Great Debate: Immigration in United States
The control of the federal government by the unified Republican Party after the 2016 presidential poll was followed by a series of reversals from the Barack Obama’s ruling policies. The most affected policies were those adopted through administrative and executive action in fields such as the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT), energy, immigration and the environment. Immigration undeniably poses the greatest debates not only in the nation but also in the international arena. In his leadership, Trump has been battling with issues related to immigration which has raised essential federalism matters. Illegal and refugee settlements in some states have led to a direct collision between the federal and state governments. In 2015, Obama had revealed his plans to settle around 10,000 refugees from Syria in the fiscal year . Some governors were fully opposed to the settlement of refugees in their states. The governors took formal actions against the plan citing security issues. The main goal of this paper is to explore the issues surrounding the mega debate of immigration in the federal and state governments. The immigration debate emerged in the past few decades with the federal government claiming exclusive powers over the regulation of the issue. The main reason why the immigration debate is very heated today is because of the daily increasing immigrant population in the United States. From 1997 to 2017, the immigrant population in the country has raised by 70 percent, a rise to 43.4 million from 25.3 million . Currently, the immigrant population makes up to 13.6 percent of the total US population. The federal government has been accused by the state governments of being inefficient in its responsibilities. The governors of the affected states claimed that the federal government only settled the immigrants in specific states. The states had to bear the increased costs resulting from immigration. The states have limited powers over immigration and thus unable to directly address the source of the problem. The costs borne by the states with high immigration settlements against their will demonstrates that if given an opportunity, the states can detach themselves from the immigration policies imposed on them by the federal government. From the chronic troubles between the two governments, it is clear that the two can pursue different immigration policies if given a chance.
The federal government legally has a monopoly over the matters governing immigration . The government is vested with all the powers to oversee the immigration enforcement bureaucracy. However, the federal government offers an opportunity for vital debates about the status of the immigrants in the United States. This opportunity, however, does not allow the states to make rules against immigrants independently. The fact that the states cannot independently pass laws against illegal immigration means that the federal government will continue imposing undocumented immigrants to the states . Their budgets will continue stumbling at the expense of the other states. The US Supreme Court has always upheld the supremacy of the federal government’s jurisdiction about the immigration policies. These consistent rulings have overruled the attempts by the state governments to single out illegal immigrants. Furthermore, the Supremacy Clause states that the federal laws outdo the state laws except in the cases where specific issues are constitutionally entitled to them . The constitution preempts the state laws that are contrary to the federal laws. The debate over immigration has intensified under president’s Donald Trump’s leadership. The Congress has been debating on how to revise the immigration policy. Many states feel that the politicians in Washington are too slow in making the proposed changes . Others think that the proposals will not be enough to address the issues associated with illegal immigration. Some states have gone ahead to draft some policies which limit the illegal immigrants from accessing the public benefits . According to a report by Reuters, an estimate of 11 million immigrants illegally residing in the United States . The figure is not fairly distributed in the states which necessitated the action by the affected states. The states have retaliated to the federal malpractice by passing some harsh laws against the illegal immigrants. For instance, the law passed by Alabama was declared the toughest in the nation. The state was the first one the go against the Supremacy clause with the other states making a similar move thereafter. The law required that all public schools in the state to determine the legitimacy of their students. The law further barred the illegal immigrants from gaining access to business and driving licenses and instructed the police to detain the suspected illegal immigrants who were unable to provide their documentation when required.
The Alabama law has been debated on in a federal court of law. Judge Blackburn defended the national law arguing that there was no adequate evidence that the law would hurt the public. Alabama was accused of having violated the federal laws. The Alabama case is just one among the many state statutes set in relation to immigration. The actions by the state governments are an indication that the federal government has failed and is still ailing in addressing the immigration issue. The states have every right to blame the national government for the congestion is state-owned schools, health facilities and in the job markets.
The federal government is vested with all the powers over immigration and can preempt most of the state laws concerning the matter . So, what should the states do as the national government is still reluctant in saving their budgets? The simplest answer is that the states must do what they can do. The states will have to take over the control of their communities as stated in the 10th amendment. They should embrace a paradigm shift which requires them to be realistic on the violation of the law. The 10th amendment states that the powers that have neither been constitutionally delegated to the federal nor prohibited to the state governments are reserved for the state authorities or the citizens . Since the constitution is silent on the case when the national government hesitates to take action, the states have the right to act on the matter before the politicians in Washington resolve the issues. The immigrants do not necessarily have to be deported back to their motherland. The ideas in the 10th amendment can be used positively to address the stalemates caused by the delayed action of the federal government. The immigrants in the states can be mentored to establish private businesses through which they will be able to pay taxes to raise the economies of the affected states. The United States should adopt a limited immigration policy due to many negative results that it has on the demographic, economic and fiscal fields of the country. Ideally, the positive and negative effects of immigration cancel each other implying that immigration hardly adds any value to the country’s economy. The population in the country is already too high and adding more people means that the economy will continue diminishing. The country ought to use the already existing immigrants productively and avoid taking in more immigrants. This step will not only help to boost the country’s economy but also create a better picture in the international arena. Furthermore, it will be of no sense at all to deport some immigrants and continue welcoming others.
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