Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Timothy Richmond (Craigmont High School)
It was reported by the Migration Policy Institute that in 2012, over 40.8 million immigrants entered the United States. Among these immigrants were illegal and legal immigrants, and the majority of these were from Latin America. With such a large influx of people, it has led some to believe that the US has an immigration crisis. Immigration is defined as “migration into one place” and the USA has been one of the most promising and desirable countries to live for a long time. Nearly half of the 12-million-plus illegal immigrants in America arrived legally with temporary non-immigrant visas. Among states, California and New York holds 32.9 percent of illegal immigrants, according to the Center for Immigration Studies Is the immigration issue over exaggerated, or are we really on the brink of an immigration crisis as some critics suggest?
During the summer, thousands of unaccompanied Mexican and Central American children arrived at the US-Mexico border, seeking asylum. Authorities estimate between 60,000 and 80,000 unaccompanied child migrants have crossed the US-Mexico border in nine months, but why are the numbers so high? Two Craigmont High School teacher weighed in.
David Pickle, historian at Craigmont High School, argued, “We don’t know enough about it, to say if it is a humanitarian crisis. Apparently they were seeking protection from violence, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a humanitarian crisis.”
Optional coordinator and historian, James Moseley disagrees with Pickle and believes that this is indeed a humanitarian crisis. “The President believes that this is a humanitarian crisis, but if these immigrants were adults, would it be a humanitarian crisis. What is the best solution for these children, deportation to their families or amnesty?”
President Barack Obama had a lot of weight in his shoulders this summer, because Congress could not agree on what was the best way to deal with immigration and the “Honduran exodus.” He had to take full responsibility and act alone, using executive orders to get the job done. He is considering offering refuge to these children and others believe that he might grant all other immigrants amnesty.
Moseley said that he believes that the President made the correct decision and that it is the solution to this immigration crisis. On the other hand, Pickle argued that he made the wrong decision and explained why.
“The executive order only lasts as long as the President is in term, it is temporary. Other Presidents have used the executive order,” Pickle said. “Some aspects or instances when it was unconstitutional. Other Presidents have done so. When an executive order is considered unconstitutional, it is almost always overturned by the Supreme Court.”
It is all well and good to criticize the policy and Executive order, but there seem to be no alternatives offered. “I would grant the immigrants that are already here amnesty, but as long as we have jobs, then they should be allowed to do cheap labor,” said Moseley.
Pickle contended, “I would ensure that we actually enforce laws, build a security wall across entire US-Mexico border. Also involve the National Guard in protection and seek out illegals and deport them all.”
Will immigration reform work? “We as a country have to decide if we are going to live up to our ideas or not.” Moseley replied. “Aren’t we all immigrants?
Even though immigration has always been a problem, there has never been a successful attempt at reform, the results of (an immigration law enforcement initiative in 1954) were only short term and didn’t fix the issue at all.”
“Immigration depends on what reform is. It is a short term solution, but does not stop massive amounts of immigrants and the overall problem,” said Pickle.
It has been said that the root of all our problems is the US-Mexico border. The border is nearly as old as the country itself and the passage into the Land of the Free for Latin Americans. However, if it is so important to the nation, then it is argued that it should be highly protected and secure, to stop any immediate threats. Both Moseley and Pickle agreed that it is neither protected, nor secure, enough and is possibly even more vulnerable than at any time before.
“The border is not as secure as you believe. Only 10 percent of cargo is scanned and it vulnerable. There are no immediate threats yet,” said Moseley. “We have over 20 million illegal immigrants here and over three million annually. The border is so open that potential terrorist can enter the country as the drug cartels have been doing. It is a national security threat. Immigrants eat up tax dollars and pay no taxes. Immigration is an ongoing threat,” Pickle said. It is common knowledge how weak the border is and it is a problem that should be fixed because of potential threats.
If the US is to deal with the issue at hand however, what would work? More legislation (which can be time-consuming) or physical presence at the border?
“Current legislation needs reevaluation and we need more funding in order for that legislation to be enforced. If the Congress deems it necessary to put the National Guard on the border, we should,” responded Moseley. “We’ve never spent the time or money to fund the legislation, which is why we should do both. If needed, border patrol should be increased, especially if current patrol is not enough.” Pickle said.
Together as a nation, the United States has to decide what is best for this country. The most effective decisions are those that everyone can agree on.