The Fight Continues…

The American immigration system is broken and needs some serious help. Since being in office, Obama has fought to gain rights and earned citizenship for the immigrants. He is working hard to achieve immigration reform for the future. His plan requires anyone who’s undocumented to get right with the law by paying their taxes and a penalty, learning English, and undergoing background checks before they can be eligible for citizenship. It requires every business and every workers to play by those rules as well. Throughout our blog we touched on many of the main issues in immigration: border security, pathway to earned citizenship, immigrants in the workplace and the Dream Act. Barack Obama states in a speech given in January 2013, “Together we can build a fair, effective and common sense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”

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The American borders are strengthening border control more than ever. Law enforcement is given the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime, enhance our infrastructure and technology, and strengthens our ability to remove criminals and give them the consequences they deserve and defend us from threats to our national security. Border patrol should be increased so that people are not sneaking into the country causing crime and participating in illegal actions. Our goal of increasing border control is for the benefit of immigrants who want to enter legally.

Cracking down on employers hiring undocumented immigrants is an issue that makes immigrants illegally be able to find walk and hinders them from achieving citizenship. Businesses that hire immigrants illegally are cheating out businesses that play by the rules. President Obama talks about this issue on January 29, 2013 saying,

“It means cracking down more forcefully on business that knowingly hire undocumented workers..most businesses want to do the right thing… So we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify someone’s employment status. And if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers, then we need to ramp up the penalties.”

Providing a legal pathway for immigrants to earn citizenship will bring the 11 million immigrants living illegally in the country to come out of the shadows and start to live their life. Not only will it benefit themselves but the economy and welfare of this country as well. When immigrants can live legally they start businesses, buy homes, and live actively in their community to boost economies. After passing certain criteria, there will be no uncertainty of their ability to become U.S citizens. Before being able to get in line for citizenship, immigrants have to register, submit biometric data, pass criminal backgrounds and national security checks, and pay fees and penalties before becoming eligible (whitehouse.gov).

The Dream Act was passed so that every immigrant could earn the right to an education in the United States. We believe that without an education ones opportunities come to the end of the road. Millions of the illegal immigrants living in our country are children who are at no fault. Their parents brought them into America for hopes of a better life. The Dream Act can help these children find the “American Dream”. It is an amazing opportunity for these children.

Throughout the semester, we have expressed our argument for immigration reform. Every individual should be able to achieve the best they can. Our overall goal is for immigration to be available to everyone who follows the rules and do it legally. By following a strict and legal immigration reform plan these goals can be achieved. The “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” are natural rights that Americans are given, why not extend that to all individuals who are risking their lives to find those rights?

Immigration Reform. (2013) Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/earned-citizenship

Failure To See The Good Of Legal Immigrants In The Workplace

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 3.06.55 PMThere are many believers that immigration reform allows illegal immigrants and undocumented workers to gain citizenship to easily, become part of the legal workforce to easily, and in too large of numbers. Jeff Sessions of USA Today argues that while cheap labor is good, it goes against loyalty to already American citizens.  He sees this as a social issue that is too lenient in favoring immigrants over citizens that have been in this country (and unemployed for years).  Sessions mentions that the rise in unskilled immigrant workers being able to work legally in the United States, with so many of them in a short amount of time, is costly to our economy and working America.  When a company is not attracting workers they raise wages; so with so many immigrants coming in to work low wage jobs, unemployment will still rise, wages will drop, this will soon effect taxpayers in the long run, and immigrants will take jobs that were previously made for already unemployed Americans, most without high school diplomas, to start filling up.

Loyalty to American citizens is an important aspect that Congress needs to keep in mind with immigration reform.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 3.09.31 PMBut reforms for immigrants do not have that many negative effects like Sessions describes.  Immigrants actually, if anything, have positive effects on lesser skilled Americans and wages.  Immigrants often do not compete with American workers but instead complement them.  They too are spending money to help stimulate the economy, create business demand, and even are becoming entrepreneurs who hire American citizens creating even more jobs for them.  By legalizing workers, they are able to make more money, meaning they pay more taxes and have more money to stimulate into the economy.  Providing legal status for that many immigrants to work exponentially raises how many jobs will be created, the rise of wages, and the rise of the overall GDP.

(chart found on http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/immigration-and-entrepreneurship/?_r=0)

Sessions, J. Sessions: Immigration plan bad for U.S. workers. USA Today. (2013). Retrieved http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/09/04/jeff-session-immigration-reform/2759519/

Reform For the Workers

A very prevalent subject within topic of immigration is the affect that immigration reform has on the United States workplace. This a concept that many people fail to realize, something that I also have just now become aware of, an idea that todays immigration laws not only negatively affect immigrants attempting to work in the United States but that this in turn hurts American Workers in several different categories. The main cause of this issue is that Illegal immigrants are working in the United States illegally. On top of that many workplaces in the United States are hiring these illegal immigrants and paying them less then minimum wage, while also not following many laws that the United States has in place. They are able to do this because illegal immigrants have no choice but to accept the work they are able to find, if they do get a job they do whatever it takes to keep it and have the ability to feed themselves and their families.

