The Immigration Problem
The question is have we given up on turning our immigrants into Americans
(Brimelow 30). Undoubtedly, all the hipped-up controversial rhetoric will deter
the immigrant population from becoming legal. It has become such a hassle to go
through the process that many people choose to cross the border without
permission. Before 1960, eighty percent of the immigration to America came from
Europe. Since 1960, however, eighty percent has come from places other than
Europe (Wishard 153). As a result, immigrant laws have become less accepting of
the immigrant community. Long ago, European immigrants were given a job, shelter,
and food. Soon, the new immigrants were granted citizenship and voting
privileges (Hernandez A1). Today, immigrants are lucky to cross the boarder
without being shot–God forbid they become citizens.
Contrary to what many believe, many immigrants are not here to become citizens.
Many wish to stay for a short time and then return to their home. In fact, many
immigrants are reluctant to become legal. Many harbor hopes and dreams of
eventually returning to their friends and family back home. Then there are the
distinct few who do not wish to decide, and would like have “dual citizenship.”
To be loyal to more than one country, to vote in both countries, and to travel
back and forth easily (Limon).
To understand the affects of immigration one must study the state where it is
more rampant. California is a magnet for immigrants. As a result, many claim
that immigrants are a great economic burden. California does, however, benefit
from its porous borders. The succession of immigrant groups has brought the
state unparalleled ethnic diversity (Gerston 9). Besides ethnic diversity,
California has one of the most diverse economies in the world. Despite its
problems, California prevails in agriculture, mining, manufacture,
transportation, communication, electronics, construction, and defense. These
industries contain a high percentage of immigrants. If California were an
independent nation, with a 695.3 billion dollar economy, it would rank eighth in
the world (Gerston 8). California’s dense population is a direct result of
immigration, which accounts for California’s great political and economic
The unregulated movement of goods, services, and people throughout the states is
what makes this country economically stable and productive. NAFTA (North
American Free Trade Agreement) and GATT (General Agreement on Trades and
Tariffs) are examples of successful agreements between neighboring countries.
These agreements have resulted in the unparalleled betterment of the economies
involved. Open markets in banking, insurance, agriculture, telecommunications,
construction, tourism, advertising, etc. are essential to a capitalist economy.
We cannot, in a world economy, close our doors to the rest of the world
(Limbaugh). The Clinton Administration is committed to reducing illegal
immigration, and agreements like NAFTA are critical to that effort (Christopher
Laws do little or nothing to curb the illegal immigration problem. Everyone
claims to be against immigration, but those same people love the low-cost
agricultural products they purchase from the supermarket. No one seems to
protest the inexpensive fruits and vegetables cultivated and grown by
undocumented workers. Politicians who claim to be adamantly against illegal
immigration turn around and hire illegal aliens. Pete Wilson, Dianne Feinstein,
and Michael Huffington have all contributed to the “nannygate” problem. It is
actually no big deal, but it shows how honest and forthright our politicians are.
Everyone contributes to the problem, but no one will face reality. Let’s face it,
we all reep the benefits of illegal immigration. Let’s forget about all the
useless rhetoric, and cut a deal with Mexico and other countries that will
benefit everyone (Olmo B7). If politicians are serious about curbing immigration
they should try to strengthen the world economy. Mexico’s average salary is one-
sixth ours (Gore). Can we expect immigrants to stay out?
Recent, controversial debates have struck a fuse in many Americans. Americans
who have been laid off or who can’t seem to get ahead in our capitalist market
seem to be infuriated by the influx of illegal aliens. They feel that they
cannot compete with low-wage workers. To show for this is the countless anti-
immigrant legislation being proposed to congress. There are grass-roots
initiatives out there proposing to amend the constitution to limit American
citizenship solely to children born of U.S. citizens only (McDonnel A1). A
significant number of people wish to eradicate the rights foreign nationals have
acquired through the years. Americans have proven to be very competitive in the
world market. Especiall those who have a good education.
Many feel that immigrants do not deserve an education because they have not
contributed to the well being of the community. Already, undocumented students
are the least likely to be given financial help, and they are often charged the
highest tuition fees. Under a new court ruling, undocumented Cal State students
will lose access to the system’s grants programs; in addition, they will be
charged out of state fees (Chandler A3). Many will have to drop out. That is
unfortunate because immigrants tend to be better students.
