With immigration reform being put off until next year at the earliest, and with somewhere between 60,000 and 74,000 unaccompanied minors crossing the border illegally this year, frustrations are bubbling over. In fact, a new Gallup poll shows that there’s been a recent jump in public anxiety, with a 17 percent saying immigration is the U.S.’s largest problem as of July, a huge increase from the 5 percent who labeled it as the top problem in June. Respondent’s haven’t polled so high since 2006.
Protests have cropped up all around the U.S as concern overflows into demonstrations. Many were staged around the July fourth weekend, some organized specifically in protest — or support of — buses transporting illegal immigrants, mostly women and children, to processing centers in their area. The concerns over U.S. economic troubles being ignored confront other concerns about how a series of humanitarian crisis should be dealt with. Just taking a look at the multiplicity of protestors is an excellent way to catch up on the variety or arguments being made.
Murrieta Border Patrol: U.S. First
One major argument being made is that the U.S. has its own economic and social concerns to contend with. While the recession is over and the recovery is well on its way, unemployment, wage increases, and national debt remain major issues. Protestors gather outside the U.S. Border Patrol Murrieta Station in protest of the influx of children and families who are being flow and bused in from the overtaxed Texan facilities for processing. One hundred forty immigrants were prevented from reaching the facility by protestors in the week of July 4.
Appeals in Washington D.C.
From Mexico originally, Heather Pia Ledezma — 4 years old — sits amidst protesters objecting to President Barack Obama’s harsh deportation policy, asking for aid and leniency. The sign refers to an estimated 2 million that will have been deported, and protests on behalf of workers unions who demand that reform take place to prevent the breaking apart of families. The group protested at the White House on July 7.
The Amnesty Problem
A protestor in Oracle, Arizona highlights a key word for protestors on both sides of the argument, writing “Amnesty” in blue. Congress itself faces gridlock over the term, with any bill including it likely to face GOP walls.
What About Legal Immigrants?
Some argue that a policy including amnesty measures would unfairly ignore the effort put forth by legal immigrants, stretching aid and U.S. support to groups who broke the law while placing strain on those immigrants who have the legal right to their presence in the U.S.. Some also argue that this inappropriately reinforces illegal crossing, unfairly encourages immigration in a dangerous way — which is ultimately unsuccessful anyhow — and is costly for the government to contend with.
For many, amnesty and reformation of the American pathway to citizenship are not the answer, or at least not the full answer. Border security needs to come first they argue; limiting illegal immigrants ability to enter the United States would help mitigate crisis like the U.S. is currently facing with underage immigrants.
Congress and President Obama
Republicans in Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have said they are unwilling to pass immigration reform because they don’t trust the President to enforce their legislation. Boehner is currently pursuing a lawsuit impeaching Obama for overstepping the balance of power.
A group speaking out against “the President’s response to the crisis of unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence ad to demand administrative relief for all undocumented families,” outside the White House, reflecting human rights concerns. It also reflects to an extent the continued limbo states of so many DREAMers — illegal immigrants with GEDs or time in the military who have spent more than five years in the U.S. and most of which came or were brought to the U.S. before they were 16.
Hate Crime On the Rise
As Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has argued, “We are talking about large numbers of children, without their parents, who have arrived at our border — hungry, thirsty, exhausted, scared, and vulnerable. How we treat the children, in particular, is a reflection of our laws and our values.”
Anti-Latino hate crimes have been on the rise. According to a reports from the FBI, The National Institute of Justice, a significant rise in violent and criminal activity towards America’s Latino population has taken place over the recent decade. The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, found that there had been an increase of 48 percent between 2000 and 2007.
Many do not want undocumented immigrants in the U.S.. Some feel that the country lacks the economic strength to support an outside population. Some are frustrated by a myriad of expenses and injustices the current immigration system creates for all involved. However, allowing economic considerations and political opinion to morph into xenophobia is a mistake none should tolerate, and a line all must keep at the forefront of their minds as we move forward as a nation.
More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:
- Immigration Has Changed: Should We Change With It?
- Underage Illegal Immigrants: 5 Key Facts on Rights and Costs
- Why Aren’t State Police Holding Immigrant Detainees Anymore?
Follow Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @AntheaWSCS