Thursday, September 20, 2007

Proposed Measure to Aid Illegal Immigrants

The New York Times is reporting on a Senate measure being considered that would allow illegal immigrants, who have graduated high school, an opportunity to gain legal citizen status. Immigrants who had come to the United States prior to reaching the age of sixteen, graduated from high school and agreed to either attend a minimum of 2 years of college or enlist in the armed services would be able to obtain citizen status.

The stated intention of the measure is to aid those who are illegal immigrants purely due to choices their parents had made. Supporters of the measure claim that the requirements put in place would solve the recruitment issue currently being experienced by the armed services. Opponents of the measure claim that the measure is a “blatant deception on the part of the Senate to get a massive amnesty passed”.

Discussed in the article is the experience of at least one immigrant who would be positively affected by this measure: he had come to the United States with his parents under legal visas (which have evidently expired); he graduated high school and had expressed interest in enlisting; due to his lack of citizenship status he was unable to enlist or obtain gainful employment; and, he could not apply to college or scholarships as a state resident. Should the measure pass, persons such as this would have the opportunity to both enlist, as this individual had desired, and have the ability to pursue employment opportunities available to U.S. citizens.

It would seem that this measure would be of benefit to a great number of people. Should those who are eligible enlist in the armed services, the recruitment problems faced by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines would seemingly be lessened. Should instead those who are eligible choose to follow the path of pursuing a college education, they would then be able to pursue gainful employment, allowing them to positively contribute to the growth of the economy. Either way, they would be rewarded with legal citizenship status.

While many may argue that this would crowd the already crowded employment market with a larger number of persons competing for the same jobs as U.S.-born citizens and legal immigrants, the alternative is to have a large number of illegal immigrants unable to contribute by either obtaining gainful (legal) employment or serving in the armed forces. It is unlikely that the problem of illegal immigration will ever be completely remedied, as the number of illegal immigrants to the U.S. continues to grow each year (additional information can be found here). Accordingly, it would seem that this measure would allow these immigrants, at least children immigrants brought along with their parents, to be productive and contributing members to both the economy and national defense, while allowing them to become legal citizens of the United States.

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