Immigration Reform, the battle of the century, the broken system. Now that we are closer to the election it is featured on the news daily. The main focus being illegal immigration and Obama’s Immigration reform which would allow over 5 million, out of 11 million, undocumented workers (parents of 4.1 million who’s kids are citizens) to stay in the united states with a work visa. It will also allow immigration enforcement to focus on deporting felons and not the working family. This will allow millions of family to stay together free from the fear of deportation for 5 years as long as they can undergo a background check and are free of felonies.
I remember being a child in school New York City. My friends and I would share stories about our countries and where we were born. We truly never understood the term immigration or immigration status. We just knew that we spoke different a language. The older we became we realized that there was something different about us. That other children saw us differently because we spoke Spanish, French or Creole. Little did we know we were all seen as immigrants.
Once we were in High School we learned more of what came with being an immigrant. Some of us were natural born citizen, others were on student visa. Most of us were residents because of our parents. I remember friends that would return to their country every 3 to 6 months in order to keep their student visa and not become an illegal resident. I saw many of my friends fail classes because they would miss days of school. Being an immigrant in today society is frown upon.
There are numerous people that see the reform as having a negative impact on the U.S state economy but I believe it to be otherwise. Yes, some migrant workers are making untaxed income but still pay taxes on their own terms. According to U.S News and World Report “immigrants in the country illegally provide billions of dollars in tax revenue.” Immigrants illegally in the U.S collectively contribute near $12 billion each year to state and local tax Coffers”. That’s only considering that most immigrant households have one family member working, 90% of the time is the male. Imagine if both parents were working we would double the collective tax and be able to pay the deficit within a decade.
Due to the fear of deportation, a lot of crime and unfair work conditions are going unreported. Imagine someone breaking into your house stealing all your belongings or even being raped and being afraid to seek help. I’ve met so many immigrant parents that go without medical visits or annual checkup because they do not have a “legal” status. I’ve seen parents that work in the landscape field have accidents and not seek medical treatment.
In the last few years with president Obama in office we have slowly made steps towards a reform. In 2010 Congress passed the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors better known as DREAM act. It is a bill that would have granted legal status to certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and attended school. This presented the opportunity for many immigrants to attend college and have a legal status. It’s great but since it was not Federally passed the act is different from state to state and college to college. In Florida you are required to study in a community college. So even if you were the valedictorian of your class, you could possibly not be eligible to attend college of your dreams.
In 2012 President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. DACA deferred deportation to people under the age of 31 who came to the United States under the age of 16 before 2007. This program grants temporary legal status and even provides a social security number for 2 years at a time. This is a great opportunity because it allows those who qualify to be employed and even obtain a driver license in all states but Nebraska, which only allows legal presence but not legal status.
Just last week the immigration reformation act was out on hold. Which means there’re over 5 million families that will continue to live in fear. Fear that one day they will be separated from their children. Family came to live the American dream but instead are in hiding. Congress needs to start seeing things from an immigrant point of view. They should also see the money that it cost to just deport an innocent person.