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Nov. 9, 2019, 6 a.m.

The Importance of Legal Immigration

Short Link: http://www.jsmtech.org/legal-immigration
Read Time: 12 min

Ever wondered about immigration policies, why some people cross the US border illegally, or how a wall could protect the United States? I did for sure, so that’s why I choose this as the topic for my immigration essay for English Comp I.


The Importance of Legal Immigration


            Immigration — it’s the glue that holds us Americans together. It’s the foundation of our society. It was one of the principal reasons our nation was created. This nation was built by immigrants and will continue to be built by immigrants in years to come. Without immigrants, we would not have our prosperity, our comfortable economy, and our new innovation. The National Foundation for American Policy found that over half of all startups at the one-billion-dollar range were founded by people who have immigrated to the United States. On the list are companies such as Google, Dell, Yahoo, and Facebook. Immigration is a core part of our country. Thus, immigration is America’s biggest asset. However, the opposite can be argued for illegal immigration. Not only does illegal immigration counter, obstruct, and mock legal immigration, but it also allows criminals and drugs to flow freely from an open border as we’ll soon see. Most immigrants come to the United States to follow the “American Dream”. However, the “American Dream” is not what it seems, illegal immigration should not be condoned, and we need to fix our broken immigration system.

            The “American Dream” is the dream in which everyone lives in the house with a white picket fence, gets their dream job, and enjoys life to its fullest. It is a very deceptive dream, however. We can see this in Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street. Esperanza and her family continue to live in poverty after they immigrated to Chicago. They long for a better life, even in America. They chased the “American Dream”, but the “American Dream” ran faster than they did. Esperanza’s father ends up working two jobs, they live in a shabby, old house, and they struggle to support themselves. Esperanza doesn’t grow up any wealthier than her parents did. She gets locked into the same poverty cycle her parents and their parents before them have always been in. And yet, the American Dream continues to draw both legal and illegal immigrants to the United States. In reality, however, the “American Dream” is not what it originally appears to be. America is not socialist; we are a democratic republic. While we are a prosperous nation, that does not guarantee that everyone is prosperous. The “American Dream” is not guaranteed as Esperanza and her family found out the hard way in The House on Mango Street.

            While the “America Dream” continues to draw in immigrants to the United States, nothing can be done to justify immigration done illegally. Every immigrant who illegally comes in and is allowed to stay is just another slap on the face of hard-working legal immigrants such as my parents and others whose protests are conveniently ignored. When interviewed by CNN, Juan de la Torre said, “I'm very happy they're helping the eleven million people here illegally, but what are they doing for us?” (Rodriguez). Adam Barsouk, an immigrant from Russia, writing for The Washington Examiner, said:

My Ukrainian aunt, cousin, and other relatives are doctors and other needed professionals. They have struggled constantly to immigrate for decades. Even as other less qualified cross the southern border daily and then cut the line, my family is forced to wait, kept apart by a broken immigration system. (Barsouk.)

If someone were to cut you or your family in line, how would you feel? Yet, legal immigrants have to stand by and watch as illegal immigrants cut them in line to enter and stay in the United States. Why does America have laws if we don’t intend for people to follow them? We have laws for a reason. That is exactly why we should suspend programs such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that gives a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. If immigrants can cheat by coming to the United States illegally and then get legal citizenship, why do we have all our other immigrants go through the legal process? If we give illegal immigrants a free pass without any consequences, then we are just encouraging more potential immigrants to come to the United States illegally instead of following our laws. President Obama once said, “We are a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous.” (Obama).

            Not only that, but illegal immigration harms citizens and potential citizens of the United States of America who have followed every law in the book. As President Trump said:

Illegal immigration affects the lives of all Americans. Illegal immigration hurts American workers; burdens American taxpayers; and undermines public safety; and places enormous strain on local schools, hospitals, and communities in general, taking precious resources away from the poorest Americans who need them most. Illegal immigration costs our country billions and billions of dollars each year.

However, the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants is not realistic as President Obama continued in his speech:

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants in every state, of every race and nationality, still live here illegally. And let’s be honest -– tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours. As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: “They are a part of American life.”

Illegal immigration should not be condoned, but we need to fix our broken immigration system. As President Obama said, rounding up every single illegal immigrant in the United States is nearly impossible. Not only that, but he also mentioned that many illegal immigrants are families trying to support themselves. A simple solution would be to grant some illegal immigrants legal residency, although at the cost of some consequences. 

            They would have to go through a background check to make sure they aren’t dangerous criminals, pay back the government all the taxes they haven’t paid, and pay a fine for entering illegally. On top of all that, they should never be given the opportunity to become citizens because of how they disrespected the laws of our nation’s sovereign democracy, its citizens, and its legal immigrants. Before we even talk about giving illegal immigrants a chance at permanent residency, however, we first need to fix our broken immigration system.

