Opinion: Mass Deportation is Not the Solution to America’s Illegal Immigration Issue

Opinion: Mass Deportation is Not the Solution to America’s Illegal Immigration Issue

By Rose McNulty  — @rose_mcnulty

Immigration is an issue that has always been a big part of American politics. Now, the hot topic is what to do about the deportation of undocumented immigrants, especially those from Latin America. Oftentimes, these people have established lives in the United States and even have children who are U.S.-born citizens. Separating these families and deporting people with clean criminal records who have created a life for themselves in the United States is just uncalled for.

I think that it is important to take into account that every case is different. When someone has broken the law or has negatively affected those around him, it makes sense that he should be deported. However, if someone has been living in the U.S. for many years, has established a life here and has a clean legal record, there is no reason why he should be facing deportation.

On January 19th, the Supreme Court agreed to review lower-court decisions which are blocking Obama’s actions to help about five million illegal immigrants in the United States. His orders would aid child immigrants and the parents of citizens to remain in the United States without fearing deportation. Obama’s policy is meant to help “hard-working people who have become integrated members of American society,” according to the Economist.

Obviously, there are many people who disagree with Obama’s actions. Namely, Donald Trump has spoken very negatively about undocumented immigrants. He wants to deport approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States and build a reinforced wall between the United States and Mexico if he is elected president.

This is just not the way to go about solving the problem at hand. While Obama’s actions would not serve as a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, they would offer temporary protection from deportation and allow illegal immigrants to work.

Keeping certain segments of the illegal population from being deported will “encourage these people to come out of the shadows, submit to background checks, pay fees, apply for work authorization… and be counted,” according to the Economist.

The Obama administration has just begun a wave of family deportation raids focused on people who have recently crossed over, but this is unlike Obama based on his usual stance on immigration. According to Obama, “We are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”

However, he is constantly under pressure to be more forceful when it comes to immigration. Although the administration is currently cracking down on enforcement in an attempt to improve the problem, “It only sends vulnerable families back to danger, many of whom did not receive adequate due process protections from our legal system,” Kevin Appleby of the International Migration Policy Director for the Center for Migration Studies said.

If Obama’s initial deportation deferment policy is enacted, it will definitely be more helpful to the immigration situation because it would show illegal immigrants that they will be counted if they go through the right processes. It would also be a sign that the government is not out to get everyone, and that productive members of society have a chance to stay in the United States.

Furthermore, a policy that is sympathetic toward illegal immigrants is definitely something that we need in America due to the sheer number of illegal immigrants residing and working in this country. In 2014, there were about 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, making up 3.5 percent of the population. About 8.1 million of these immigrants were working or looking for work in 2012.

These immigrants make up 5.1 percent of the labor force in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. In New Jersey, 8 percent of the labor force is made up of illegal immigrants. Therefore, deporting every undocumented immigrant in America might cause a few is-sues.

One such effect that Obama is trying to avoid with his deferment policy is the separation of families. Anyone would agree that it is heartbreaking to see families torn apart. However, the sad reality is that children and parents are separated all the time.

In 2013, 72,410 deportees said they had children born in the United States, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Records. That is a really large number, and it means that thousands of children who were born U.S. citizens have been separated from at least one parent. Alternately, some children return to their parents’ home country with them. Either way, it puts child in a difficult situation.

In addition, most of the people being deported have committed only minor non-violent crimes or have a clean criminal record, according to the Immigration Impact website. This doesn’t exactly line up with Donald Trump’s claim that “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

There is definitely a problem surrounding undocumented immigrants in the United States, but that does not mean every illegal immigrant should be deported. The most upsetting effect to me is the separation of parents and children. So many undocumented immigrants are working, pro-ductive members of society in America that it would be impossible to deport all of them without negatively affecting the U.S. labor force and the U.S.-born children that many undocumented immigrants have.