Every year, nearly a million people immigrate to the United States. Over 41 million legal and undocumented immigrants live in the country today that’s 13 percent of the population. How the U.S deals with the flow of immigrants directly affects the country’s security and economy. So why is immigration reform so controversial? Here’s a rundown of the sticking points.
Immigration policy aims to enable the flow of visitors and migrants while stopping terrorism, contraband, and unauthorized people. The United States spends nearly $18 billion dollars a year on immigration enforcement. But there are still security gaps resulting in illegal entries, primarily through the U.S, and Mexico border.
Those who enter the country illegally or overstay past the legal limit, often settle and develop deep roots. Some were brought to the country as children; many have U.S born children. But these 11.5 million people have no legal status, creating economic and social complications, such as gaps in tax collection and the number of public services.
Refugee’s trends indicate that unauthorized migration is made up more and more of refugees fleeing violence in Central America and much less of job-seekers from Mexico. The rise in asylum-seekers has strained an already overwhelmed U.S immigration system and the debate continues over how to handle the flow of refugees, and how to address the needs of additional refugees from the Middle East?
American employers can hire a limited number of foreign workers with advanced education or work experience. These high-skilled immigrants make significant contributions to the economy. However, there is disagreement over whether these immigrants are replacing American workers at lower wages.
Should more high-skilled people be allowed to immigrate? Comprehensive immigration reform that addresses all of these questions has eluded Washington for years. Presidential candidates will debate their plans but only Congress can rewrite the nation’s immigration laws. So what can the president do? Use executive powers to veto bills and set policy on how strictly the law is enforced. Whether working with Congress or acting independently, the next president has the power to significantly shape immigration policy.