ICE mission statement confirms this. The ICE government website reads, “Formed in 2003 as part of the federal government's response to the 9/11 attacks, ICE's mission is to protect the security of the American people and homeland by vigilantly enforcing the nation's immigration and customs laws ("U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement"). 287g agreements are important in this discussion largely because of the increase of affected areas. As of August 2008, 63 localities and over 800 officers have become able to actively search and arrest persons suspected of having illegal status (Lecture, 3/1/10). Without these changes, Tarek’s experience would have so strikingly different that “The Visitor” would no longer be a story of a deported man, but simply one of young man full of life giving a gift of music to an older man who has lost touch with the world. In the scene where Tarek is arrested, he is wrongly accused of not paying for his