            Many illegal immigrants come to the United States illegally because they either can’t get in legally or it would take too long (Ainsley). Our immigration system is clearly broken and we need to fix it. First, we need to fix our immigration courts. The New York Times reported in 2018 that our immigration courts were backlogged up to 809,041 cases. That’s a 50% increase from 2016 and is almost three times larger than the number of backlogged cases in 2008 (Lu). However, court backlogs are no excuse for deciding to come to the United States illegally. That’s why we need to fix the border crisis and the illegal crossings that stem from it. For the protection of our country, we must secure and better protect our open border with Mexico. The open border allows for an open stream of illegal immigrants, harmful drugs, and dangerous criminals. It needs to stop. And some sort of border wall or fence would do the job perfectly. US representative Debbie Lesko, after visiting the border with Mexico, said:

I asked the border patrol agents I met on my visit if they thought the wall would help. These are the people who see the mess that is our southern border every single day. They told me yes, the wall will help in their efforts to combat illegal immigration and other activity along the border.

Lesko goes on to talk about the border wall we built at Tucson, Arizona in 2000. In just fifteen years, illegal immigrant border apprehensions in that area dropped by 90%. In 2005, we built a wall at Yuma, Arizona. Nine years later, border apprehensions dropped by 95% percent (Lesko). Border walls and fences have been shown to be a vital tool to aid law enforcement in protecting our borders. In order to accept more immigrants, curb the flow of illegal immigrants, and keep America safe, we need to fix our broken immigration system by fixing the immigration courts and building a wall or fence on the Mexican border.

            In conclusion, we’ve seen that the “American Dream” is not what people say it is. Immigrants coming to the United States of America are not guaranteed wealth and prosperity. We have also seen why illegal immigration should not be condoned and how every single illegal immigrant that cuts in line is a slap on the face of legal immigrants. Since the deportation of every single illegal immigrant would be near impossible, we also talked about a plan to let some illegal immigrants stay in the United States under some conditions and with consequences. Although before we even talk about legal residency for illegal immigrants, we need to fix our broken immigration system. The first step would be to fix the immigration courts which are backed up by almost one million cases. The second step would be to secure the border with some sort of wall or fence in order to stop illegal crossings once and for all. The United States has used walls in the past and they have been shown to significantly reduce border apprehensions in the areas they were installed. The United States was built by immigrants and will continue to be built by them in the years to come. Our nation will become even more prosperous and be able to accept more immigrants to make this country great.


Works Cited


Ainsley, Julia. “Since Trump restricted flow at border, more migrants trying to sneak through undetected.” NBC News, 1 Mar. 2018. www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/trump-restricted-flow-border-more-migrants-trying-sneak-through-undetected-n976356/.

Barsouk, Adam. “Illegal immigrants jump the line, making legal immigrants wait” The Washington Examiner, 2 Feb. 2019. www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/illegal-immigrants-jump-the-line-making-legal-immigrants-wait

Cisneros, Sandra. “The House on Mango Street.” Vintage Books, 1991, pp. 3-5

Lesko, Debbie. “Rep. Debbie Lesko: We need the wall, and the wall will work” USA Today, 18 Dec. 2018. www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/12/18/we-need-build-u-s-mexico-border-wall-work-rep-lesko-editorial-debate/2355309002/.

Lu, Denise, and Derek Watkins. “Court Backlog May Prove Bigger Barrier for Migrants Than Any Wall.” The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2019. www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/24/us/migrants-border-immigration-court.html

Anderson, Stuart. “Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups.” National Foundation for American Policy, Mar. 2016. nfap.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Immigrants-and-Billion-Dollar-Startups.NFAP-Policy-Brief.March-2016.pdf

Obama, Barak. “Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Immigration” The White House, The United States Government, 20 Nov. 2014, obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/20/remarks-president-address-nation-immigration

Rodriguez, Rachel. “Legal immigrants: What about us?” CNN, 9 Jul. 2018. www.cnn.com/2013/02/01/us/legal-immigration-irpt/index.html

Trump, Donald. “Remarks by President Trump on the Illegal Immigration Crisis and Border Security” The White House, The United States Government, 1 Nov. 2018, www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-illegal-immigration-crisis-border-security/.

Xu, Kenny. “Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants Is A Slap To Legal Immigrants’ Faces.” The Federalist, 9 Jul. 2018. thefederalist.com/2018/07/09/amnesty-illegal-immigrants-slap-legal-immigrants-faces/./01/24/us/migrants-border-immigration-court.html

Obama, Barack. “Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Immigration” The White House, The United States Government, 20 Nov. 2014, obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/20/remarks-president-address-nation-immigration


What Did You Think?


So what do you think about my essay on immigration? Please let me know your thoughts (good, bad, etc) in the comments below – I’d love to hear them. If you don't like something about my essay, that’s even more reason to leave a comment so we can have a good discussion! Also, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter right below this article. Awaiting your feedback! 


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