One of the biggest concerns Americans have with immigrants is education. It is a
common and incorrect stereotype to believe that immigrant children bring
substandard skills and poor attitudes to school (Woo A1). People from all over
the world have brought with them their culture and enthusiasm for education.
Prevalent, it is, that many immigrant students, legal or not, have grades
substantially higher than their American counterparts. A new study found that
children of immigrant parents have a greater desire to learn. Their grades are
superior, they score higher on standardized tests and they aspire to college at
a greater rate than their third-generation peers (Woo A1).
While immigrant civil rights groups gain new footing, activist groups are
growing at an unprecedented rate. Many of these groups preach hate and violence.
Bete Hammond from S.T.P.I.T. (Stop The Out-of-control Problems of Immigration
Today) said, “It’s bad enough that we do everything for their citizens when they
come here illegally and break our laws, now they want us to bail out their
economy?” Hammond, obviously referring to the loan-guarantees to Mexico. Hammond
tells his followers, “we’ve got to take back our country.”
Those who tend to agree with legislation directed at immigrants should listen to
the legislation’s proponents. S.T.P.I.T has, for the most part, shown its stance
on progress. They were against NAFTA which created new jobs for the three
countries involved, the Mexico “bailout” which was just a loan, and they want
the strictest laws to apply only to our immigrants legal or illegal. Especially
those from countries they dislike, namely: non-anglo, or “inferior countries.”
The people who are least likely to be affected by illegal immigration are the
ones who are more likely to be against it. Barbara A. Coe said, “We are tired of
being victims of these people.” Barbara is chairwoman of the Orange County-based
California Coalition for Immigration Reform, an umbrella group that was a key
organizer on behalf of Proposition 187 (McDonnel A1). Orange County is one of
the most affluent counties in Southern California. Despite the counties recent
economic problems (i.e. bankruptcy), the people who live there are still in
better economic conditions than the rest of the state. Ultimately, what caused
the counties bankruptcy was not immigration, but bad investments.
There is no quick fix to the immigration problem. People have studied the issue
for centuries, and no one can figure it out. The world’s most educated scholars
cannot find the answer to the growing problem. The key lies in something very
simple: a world government. No matter how the economy is doing, no one will be
left out. A world government can only occur in my dreams. Unfortunately, there
are too many gun-toating-crazies ready to label it “communism.” The next best
alternative lies in a borderless world. A world that shares its resources,
people, rights, money, and knowledge, is a better world. Our salvation lies in
reciprocity not altruism.
The idea of a borderless world will conjure up fears among many. People believe
that the world’s population will suddenly try to infiltrate the Americas. If
countries were more equal then there would be no need for immigration in the
first place. I do not want a world government; I want equality for the world’s
Brimelow, Peter,. “TIme to Rethink Immigration.” National Review 44
Chandler, John. “CSU Plans to Raise Fees for Illegal Immigrants.”
L.A. Times 2 Apr. 1995: A3.
Christopher, Warren. “NAFTA: In the overriding interest of the
United States.” Dispatch 15 Nov. 1993: 785.
Fragomen, Austin T. Jr. The Illegal Alien: Criminal or
Economic Refugee? Staten Island: Center for
Migration Studies, 1973.
Gerston, Larry and Terry Christensen. California Politics
and Government: A Practical Approach.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1993.
Gore, Albert Jr. “North American Free Trade Agreement.”
C-SPAN. 15 Dec. 1993.
Hernandez, Efrain Jr. and Simon, Richard. “Despite Gains, Latino
Voters Still Lack Clout.” L.A. Times
4 Dec 1994: A1.
Limbaugh, Rush. “Open-Line Friday.” KFI, Los Angeles.
7 Apr. 1995.
Limon, Emiliano. “I want dual citizenship.” KFI,
Los Angeles. 28 Apr. 1995.
McDonnel, Patrick J. “For Them, Prop. 187 is Just the Beginning.”
L.A. Times 28 Jan. 1995: A1.
Olmo, Frank. “Perspective on Immigration; Open the Door to Mexicans.”
L.A. Times 31 Jan. 1995: B7.
Wishard, Van Dusen. “The Wider Vision Seeks to Inspire the Best in
People.” Vital Speeches 6 (1994): 153.
Woo, Elaine. “Immigrants do Well in School, Study Finds.” L.A. Times
3 Apr. 1995: A1.