An in depth look at the history of American immigration policy, and issues present still at both international borders

A QUICK WALKTHROUGH OF IMMIGRATION POLICY AND HOW IT HAS EVOLVED THROUGHOUT AMERICA'S HISTORY

Many of the trend we see today in America’s immigration system can be traced back to the Hart-Celler, or Immigration and Naturalization Act in the early 1960’s. Previously, after the Pilgrims colonized America in the beginning of the 19th century. In 1882 the Chinese exclusion Act was passed marking the first piece of legislation in history to restrict immigration to the U.S. Before this law passed, there was no Ellis Island checkpoint, and each state dealt with immigration on its own. This system being used has been referred to by the history Channel as a “quota based system” as it was used to primarily favor legal immigration only for Europeans.
During colonial times, people came to America as early as the 1600’s. In 1619 the first 20 slaves were brought to Virginia by ship, and had reached 700,000 by 1790. In 1808 Congress mandated that importing slaves was illegal, but the act persisted for quite a while longer. The Civil War brought freedom to Millions of indentured slaves in 1865. At the same time in history we experienced millions of Europeans coming to America seeking a better life. In the 1840’s half of the immigrants were of Irish heritage fleeing the famine in their country. According to the History Channel and other sources, most of these people settled close to the ports they arrived in. It is estimated 4.5 million Irish citizens came to America between 1840 and 1930. In the same time period 5 million German’s came here to begin farming in Midwest areas like Milwaukee, WI and an estimated 25,000 Chinese immigrants went towards California for the gold rush.
It was this same time in history that we first started to see a public outcry against the influx of people to our country. At the time, the large majority of Americans were Protestant’s of European descent. The Irish were practicing Catholics, and at the time the group of people viewed as a threat to American job security was primarily Catholic Europeans. In the 1850’s there was a political party called the “Know Nothing’s” who were openly Anti-Catholic American and anti-immigration. In 1865 this party attempted to run ex-president Millard Fillmore as a candidate but he finished third. Fillmore had previously inherited the title of POTUS as Vice President for Zachary Taylor when he died in office. His time in office alienated him from his party because he refused to end slavery in the states where it was legal, and used federal resources to return slaves to their owners.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was brought forth in 1882 to bar Chinese people from immigrating here. At the time, America had entered into a depression circa 1870 and the Chinese-Americans willingness to work for less was a problem for California. Each state handled their own immigration and it was felt at the time the best solution to mitigate the flow of people to America it must be handled nationally, and Ellis Island was created. In 1890 President Harrison designated this as an official checkpoint, and 12 million people passed through it between 1892 and 1954. In total between 1880 and 1920 over 20 million people migrated to the U.S. from all over Europe, with 1907 being the peak year at 1.3 million legal immigrants entering the country. After World War 1 legislature was passed between 1917 and 1920 that created the citizenship test and quota requirements. These laws basically said that based on yearly census data, only a number of immigrants not exceeding 2% of their nationality’s population could enter the country legally each year.
It was around 1930 that the Great Depression and WW2 that immigration slowed to the point that only 6.9% of our population was foreign born. At that point Congress passed legislation to give special visas to people fleeing the Soviet Union and elsewhere in Europe. Likewise with the communist revolution in Cuba we saw another large influx of people to the U.S. It was in 1965 that the Immigration and Naturalization Act was passed, and there were no longer any quotas regarding immigration law. It was at this point America began to see many more immigrants from other countries as the law was no longer weighted to favor those from western European Protestant areas.
The main driving force behind these changes to immigration laws was the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. The laws up to that point had been racially motivated, and with the cause endorsed by JFK there was a big push to allow equal treatment of persons seeking a life in America regardless of birthplace. In 1965 after Kennedy had already been shot the law was passed, but was seen as a change that would not upset the balance of things. It was viewed that immigration would continue as it had, and simply our Nation would be taking a more moral approach to it. It was at this time we shifted from quotas prioritizing Europeans to legislature that would favor those with relatives who were citizens, those with special skills, or people seeking asylum. Though there were still per-country caps, and regulations on numbers, this change allowed entire families to leave their original country to establish a new life in America. Between Europeans fleeing Communism and Asians once barred from entry, there were over 18 Million legal immigration cases in the 30 years following this laws creation. In the previous 30 years there were less than 30% that number of cases. Between the 1950’s and 1990’s there were far fewer European immigrants, but the number coming from South America, Mexico, and Asia were steadily rising.
In 1986 the Immigration and Reform act was passed as the number of people entering the country illegally through Mexico and Canada was becoming problematic for Americans. The original goal being to provide more enforcement of immigration policy as well as ensure that it is easy enough to immigrate through legal channels. This act created 2 new amnesty programs for those already on American soil, and was utilized by over 3 million people at the time. In 1990 the Immigration act expanded the legislature written in 1965 and increased maximum number to 700,000 people a year and called for bringing more people from countries that did not have large presence in America to encourage diversity. Similar to in the 1800’s another recession occurred in the late 1990’s and many Americans grew discontent with losing jobs to non citizens as well as the way social welfare programs seemed to be not generally favored in their use at the time. It was then in 1996 that the Illegal Immigration Reform Act and the Immigrant Responsibility Acts were passed.
After 9-11 the Department of Homeland Security was formed and took the helm regarding enforcing the immigration laws in accordance with what has been described above. Some modifications were made, but primarily to this day non-citizens will either enter the country on a temporary visa or with permanent status. Those receiving a green card can ultimately become a citizen, and others may enter lawfully on a temporary visa.

THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR BOTH DEFINES OUR SOUTHERN BORDER AND RESULTS IN AMERICAS ACQUISITION OF SEVERAL NEW STATES

The history of our southern neighbors is a long one and Americas hands are absolutely not clean either in the matter. Between 1846 and 1849 President Polk wanted to practice Manifest Destiny and colonize south of the Texas border. Texas at the time was its own country as it fought Mexico for its freedom declared by the Treaty of Velasco. At the time, the Mexican Congress never ratified the document and in 1845 both America and Mexico felt the throes of war with both nations attempting to expand their territories. At the time, we ended up seizing several states from mexico as part of our peace terms. For a long time many Mexicans lived in these states as they always had, but obtaining citizenship wasn’t easy. In 1955 President Eisenhower launched Operation Wetback, the largest mass deportation in U.S. History. 1.3 Million Mexicans were deported from primarily the same states that had been seized from Mexico nearly a century ago. In that same time joint programs had been overseeing their visas in the country, but at the time Mexico began to experience a labor shortage and they wanted their citizens to return home. The Mexican government at the time sponsored a military style program with our border patrol to deport all of these people back to Mexico. In doing this, wide scale anti-immigrant and anti-Mexico propaganda was used to steer citizens against these people, who had actually at one time held legal permission to reside here.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s many Americans were told the citizens residing in south western states had been here illegally. In this era, that was actually not the truth and was a narrative used to generate fear to support the Mexican government in the return of their nationals. In 1942 the U.S. launched Operation Bracero, or the Joint Farm Labor Program. At the time many Mexican immigrants were discriminated against in Texas due to continued hostilities, and this program was designed to bring massive numbers of people in on temporary work visas for guaranteed compensation. Mexico didn’t want its citizens working in Texas, so from 1942-1947 the state was not allowed to participate. Many of the employers did not want to pay the guaranteed wages, so Mexicans began sneaking across the border and working in Texas as illegal citizens while the Bracero program expanded elsewhere in the U.S. States like California back then grew dependent on the labor of these some 4.6 Million people that arrived here between 1942 and 1964. Texas for quite some time by permitting undocumented workers to work on their farms irritated those elsewhere in the U.S. In 1953 President Eisenhower attempted to use the National Guard to deport people on a wide scale in hopes of returning many of these jobs to Americans and assist with Mexico’s labor shortage. American law forbade this, and it took the use of border patrol a year later.
Part of the tactics at the time were documented where these same agents would threaten business owners to participate in the Bracero Program. When Operation Wetback happened it was based largely on fear, and many people here lawfully were deported. The Bracero Program continue until it ran out of funding in 1964, but by now both the Mexican farmers, as well as the American farms to a degree had become reliant on this program. Farmers petitioned Congress to keep the program going but were unsuccessful. The lasting implications of these programs were continued immigration. As the Border Patrol agents deported people to Mexico, it created a vacuum for labor that would only be ultimately be filled by more undocumented workers as it has historically always been cost effective to do so and bypass labor laws in certain industries. Essentially what happened, by creating this program that built our agricultural sector on the backs of migrant workers, and also excluded Texas, they gave the farmers at the time an easy way to become dependent on the savings that came from hiring illegals. As time progressed, and our economy felt more strains we saw more pushes for deportation. The problem with the Mexican border is complex as the history as far back as can be seen has always seen a businesses utilizing undocumented workers in parallel to those entering legally. Likewise, with these work programs only existing with temporary citizenship status the end result too would be people overstaying the visa and being penalized because the initial laws were not set up as logically as they could have been. Over the years as it became the norm to sneak across the border for work, it too became normal to use the southern border for drug smuggling.

