Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

What is a question that you would like to answer about one of the points in the proposal for immigration reform from the op-ed by David Bacon?  Here is a link to the op-ed: 
"Better Options Needed for Immigration Reform"


  1. After reviewing this op-ed by David Bacon one question that arose was: how much does the US depend on the trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA? In the article it states: "It ignores trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA, which produce profits for U.S. corporations, but increase poverty in Mexico and Central America." I believe that the US must be quite dependent on most of the trade agreements because it's an economical resource that the US needs, especially with the amount of debt that there is now.

    1. One of my big concerns with the NAFTA/CAFTA agreements is that these essentially puts us in a Catch-22 of bad results. With these agreements in place, poverty in Mexico and Central America worsens, which make more undocumented immigrants come here in search of better pay. With these agreements removed, corporations, whose only concerns are the financial bottom line, will then claim that whatever politician or group removed it is trying to suffocate free trade. No politician would want to take the hit for that.

      The solution that raised the most questions to me was the portion that read:

      -- Allow people to come to the United States with green cards that are not tied to employment. -- Use reasonable legalization fees to finance job programs in communities with high unemployment. --

      To me, this raises immediate red flags that this essentially turns green cards from a matter of who should get one, into a matter of who can afford one. This will cause two nasty unintended consequences: 1) Desperation to buy a green card will lead some into questionable means of getting the money, and 2) scams involving the creation and sale of forged green cards unto unsuspecting victims.

  2. (Allen Han)

    One thing that wasn't clear while I was reading was why guest-worker programs were seen as undesirable by the author. Surely some kind of program that has a paper trail is better than the vacuum we have now?

    1. After checking some resources online, it seems that all the guest worker programs had something undesirable that I suppose should have been obvious--they are all temporary.

      Two examples of proposed bills that I found (links below) either ask guest workers to leave after two to five years, or they allow renewable two year work visas so long as the applicant is out of the country for one year between terms. This strikes me as exploitative, since companies are thereby receiving the benefit of foreign, low-income labor that they can make even cheaper by forcing the workers to become de facto migrant laborers.

      Workers in guest worker programs have no chance to improve their chances of social mobility while they are in the US, since if they have to return after two years, they will be less likely to invest in home ownership or the like.

  3. [Allow people to come to the United States with green cards that are not tied to employment. -- Use reasonable legalization fees to finance job programs in communities with high unemployment.]

    Actually, "green cards that are not tied to employment" confuses me.Does it mean more green-card holder will not rise the unemployment rate? Or it means people can hold green card but will not be allowed to work, so the unenployment will not be high?

    Anyway, if people can hold green card(no matter work or not), it will have positive influence to society. Less illegal workers, and more government income.For example, some international students will work for cash because of the high tuition. They possibly take the jobs from legal workers and they will not report taxes. If they can have green card and have low tuition, they don't need to work illegally. What's more,if they can work legally, government will have more income and the unemployment rate will get lower.

    So, I think it will be good for employment.

  4. The point that says 'end guest worker programs' came across as very ambiguous and abrupt to me. This is what I'd like to question and address.
    Guest worker programs are usually beneficial to both the workers as well as the sponsoring country's economy. Either way the only problem this leads to is excessive the inflow of illegal/undocumented immigrants. This inflow is the most obvious result of the high demand for foreign workers by US companies; the demand being high and supply being low due to immigration restrictions, leads to the illegal inflow. And in any case even the documented ones end up staying overtime in the country.
    In my opinion the best way to solve this problem is to to provide these additional workers (undocumented) with visas and allow them to enter the country in a lawful, dignified way.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I agree that visa back logs should be ended or changed to make it easier. Although in some countries like The Philippines, the people that want to immigrant to the US from the Philippines are getting back logged, but in his critiquing, he leaves out some of the hassles like the policies that refuse immigration to the US or the process it. He should explain more with some examples that it is happening in the present day, so there is no confusion in what it is.

