In recent years the issue of immigration has sparked a great deal of discussion. Although America is a nation of immigrants, there is also a deep-rooted belief that people should immigrate to America through the proper legal mechanisms. The purpose of this discussion is to investigate how the agency that governs immigration in the United States functions in its role. The research will focus on several facets of immigration including street level or local bureaucracy and the policies that are enforced as it pertains to teachers, police and other law enforcement personnel, social workers, judges, public lawyers and other public servants/services. The investigation will also examine problems facing such as budget restraints and how they deal with them. There will also be some attention paid to how officials deal in situations too complex to fit into programs, and human dimensions. The research will explore the differences between street level bureaucrats and managers who are working to achieve the objective established by the agency. The investigation will examine the manner in which managers lead and the conflicts that they face as it pertains to dealing with other agencies.. The role of public relations will also be explored. Finally the research will focus on the critical issues that immigration services faces and how these issues will impact policy and management.
The immigration and naturalization service (INS) now known as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a government agency that is designed to govern immigration into the United States. More specifically the agency is charged with the responsibility of establishing immigration services, policies and priorities designed to protect America's heritage as an immigration nation while simultaneously ensuring that people entering the country are not a threat to the well-being of the nation. The USCIS is also responsible for deciding upon certain issues concerning immigrants. These issues include asylum requests, petitions for immigrant visas and petitions for naturalization.
The most important goal of the USCIS is to ensure the security of the homeland. According to a report entitled "USCIS Strategic Plan: Securing America's Promise" the agency is committed to ensuring the security and the integrity of American immigration and has employed several mechanisms to address the issue of security. The report asserts that the first of these mechanisms is to guarantee that the benefits of citizenship or other types of requests (visas, asylum) are given to qualified petitioners and applicants. The report explains secure homeland depends on the integrity of our immigration system. We will employ a program of comprehensive quality assurance and security measures to ensure that benefits are granted only to eligible individuals. To accomplish this, we will ensure that law enforcement (background) checks are conducted on all persons seeking immigration benefits. To prevent identity fraud, we will capture and store biometrics tied to a unique enumerator for all applicants to USCIS for immigration benefits, in effect freezing an identity for future identification and verification. We will continue to improve and issue tamper-resistant immigration benefit documentation ("USCIS Strategic Plan: Securing America's Promise")."
All of these precautions are designed to ensure that only the people who should be in the country are here. However, the aforementioned list of precautions has not always been in place. In addition, there has long been serious problems associated with enforcing these rules. These problems stem from issues such as improper boarder control, and the fact that many who come into contact with illegal immigrants are not mandated to report them, including teachers, doctors and even police officers. When the individuals who are most likely to come into contact with illegal immigrants are not mandated to report them enforcement because very difficult. These people are sometimes referred to as street level bureaucrats.
These individuals are often placed in awkward positions because they are called to serve the public in their various capacities but they are also citizens who are affected by illegal immigrants. In most states, the aforementioned individuals are not forced to report illegal immigrants because it is believed that the illegal immigrants may not receive the care or attention that they need if they fear that they will be reported to immigration. For instance, the police fear that the rates of violent crime will increase against illegal immigrants if they do not feel comfortable calling the police for fear of being reported to immigration. This scenario also holds true for hospitals, fire emergencies, social workers, public defenders and prosecutors and in the realm of education. States fear that mandating the reporting of illegal immigrants will be even more detrimental to the safety and well-being of the communities effected than the presence of illegal immigrants in these communities.
The policy of not reporting illegal immigrants has come under a great deal of criticism in recent years.
Opponents believe that reporting the presence of illegal immigrants is even more detrimental to society for the reasons that were just presented. Proponents of reporting illegal immigration on the street level believe that it is necessary. The necessity of such reporting is necessary as it pertains to homeland security because if a dangerous illegal immigrant is in the country public safety is at risk. This risk is greatly increased when there is no mechanism to ensure that law enforcement agencies across state boundaries can communicate with one another and share information.
In addition many argue that the costs associated with providing public service to illegal immigrants cannot be properly calculated because the true number of illegal immigrants is not known.
As it pertains to emergency services (Police, Hospitals), some counties and cities in America have been overwhelmed by the influx of illegal immigrants over the past decade. The infrastructure in these places was not designed to absorb such huge numbers of people.
An example of not having the ability to properly calculate the number of illegal immigrants can be seen in estimating state by state cost of illegal immigrant school children. Because teachers and schools are not obligated to report illegal immigrant children states do not have a real way of estimating the costs associated with educating illegal immigrant school children.
According to a Report entitled, "Illegal Alien School children" in 1982 the Supreme Court decided that is was unconstitutional to deny illegal immigrant schoolchildren access to education based on their immigration status (3). As such schools do not record the immigration status of their students.
The lack of concrete numbers as it pertains to the true number of illegal alien school children has caused a great deal of difficulty in recent years because there has been an overall increase in the number of illegal immigrants coming into the United States.
In 1982 when the supreme court ruled it unconstitutional to deny education to children in grades K-12 there were fewer illegal immigrants. This said the Supreme Court would still have ruled that denying education to schoolchildren was unconstitutional because it is unconstitutional. However, perhaps there would have been a concerted by the federal and/or state governments to ensure that the immigration status of children be recorded. This would have gone a long way to remedy the current problem of not having the ability to estimate the cost of education illegal immigrant children.
The report explains "State governments and school districts routinely record school enrollments and dollar expenditures. Although a few states responded to our survey with estimates of the costs of educating illegal alien children, none actually collect data on children's immigration status (Illegal Alien School Children, pg. 2)."
This inability to report students has become a serious problem over the last year as the American economy has seen a great deal of turmoil. The educational infrastructure in many school districts can not handle the influx of immigrant students. Such is the case in Prince William County, Va.
An article published by the American School board Journal reports that in this particular county there has been a major problem associated with the school budget and the lack of information concerning the number of illegal immigrant schoolchildren. The article explains that as the economic condition in American has worsened there has been an increased hostility toward illegal immigrants. This hostility is evident in every area of daily life including the American School System.
The article asserts that over the past few years in Prince William county there has been an increase in the number of illegal aliens. Although the specific number of illegal alien schoolchildren is unknown it is safe to assume that there has also been a significant increase in their numbers as well. This increase has led to an increase in costs for the Prince William County school district. At the same time there has been a decrease in tax revenues as property values have decreased in the County by an estimated 15%. This number has probably increased because this article was written in 2008. In addition the tax revenue has probably decreased further because there has been an increase in the number of foreclosures; people don't have to pay taxes…