THE INCREASE IN CRIME AT OUR SOUTHERN BORDER AND THE WAYS THE CIA PARTICIPATED IN IT

In an article on The Institute for Policy studies it talks about the history of the CIA and its “contra gangs” where our government actually facilitated the sale of drugs in America with the use of the CIA. In the 1980’s we were funding a secretive war against the Nicaraguan government by selling Colombian cocaine in Los Angeles. In 1996 journalist Gary Webb took a year to trace back the entire network, and found the lasting implications of what the CIA did with Rick Ross at the time was forever connect the Cartels to the California street gangs. As time progressed, the rest of our country was untapped territory. This same journalist even found that most of the automatic weapons being used by the gangs stemmed from these same CIA dealers.
In a different article from Lawfare, a sociologist named Natalia Mendoza talks about the history of drug and migrant smuggling at the Mexican border. As she puts it, these trades have allowed cartels to seize total power over large areas as well as employ ‘permanent militias’ in the same places. Along the border, smuggling had been so normalized by 2005 that most people in certain areas took place. With hard economic times, and farming no longer making ends meet, many began to participate in these activities in various ways. Until 2009 it was not as violent she explains as it is today for these people. Many there would assist in the drug trade to keep their independence and homes without needing to consider a move to the U.S. Until 2009 these Mexican citizens were allowed to work as independent contractors in the drug trade, but the war on drugs was eventually militarized. All of the people in these towns were put on the payroll and became permanent employees, and the smuggling towns militarized in response.
Until 2009 also, the smuggling of drugs as well as people were separate trades, and respectively nobody claimed ownership of the tunnels. It was generally acceptable for anyone to use them as long as nothing was damaged in the process. In 2010 so many people were crossing the border illegally, it attracted the attention of the process so the drug cartels took it upon themselves to regulate the process on their end. The cartels created a fee based system to slow the migration on their end as well as profit from it and this resulted in regular patrols of cartel militia on the Mexican side of the border. The way the cartels operate is buy charging fees to anyone wishing to traffic too in these towns, and use money to pay off the police and government officials. In response to our cracking down on the cartels, it has resulted in them centralizing their operations and becoming a force that cannot be easily displaced from their current spot at the top of the food chain.
The culmination of many things over the course of several decades not only established the demand in America but also fueled a growing criminal network south of the border. We at first seized land from Mexico as spoils of war, and enacted a poorly written program to use labor to justify giving many temporary visas. Over time many were intentionally brought here as part of these same programs with mandatory wage requirements that were high enough that it really only encouraged these same businesses to hire people outside the law. When our government responded to the symptoms and not the underlying issues, the mass deportations never stopped illegal entry. At the same time, our partnering with certain cartels to traffic drugs to fund coups to the south actually helped many of these sicarios establish a network that still exists to this day. By the time the problem got out of hand, our response only resulted in the centralization’s of these groups, and their becoming far more dangerous.
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THERE ARE SEVERAL TYPES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, THEY OCCUR REGULARLY AT BOTH INTERNATIONAL BORDERS, AND ARE A TERRIBLE CRISIS