  6. Generally, all points shown in this article are new for me, and I am curious to know more of them. But the particular one I would like to express my opinion is the first question, “to stop trade agreements that create poverty and forced migration.” When I was reading this article in class, I thought it referred to the US economic sanctions implemented to Cuba by America over 50 years. After doing some research on line, I won’t just agree that to stop the NAFTA will solve the poverty and immigration problem for Mexico. Concerning the advantages or disadvantages of the NAFTA for Mexico, it needs complex evaluation standard and detailed analytical data proof. Here are my three brief answers for this question.

    1. There were good impacts on Mexico economy after joining in the NAFTA

    The North American Free Tree Agreement came into effect in 1994 between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Actually, the NAFTA had positive impacts on Mexico economy when it was signed, but such good effects did not continue after 2001. China became the biggest exporting country to America after being a member of WTO (World Trade Organization)in 2001.

    2. The poverty and forced migration problem doesn’t have top priority for the US, though it’s severe for Mexico

    The US has different strategic targets in different stages. When the NAFTA was signed, the US was cared about its status in Latin America and eager to establish close relation with Mexico; after “9.11”, the US government put national security as its first priority; at present, the Obama government’s huge task is to reduce the high unemployment rate. Relatively, the immigration problem between Mexico and US remains, but does not take the top important position. In a sense, that’s why there was no re-negotiation yet on its agriculture part of the NAFTA and no attention and measurement given to the poverty and forced migration problem caused by the NAFTA by the US.

    3. To stop the trade agreement won’t be a guaranteed way to solve the poverty and forced immigration problem in Mexico

    We call the world is a global village, and all the countries are affected each other more than ever because of high-tech. Apparently, it’s impossible for Mexico to develop its economy alone by closing its national door. Mexico has to compete with other countries in the world. The NAFTA itself is a tool, not a purpose. The Mexico government should try to take advantage of the opportunities brought by the trade agreement and have some system and policy reform in order to provide better living condition for its people. I won’t think to stop the trade agreement will stop Mexican’s poverty and its immigration problem. That’s too optimistic.


  7. Michael Tjuatjadarma.

    -Protect the rights of all workers - against discrimination, or getting fired for demanding rights or for not having papers.-

    I somehow agree with that statement. Yes we have to eliminate discrimination of all workers and we should give them their rights of working here. They have the rights to work and for all the benefits. But I came up to a question from this idea that "why should we protect undocumented workers (not having papers)?" I should disagree with this one because I think that we have to fired and also "deport" all illegal immigrants. Workers have to have a legal papers and eligibility to work here in the United States. If we let illegal immigrants work without having the legal documents, more immigrants will come to United States in the future. In addition, if they have children, their children will grow up here, and if they cannot afford their children then the States will have to provide their children since they are an American citizen who born in the United States, where the money that are used will be taken from the United States citizens' taxes. Firing and deporting illegal immigrants from the US will stop the coming of illegal immigrants to United States.

    However, if I have an illegal employee, I will see their skill first. If they have potential to grow my company in the future, I will sponsored him/her. We need to determine who has a right to it. Those who have caused nothing but trouble should be out. But those who really give their all, not just for selfish reasons, should be given the chance they deserve it. Even though America is a country of immigrants, we should look upon them first, we cannot just legalize all the immigrants from outside the country.

  8. There is a point in the article that says "A human rights immigration bill would give people a quick and easy path to legal status and citizenship."
    I was first confused why was it that permanent status should be given out easily, wouldn't it make the undocumented to be free from their faults when they were supposed to be punished for them?
    Turns out, I found out from resources online that the reason behind it is that it is very hard to stop and identify each one of the undocumented immigrant that invade to America. Moreover, there are already so many people in America working illegally undocumented (11 to 12 million people - the population size of Pennsylvania). Spending billions of dollars to deport them back is only going to have them and millions more back. In addition, it is going to split families into two and does not solve anything.
    Thus, the best solution to this problem, they have found, is to make an easier and quicker paths to gain permanent citizenship if the undocumented individual has all the standard requirements - being able to speak English, pays taxes. By doing so, the undocumented would be legal, and with that, it is a win win solution to the problem.
    However, there has been debates on whether or not this really is the best solution there is, and there have been people opposing the idea. These objectors say that they do not want to have more than 10 million aliens to be legalized to the country.
    I agree with the first idea that they should make the process of getting legal documents easier and faster because rather than chasing around the humongous number of people who are hiding and working illegally, by by doing this they would come out of the shadows themselves and they would be able to work legally. They are paying taxes which is good economic contributor to the country, anyways.

