U.S. Immigration Reform: An Overview

In today’s current refugee climate, with terrorist disaster striking overseas and more refugees seeking shelter and employment in the United States than ever before, immigration reform is now at the forefront of every political entity’s mind. With a presidential election looming in a few short months, every citizen and non-citizen of the U.S. is watching with bated breath to discover exactly how their great nation is planning to improve the national immigration laws and programs. Border security, the naturalization process, worker programs and workplace enforcements are all on the docket for updates and improvement. Each item affects not only the economic climate of America’s citizens, but their future livelihood as well. The goal of this paper is to briefly explain how each item directly correlates with upcoming immigration reform, national security and how they affect the day to day lives of everyday Americans.

BORDER SECURITY AND NATURALIZATION

Border security and naturalization processes are the main topics of interest when it comes to refugee intake and national security. Many have been critical of the lax security in place at the U.S.-Mexican border. With the ever-increasing influx of refugees now fleeing to U.S. from the tyrannical hand of ISIS, the federal government has to decide how to process and house these refugees. Also up for discussion is whether or not to allow these refugees (as well as other legal non-citizens) to eventually become citizens.

Current recommended improvements include:

  • Increase staffing on national borders by adding 350 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Deny visas of known criminals
  • Revised naturalization test and a web-based learning tool for candidates to improve their English language skills.

WORKER PROGRAMS AND WORKPLACE ENFORCEMENTS

Worker programs and workplace enforcements are probably not the first topics that come to mind when immigration reform is mentioned, but both are integral parts of the call for immigration reform in the U.S. Illegal hiring of undocumented non-citizens can deeply affect the lives of citizens as income is not only being handed out tax-free, but legal citizens are not able to work positions that have been taken by illegal immigrants.

Current recommended improvements include:

  • Reform H-2A and B seasonal workers programs
  • Increase fines of employers who hire illegal workers
  • Ensure all workers hold legal status and permission to work in the U.S.

CONCLUSION

Immigration reform affects every resident of the U.S., legal and illegal. While the U.S. seeks to welcome all who seek assistance, it is important to note that each case has to be considered individually. The recommended improvements mentioned (along with those that were not in this paper) have been proposed in order to benefit all, but primarily the future of the legal citizens of America.

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