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Consequently many American workers are paying the price for illegal immigrants working for these companies who are paying them less then minimum wage and disregarding many other employment requirements and laws. This is occurring because companies have all the control and power. If an American worker decides to question the company for not following the employment laws, he will most likely loose his job to the next guy up (possibly an illegal immigrant). So who is at fault here?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter who’s “fault” it is. Something needs to change because everyone is getting the short end of the stick, American workers as well as immigrant workers. One step the United States has taken to move closer to a healthy employment system is modifying the I-9 form. They have increased the amount of information required on illegal immigrants including, expanded instructions renamed an mandatory forms, employee fields such as email address and phone number, expanded information for alien employee, and a space for a 3-d barcode. (Lauby) These modifications will allow the United States to keep both a closer look on immigrants and the companies that are hiring them. This in turn will make it more difficult for companies to not follow employment laws and requirements. Although this is a step in the right direction for are country, it is still not enough.

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Immigration Reform has the ability to make workplaces safer, as well as make it more difficult for companies to disobey employment laws and requirements. In the article “Make Work Places Safer with Immigration Reform”, the author Jorge Ramirez explains the dangers of working in the United States. He highlights that on average in the United States, “13 workers die every day on the job as a result of workplace injuries” (Ramirez.) This demonstrate the dangers of working in the United States due to the fact that our companies are not properly following employment laws and requirements to make the workplace safer for our citizens at work. Once again this leads back to my earlier statement that Companies in the United States have t much power due to our problems with illegal immigration. If someone does decide to stand up for themselves against these companies, they have to fear losing their jobs and not being able to afford food and housing because they know they could easily be replaced. Too many workers are being forced to bite there tongue and do what they know they should not be required to do, putting themselves in dangerous situations. Relating this more so to immigrants, Ramirez further explains that in everyone 100,000 workers, “the job fatality rate for Latino workers was 3.9” (Ramirez), while “the overall rate is just 3.5 per 100,000” (Ramirez). This 0.4 different clearly demonstrates that illegal immigrants are being put in dangerous situations and being taken advantage of by companies in the United States. The reasons for this include the illegal immigrants lacking documentation, they are unaware of their rights, and/or limited English proficiency. (Ramirez)

Once again Immigration Reform will take the power away from these companies and businesses that do not follow the laws, and give workers in the United States a safer workplace. This will also make stricter requirements for companies who are paying illegal immigrants less then minimum wage or disobeying hour requirements. Ultimately bettering our economy and giving everyone a fair shot at a job regardless of their immigration status.

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Ramirez, J. (2013, April 26). Make workplaces safer with immigration reform. Retrieved from http://www.progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2013/04/26/op-ed-make-workplaces-safer-immigration-reform

Laubey, S. (2013, July 7). How new immigration reform measures impact your workplace . Retrieved from http://www.hrbartender.com/2013/recruiting/how-new-immigration-reform-measures-impact-your-workplace/

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Will Benefit American Workers

Immigration Rally

Immigration supporters gather during a rally for citizenship on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 10, 2013.

 

“To fully understand why American workers are harmed, one must first consider the role of immigration enforcement in the workplace and how it affects the employment rights of immigrant workers.” This Center for American Progress article evaluates the effects of the immigration reform on the workplace in the nation.

Day Laborers Rally for Immigration Reform, Workplace Safety


Video portion starting at approximately 12:25 minutes

The online complementary text from the Democracy Now website is below:
In New York City, day laborers and their allies gathered Sunday to call for immigration reform and to highlight the role of immigrant workers in the recovery effort after Superstorm Sandy, just over one year ago. The workers rallied in Foley Square to call for relief from deportation for workers who helped rebuild the city. The protest came on the heels of a New York Daily News report showing 74 percent of construction workers who die on the job are Latinos, even though census figures show Latinos account for just 41 percent of such workers. Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said safety for relief workers is a key demand.

Pablo Alvarado: “After a natural disaster, workers need to be protected. FEMA comes in, and they bring relief to homeowners, to a lot of people who are affected. But workers’ rights, people who go in, the first responders, people who go in and take out the contaminated waters, they don’t even receive a glove or a helmet. That needs to change.” 

What Will Immigration Reform Do to America’s Worst Workplaces?

Bloomberg Business week article is about what the immigration reform and its changes will do to the nation’s worst workplaces. “The Senate’s immigration bill adds protections for undocumented workers in two ways, and these have the potential to change how factories, warehouses, and restaurants that rely on illegal labor do business.”

Undocumented workers out in American fields.