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/

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In the mean time: Increase Border Security

Border Security  Photo Credit: newsjunkiespost.com

Border Security
Photo Credit: newsjunkiespost.com

The Department of Homeland Security concisely sums up why we support increased and stricter border control (also referred to as border security) when it said, “Protecting our borders from the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, contraband, and people, while promoting lawful entry and exit, is essential to homeland security, economic prosperity, and national sovereignty” (Homeland Security). In regards to immigration reform, we focus on the people aspect of the statement, as we think immigrants should not be able to just hop a fence for work in the country, but need to go through the proper and legal path of citizenship beforehand. The purpose of the border is to create and safe and fair environment for the US citizens and to keep out those who do not hold that privilege.

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Border Patrol Agents Increase
Photo credit: http://www.dhs.gov

The nearly 700 miles of fence separating Mexico from the United States may stop vehicles full of illegal immigrants to cross, but minimally affects walkers’ access into the states. That said, the current count of more than 21,000 protection officers guarding the border by; land, sea and air is just not enough (Creating and Immigration System of the 21st Century).

Limiting the illegal access by transportation means (crossing the fence) should be the government’s first problem to attack. We acknowledge that total security is impossible and that just putting up more and more fences will not completely solve the problem. We simply think that while Congress argues back and forth to pass immigration laws, the country can keep the borders strong and illegal immigrants out. Even though the task asks for large sums of government funds, in the long run the payments will even out. This is because less non- US citizens will take away wages from tax paying citizens. The government does not help the situation by deporting travelers in the US on expired visas or incomplete/fake paperwork when they can leave and come right back because of the weak border patrol.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Removals under Obama and Bush Administration Photo Credit: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ero/pdf/ero-removals1.pdf

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Removals under Obama and Bush Administration
Photo Credit: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ero/pdf/ero-removals1.pdf 

We are aligned with the Obama administration’s actions and stances taken on border security. We firmly think that it is near impossible to tackle the problems revolving immigration and make progress with the immigration reform without addressing the terms of border security. “We stengthened security at the borders so that we could finally stem the tide of illegal immigrants, President Barack Obama said on January 29, 2013. “We put more boots on the ground on the southern border than at any time in our history. And today, illegal crossings are down nearly 80 percent from their peak in 2000.” The increase in border security is a step in the right direction of immigration reform. Immigrants should only be allowed to enter the United States by obtaining citizenship and not by squeezing through the bordering fence.

References
Alden, E. (2012). Immigration and Border Control. Cato Journal, 32(1), 107-124. Retrieved November 9, 2013, from http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-journal/2012/1/cj32n1-8.pdf

Creating an Immigration System for the 21st Century. (n.d.). Continuing to Strengthen Border Security. Retrieved November 9, 2013, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/border-security

Garcia, A., Fitz, M., & Kelly, A. (n.d.). The “Border Security First” Argument: A Red Herring Undermining Real Security. Center for American Progress. Retrieved November 9, 2013, from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/report/2011/03/29/9327/the-border-security-first-argument-a-red-herring-undermining-real-security/

Homeland Security. (n.d.). Border Security Overview. Retrieved November 9, 2013, from http://www.dhs.gov/border-security-overview

Maryland Dream Act promotes Immigration Reform

dream actLast year the Maryland Dream Act was affirmed by Maryland Voters. The Dream Act stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Aliens Minors Act. The Dream Act’s two major premises are permitting certain immigrant students who have grown up in the UNited States to apply for temporary legal status to continue their education in universities and colleges, as well as, eliminating federal provision that penalizes states that provide in-state tuition without regard to immigration status.

Rae Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force speaks out about the affirmation of the Dream Act stating, “The United States is built on belief the belief that everyone get a fair shake to fully participate in civic life, and to be able to build a future in the place they call home. This vote does justice to this fundamental principle, and to our common humanity (ngltf.org)”. Immigration Reforms are taking place all over the country. Now that the Dream Act is passed in Maryland, immigrants can now further their education in the United States. Education is the key to success and power, it is also a component that completes the “dream” that American stands for.

When immigrants move to America they have a plan in mind, they are looking for opportunities to turn their lives around for the better. Education is what is going to make that dream happen. Rae Carey also says, “Maryland is building brighter and more secure futures for our individuals…This not only benefits individual students, it makes our local communities, our states, and our country stronger and more competitive. (ngltf.org)”. Rae Carey is completely right. Without education we can not grow as a country. WIth education we can find success in our economy, our army, our local and state governments and most importantly in our citizens.

Below is a video of thousands of undocumented immigrants reacting to the DREAM Act. They are signing up for work permits. It is amazing to see the excitement that these immigrants are showing because they are able to come out in society and start to live freely.

Sarda-Sorenson, I. (2012, November 7). Maryland voters affirm Dream Act with the passage of Question 4. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation. Press. Retrieved from http://www.ngltf.org/press/releases/pr_af_dream_110712

Immigration Reform: A Path To Citizenship

Obama has made it clear that during his second term, immigration reform is a top priority that needs to continue to be pushed forward.  After watching videos of Obama’s interviews regarding immigration reforms, he is pushing for changing trends in immigration participation in the United States. Obama has  also pushed for legislations in the recent past for the young immigrants and children of immigrants to have a more fair opportunity to succeed in the United States and as a member of society.  Starting with the youth is the strategy to change trends in participation legally for immigrants coming to our country.

Many would say that immigration reform is loosening the boarders of our country and making it easier for illegal immigrants to participate as a citizen in the US with out all the legalities of what it means to be a citizen of this country.  After reading the four main sections of the “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform”  (click here for full article) it is clear the intentions of this reform are not to loosen boards of this country to immigrants, but to provide for immigrants a clear straight path to achieve a legal status.  This reform wants to reward and help those here not engaging in criminal activity and help them achieve legal status so they can participate in the United States as active citizens contributing to society. The boarders are going to be just as secure and protected as they have been.

Obama has noted that historically, Latinos (the group with the highest immigration percentages to the US) have had the lower voter turn out in this country and the higher rates of illegally documented workers.  In recent years the Latino turn out have increased showing their sense of empowerment and civic participation.  Occurrences like this are making Obama feel confident that “immigration reform can get done”.  Laws are being put into place to help the youth that are here by no fault of their own.  Obama firmly believes that the youth should not be under a cloud of deportation and the immigration reforms are only positive in helping them become the Americans they aspire to be and contribute to society.