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S. House that would make it a felony to be in the country illegally; the rally was just angry backlash by a criminal elements for increasing the penalties of this criminality, in their view (AP 2006). Whether or not illegal immigrants are assets to a society, if they are illegal then there must be punitive consequences for breaking this nations laws -- this is the argument that is becoming increasingly popular in anti-immigration circles.
More recently, controversy over immigration has been stirred up due to the passage of an Arizona law making being in the country illegally a state crime as well as a federal one, and requiring state and local law enforcement to take certain actions regarding verifying the legal status of immigrants that many people fear will lead to racial profiling. In addition, many public figures and politicians feel that the law itself is illegal, as it attempts to regulate immigration -- something only the federal government is supposed to do (Saenz 2010). The law will also lead to drastically reduced immigration to Arizona, even legal immigration, meaning that many different industries in the state will be hurt for a lack of workers; many of the jobs that immigrants take are those that natural-born citizens simply do not want, especially for the amount of pay that owners of agricultural fields, meat-packing plants, and other companies are able to provide at current consumer prices (Saenz 2010).
At the same time, others argue that the estimated four-hundred thousand illegal immigrants currently "hiding" in communities throughout Arizona have already been told that they need to leave the country or face legal consequences (Norwood 2003). The federal government either does not have the resources to find these illegal immigrants, or they have failed to apply those resources to the task of locating these individuals, so -- or so the argument goes -- the state and local law agencies must intervene (Norwood 2003). This answer to the immigration issue basically asserts that the current legal immigration levels are all the country can bear, and that illegal immigrants must be more actively pursued and removed form the country in order to free up more resources (Norwood 2003).
As can be seen form the varying reactions and interpretations of these two recent immigration flare-ups in this country, the immigration is not simply an economic one, but one that is deeply rooted in the hearts and principles of people on both sides of the issue. This is one of the primary reasons that the issue has not been resolved but rather has been debated along largely the same lines for centuries of this nation's existence -- when emotion and dogmatic principles take the place of logic and ethical fairness, such issues are only enflamed and perpetuated. This is not to say that one side can claim to have all of or even a majority of logic and ethics on its side, but a meeting of the minds would be more likely if all arguments were limited to these spheres rather than ranging to the type of personal rhetoric and invective that has been common among the extremists of both sides, with pro-immigration activists accusing their opponents of racism, and others seeing a destruction of a culture that has been in a constant state of flux form immigration since it first came into existence.
Removing emotion from political rhetoric is, of course, an all but impossible task. It is unlikely, therefore, that a true resolution to the immigration issue in the United States, a nation built on the arrival of foreigners seeking out a new promised land, will arrive in either this author's or any readers' lifetime. If the conversation can be steered more to the needs of citizens and immigrants alike rather than resorting to absolute and impractical principles, a more acceptable solution can be met.
AP. (2006). "Immigration issue draws thousands into streets." Associated press. Accessed 11 June 2010. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11442705/
CNN. (2006). "Thousands march for immigrant rights." Accessed 11 June 2010. http://www.cnn.com/2006/U.S./05/01/immigrant.day/index.html
Norwood, C. (2003). "Should state or local governments enforce federal immigration laws? Yes." ProCon.org: Illegal Immigration. Accessed 11 June 2010. http://immigration.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000800
Saenz, T. (2010). "Should state or local governments enforce federal immigration laws? No." ProCon.org: Illegal Immigration. Accessed 11 June 2010. http://immigration.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000800[continue]
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