  9. I am curious about David Bacon's propsal to "end guest worker programs." According to recent statistics, there are currently over 1 million guest workers residing in the US. If the guest worker program was ended, what would happen to these people? Would the ones without green cards be deported immediately, or would a process be created to help them achieve legal residency more easily? Also, the significant number of guest workers comprise a sustantial part of the workforce in certain industries. If the guest worker program was ended and these employees were given the rights to organize for better pay and working conditions that they are currently deprived of, how would the employers in these industries react?

    -Kevin Xie

  10. The issue that I wasn't clear about is this: What is the relationship between NAFTA and Mexican Immigration to the United States and how does it affect policy along the U.S Mexican border?

  11. What I'd like to answer in this article concerns the trade agreements NAFTA/CAFTA. The website mentions that trade agreements create poverty and force migration but how can this be? Don't these trade agreements allow U.S. businesses to relocate parts of their business to other countries where they can operate at less cost? If they are opening warehouses and what not in Mexico then this creates jobs in the country as well from what I understand. So new jobs = poverty?

    Perhaps the article is only taking on a certain aspect of the trade agreement which is why I'd like to know more about it and its affects. Did it do more harm than good for the countries in question, mainly Mexico? Is or was NAFTA creating an influx of migration and poverty or was it just simply exaggerated?

  12. Ok, the article doesn't really elaborate much on the subject of NAFTA:

    --Stop trade agreements that create poverty and forced migration.

    Does this mean stop creating new agreements that create poverty and forced migration etc? Or is he talking about reversing NAFTA and preventing future trade agreements from causing the same problems? Or both?

    I understand what he is saying about NAFTA and I agree with him but I do think this is an area that needs a lot of discussion and and some economic statistics to see the effects NAFTA has had on both the US and Mexican economies.

  13. -Dismantle the immigration prisons, detentions and stop the raids.

    I think this is a pretty interesting decision to be taken. There will be some advantages and of course disadvantages if the US government would do this. First of all, I researched and found that there are many immigration prisons around the US, both funded by the government and private parties. They took undocumented immigrants and treat them as criminals, even stripped them of their clothes and put uniforms on them. These undocumented immigrants are taken because of many things: from highly violent crimes to a minor breach of law such as jaywalking. I found this pretty unethical because they may be taken as prisoners for a very long time, before some decision (maybe deport them). But this is actually taking US Government funds, and I think instead of funding these prisons and make no great use of it, it is better that the immigration policies easier so that there won't be as many undocumented immigrants in the US and then the economy will perform better so that there will be less sentimentality against immigrant workers around (I heard that many US citizens are critically against immigrants because they think immigrants took their job opprtunities away).

  14. The point I chose is the one about bringing civil rights and peace to border communities.
    The question about this point is what is a border community.
    A border community is a group of people that occupy an area along the border of the United States. Specifically, border communities or border towns refer to southern cities from Texas to California. Often it is believed that these communities run rampant with crime, drugs, and other unlawful activities. There are news articles that are themed to show that border communities are not as bad as they are made to seem.

  15. how can you have quick and easy paths to legal status and citizenship because there is no quick and easy path. there are some easy ways but they take time and alot of work to get there

    Give people a quick and easy path to legal status and citizenship.

  16. There are two reasons why America is billions in dept right now. 1.Illegal immigrants getting paid under the table and then spending that money in mexico or another country. 2. Because the United States feels the need to intercede on every world problem. Here is the truth though. If the United states gov. does not stop involving itself in the worlds problems we will go bankrupt, and be a world problem itself. NAFTA is good for the united states but bad for mexico and other central american countries. But to be truthfully mexico and central america are not our problem an we should focus on the poverty and debt of our nation. Nafta should stand.