Likewise at our southern border there are many problems with child trafficking. When unaccompanied minors from other countries arrive here they are transferred to a program which will attempt to settle them with family members. If the child came from Mexico or Canada, they are subjected to a simple screening per The Trafficking Victims Protection Act and often either sent back to their origin country or asked to return in 48 hours. It was found in a recent examination that the officers performing these screenings are often under-qualified, and the process itself truly is not thorough enough to determine when children crossing border alone are actually trafficking victims. In an article by the Guardian, a woman named Maria talks about how she ended up in the cartels at 16, and how there is an entire network of children being sold by these same groups. In the town of Juarez, it has been gripped in violence since the 1990’s with two cartels battling over territory. Thousands of women and children have both gone missing as well as turned up dead. She talks about how she was promised a real job, but was drugged and sold for sex and had seen people burned alive and beaten for resisting. She recounts times when wealthy Americans would contact the cartels with a need for children, and they would kidnap Mexican children and ultimately sell them at a later date. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 women and children are brought across the border as a result of human trafficking alone.
Currently the cartels have grown so much south of the border that they now need to differentiate the types of trafficking that occurs. First there are coyote services that charge several thousand dollars to simply get people to the other side where they hope to start a new life, this does not at all mean thats where they end up. The people who do not safely end up on the other side can end up either being sold as property to a U.S. buyer, and this can happen with adults and children. Lastly, there is the sex trade wherein prostitution rings in the U.S. linked to the cartel smuggle people across the border to work in the illegal sex industry in America. The trafficking of sex workers across our international borders is the third largest source of income for cartels after importation of drugs. It is very difficult to pinpoint exact statistics of secretive criminal enterprises however in 2004 it was estimated up to 17,500 people were trafficked into the U.S. as prostitutes. Likewise the U.S. was found in a 2003 study to be the number 2 end destination for international sex trafficking rings. These figures do not include American citizens victimized by the same rings, and in 2006 a study found 25,647 women from 8 countries were smuggled over the borders into the sex trade by the National Institute for Justice.

There are many ways that the victims end up in America, but what is often the case is one persons legal documents are used repeatedly for multiple crossings of other people and not caught by officials. Other tactics utilized include fake documents, fiance visas, and outright illegal crossings altogether. The ways victims are smuggled into the country are ever changing and creates a mounting issue for border authorities to remedy. In recent years something not talked about much in the news is the way the Canadian border actually can be used just as much to meet these same ends for criminal rings. Much of the northern borders run through uninhabited areas that don’t receive direct patrols by authorities and a large portion of the inhabited areas are on tribal lands where the U.S. border patrol has no authority to monitor for human trafficking. There have been several studies as to risk factors leading to trafficking at the Canadian borders, and often people will first travel to Canada for reasons like work or school though many victims were found to have originally been erotic dancers. They would then be transported by car, boat, etc over the border to meet their clients. Canada his been found to be the main point that East Asian and Russian rings traffic victims through. In Canada victims of sex trafficking have typically been viewed as prostitutes and are usually deported and barred from obtaining citizenship. More recently Canada has offered persons classified as victims the opportunity to have a 6 month to 3 year long visa to obtain treatment and work, however a criminal record prevents this which usually is unavoidable once you have been trafficked long enough.
Some victims of trafficking in Canada are offered asylum, and the services that are ultimately given to these individuals can be much different depending on where you are. Canada does not have the most comprehensive data on trafficking statistics like there is on Mexico. Many studies on specifically sex trafficking have indicated the likelihood that Mexico is the primary source of victims to these rings. In 2005 our Department estimated 70% of sex trafficking victims originated in Mexico, and 50% of said victims were also minors who were also used for sex. Many studies tracing the pattern of where victims originate found that often time victims are taken from poor regions to the south, and as much as 30% of victims trafficked out of Mexico likely originated in Central America. One of the biggest risk factors that have been found to contribute to becoming a sex trafficking victim is actually forced migration. When cartel violence and government instability cause people to flee their country they often find themselves isolated and are preyed upon during transit. Where these people are often undocumented, there are many stops on the way that them or their children can rapidly become trapped in a nightmare like a cartel sex ring.

