For decades, immigration has been one of the biggest concerns in the United States. Policymakers have a lot to consider when drafting a policy for its reformation. They must look into its cultural and economic contributions while being prepared on the possible security threat it may bring. Debates from the legislative members have been unending on how to achieve immigration reforms. These debates came to the point that the judiciary and executive branches need to be involved in its major and critical policy decisions.
Americans on the Issue of Immigration
According to 2017 polls and surveys, the majority of the Americans have a “good feeling” about immigration. They understand its positive impact on economic growth. Immigrants are likely to be a hard-working employee or likely to be engaged in good businesses. This is due to the chasing of that “American Dream.” They are less likely to commit crimes since they fear deportation. It has a lot of positive contribution with only a few negative impacts related to security, especially the acts of terrorism.
Actions taken by Administrations Related to Immigration
President Obama, during his tenure, made sure that undocumented immigrant will have legal relief. A program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA was made in 2012. This gave chances to undocumented immigrants that arrived in the U.S. when they were children. They were granted work permits if found to have no criminal record.
After the program’s success, the administration has proposed a similar program but this time targeting undocumented immigrant parents. It was in 2014, and the name of the program was Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). It became controversial, and many U.S. states were not in favor of it. Most of them argued that it is unconstitutional and violated the existing federal immigration laws. It was blocked by the Supreme Court and effectively killed it in 2016.
The present administration has been actively issuing executive orders that affect immigration policy greatly. There was a mandate on federal agencies requiring them to construct a physical wall covering all of the U.S. – Mexico border. Moreover, the “expedited removal” was strengthened allowing the removal of any person without a court hearing if unable to give proofs of staying in the U.S. for two years. A Travel ban was also implemented for travelers coming from Muslim dominated countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria and the likes.
This move was focused on terrorism prevention giving the government enough time to study and gather intelligence. The President has also pronounced his desire to phase out DACA of the previous administration calling it illegal.
Varied Approach to Handling Immigration Issues
In general, the federal government is the one responsible for enforcing immigration-related laws. This may be true, but it has the right to delegate immigration-control duties. In this way, states can freely enforce their local laws regarding the matter. For example, in California, even undocumented immigrants can apply for driving license. In Arizona, on the other hand, have laws giving the local police to question immigration status.