More Immigration Woes: Deportation Could Hurt National Security

Source: CBP Photography

Source: CBP Photography, flickr

Immigration reform is a complex topic to broach, and one that will affect a wide population, including American citizens, business owners, and aspiring Americans. Republicans and Democrats alike have been facing a great deal of pressure to enact reform this year, but division in Congress is leading many to doubt its likelihood before midterm elections. Pew Research released a new study Tuesday that outlined the changing enforcement statistics for illegal immigrants. According to the study, federal convictions for illegal reentry into the United States have been increasing steadily.

Between 1992 and 2012, the number of reentry convictions increased by a factor of twenty-eight, going from 690 cases to 19,463 cases — “alone account[ing] for nearly half (48%) of the growth in the total number of offenders sentenced in federal courts over the period.” The second quickest growth in convictions was for drug offenses, which accounted for 22 percent of the increase, reports Pew.

The charge of illegal reentry means that an individual has been caught attempting to come back into the United States after having been deported before, and many of the cases falling under that label are a result of capture at the border by Border Patrol, according to a report from Marc R. Rosenblum, a specialist in immigration policy.

Of those sentenced, “nearly all” are given a prison sentence. New tactics such as expedited removals without judicial review and deportation beyond apprehension regions, such as to the interior of Mexico for illegal immigrants, have been added to “break the smuggling cycle and deter an apprehended immigrant from attempting further illegal entries into the U.S.,” says Pew. More than simply immigrant rights and citizenship are on the table when it comes to these deportations, according to Gary Shapiro, author of The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream, writing for the Washington Post. He points out that immigrants have become an important key to security development. Outside experts and technology contributors are needed in the United States, such as STEM graduates (science, technology, engineering, and math) coming to us from other nations — 70 percent, according to a National Foundation for American Policy study. Included in this increase in deportations are just these STEM graduates. Many immigrant hopefuls come to the United States for education, invested in by America, only to be disallowed from contributing.

“For the most part, in defense we are not permitted to hire foreign nationals,” said Linda Hudson, chief executive officer at BAE, an international defense contractor, according to the Washington Post. “I cannot hep but wonder if hobbling our ability to hire top scientists, mathematicians, programmers, and engineers who happen to have been born on foreign soil doesn’t carry national security risks of its own.”

“We cannot let politics block action critical to preserving our national defense. Congress must act, and do so quickly. We must encourage foreign students getting STEM graduate degrees from our best universities to stay here, providing them a quick pathway to citizenship,” said Shapiro, also the president and CEO of Consumer Electronics Association, which represents more than 2,000 consumer electronic companies.

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