Though the U.S. still absolutely deports many sex trafficking victims based on the arrest records they obtained during their captivity there are still two options available to victims. The T-visa exists to temporarily provide health services and employment eligibility to victims and roughly 1000 of the allowed 5000 visas get used yearly. This visa requires cooperation with prosecution and opportunity for permanent residency, where the U-visa does not offer anything permanent or access to work and health benefits. In a PBS expose on the smuggling at the border they describe how each day over 100,000 people cross through the San Ysidro port and traffic like this greatly impedes officers ability to thoroughly examine credentials of people entering the country. Due to the backlog of cases regarding these types of crimes, often very little is done to the smugglers.

The easiest way to get across the border is through bribery of the border officials, and an FBI agent who was interviewed talked about the rise of corrupt border agents at ports. At the Otay Mesa Port, an agent nicknamed El Guero had been found to be part of a smuggling ring due to an informant’s tip. An ex-marine and decorated agent with 16 years experience had been lured into a sexual relationship with a female smuggler and was eventually busted with her as a result of the investigation. In the last five years over 100 similar busts to this have occurred, and there are 200 open cases currently regarding corruption at our southern border. The backlog is not restricted to simply corruption or trafficking cases, as of January, 2017 there were 225,846 cases still open and unresolved in immigration court, and the pending cases would put the number over 1,000,000! The addition of more judges increased case closure by 3.9% or 215,569 people. In 2017 there had been a 5 year backlog of cases in immigration court alone due to a burdened system and lack of resources. At the current rate of case closure it would take nearly 4 years to close all active cases in the immigration courts with so few judges available in comparison to the demand…

DEFINING [REFUGEE, MIGRANT, AND ASYLUM SEEKER], THE POLICIES SURROUNDING THEM, ALSO THE HISTORY OF CARAVANS AND PART OF WHY THEY HAVE GROWN IN SIZE

An article from Voice of San Diego last October talks about migrant caravans quite a bit from an informational perspective. As discussed earlier, many factors can result in people fleeing their country to seek a better life in America and travelling in numbers is the safest way to avoid the same traffickers listed above. These caravans have happened for years without much discussion, and they raise the point how the attention they receive in recent times is directly correlated to how the largest caravan to date got so large. The caravans originally formed when mothers from Central America banded together to retrace the trip their children had been abducted on to increase awareness. They are also called Viacrucis Migrante, or Migrant Stations of the cross. They would often time their excursion with Easter to make a comparison between their suffering and that of Jesus. The caravan in April was organized by an advocacy group called Pueblos Sin Fronteras and due to worsening conditions in their countries, as well as increased militarization on both sides of border the need for larger groups to stay safe in transit is an increasing issue for many reasons.
One point made is that the media attention to both the caravans themselves and Trump’s stance on them is another contributing factor to larger caravans. Before Trump was president, the caravans were never really an issue that made it to the public eye, and many do feel that his tweets alone have resulted in a spotlight being shown on the situation with the people in these caravans. Previously it was a rarity that a caravan made it into American media, and recently it has gotten to a point where people can see live feeds of them walking, and social media is utilized to bring more people into the existing caravans. They talk about the caravan that left Honduras and how it grew from a few hundred people to thousands as a result of the media attention and social media.
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras historically are continual sources of persons migrating to the U.S. in groups seeking a better life than that in their country of origin. Between violence, starvation, economic hardship, or just having family in the states the reasons people leave are in no short supply. Much of the instability in these same regions can also be traced back to the Cold War where our involvement in several countries left regions destabilized that left negative effects that persist still to this day. These countries too are not the only locales that spawn large caravans of migrants, between the poverty that is very common, violence, and American foreign policy no place south of Texas is free of the extensive issues that drive people north realistically. In Honduras alone a 2009 coup in their country that resulted in wide-spanned violence towards women that had rarely been seen before. The families resolved to get their children to safety by 2014 and it was then that this same exodus resulted in children being held on military bases at the southern border. As problems worsened in these same countries, so did migration, and eventually quite some time later attention was finally paid to the children being detained at the border. Statistically it is noted that even though the caravans are getting larger, the number of people deemed to be crossing legally or illegally is about the same. It is noted that the utilization of caravans is more of a tactical shift to ensure their own safety while in transit.
America has always taken in those seeking asylum from countries experiencing war or natural disaster, and it was in the 1980’s a standardizes approach to refugees was implemented. Beginning with President Obama, as the situation in the Middle East continued to escalate the American immigration system began to approach refugees with increased apprehension. There is actually a difference between a ‘migrant’, a ‘refugee’, and an ‘asylum seeker’. Where migrant is used more as a generalized term, refugee is defined by both American Law and the 1951 Refugee Convention as a migrant that has been, or fears persecution based on [race, religion, nationality, politics, or social group]. Refugees will seek entry from a different country whereas asylum seekers will apply for asylum after with different protocols. The first legislation passed to accept refugees took in 650,000 people after WW2, and continued thereafter but in 1980 an official federal effort was launched to address resettlement of refugees.
The Refugee Act of 1980 officially created the U.S. Refugee Admission Program after South Vietnam was taken hold of by a communist dictator. There was a call to create a system that could facilitate a continued need to take in refugees from the continual conflicts that pop up around the globe. President Carter with this legislation began the procedures that would vett, admit, and help settle the refugees it also defined officially. This act also increased the number of people allowed to be accepted to 50,000 and permitted POTUS to allow larger numbers in by executive order. The number of people using the program has dropped significantly over the years, but in fact seems to fluctuate as primarily large numbers of refugees will only manifest as a result of extreme conflicts in the origin country. In 2016 President Obama approved an additional 5000 refugees be admitted over the already accepted 80,000 accepted from Syria and suggested the number be increased to 110,000. President Trump reversed this to be only 50,000 people and by this point in time it is set to arrive at its lowest cap of only 30,000 refugees per year.
The first step in the process is to register with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This office will do an initial screening, gather documents, and refer the individual to a Resettlement Support Center. The applicant will then be interviewed at one of 9 locations around the world and be thoroughly checked against U.S. Intelligence databases. Within 18 to 24 months if there are no issues the person will be cleared to enter the U.S. The DHS, DHHS, and the PRM are the agencies that assist the refugees once in the country. The State Department oversees the Reception and Placement program which funds their rent, and basic expenses. After 90 days the DHHS assumes authority providing long term resources, financial support, and more. The federal government holds authority over where refugees may settle after admitted, and there are 190 approved locations in America. In current times with respect to refugees a proposed piece of legislation being discussed often is the U.N. Migration Compact. On their website they describe it as the first ever global piece of legislation to regulate migration on a global scale in an organized fashion. The website states that the same policies are not legally binding and are grounded in ‘state sovereignty’. The common complaint it seems from several nations currently is that any foreign body directing a nation how to enforce it’s laws would be the exact definition of “affecting a nations sovereignty”. Personally, I take more interest why a compact would form for something like this at all if nothing it did would be legally binding.

IN CONCLUSION...A PETITION FOR TANGIBLE SOLUTIONS

At the end of the day the cumulative effect of both previous and current border and immigration policy over the years has left a terribly functioning system. Our own involvement with the cartels not only enabled them to thrive in our country, but also provided them the means to become such a threatening force so close to home. Likewise much of the instability that breeds large fluctuations of asylum seeking refugees can also be traced back to foreign operations we were involved in. Through our minimal enforcement of laws barring businesses from hiring undocumented workers, our use of the outdated e-verify, and years of developing infrastructure that depended on citizens of other countries for labor we ourselves set the groundwork for never ending employment of undocumented workers. In our corporate oligarchy’s quest for money where the rich hold the power over the laws many sectors of our country have enabled and furthered illegal immigration as it allows for far more profits. The drug trafficking into our country was initially aided by our own intelligence agencies, and whether or not this is still the case it is clearly apparent what the CIA once thought was a good idea clearly was not. Now we see endless drugs flooding our streets, kidnapped children sold on the black market and thousands each year sold into sexual slavery and snuck into our country as prostitutes. The problems with these cartels is no way limited to South America alone, other worldwide rings have learned to exploit our northern border as it regularly goes unnoticed or patrolled.
America has a long history with periodic movements that push back against the current norms of immigration. Often times when there is a large increase in asylum there are too economic hardships at home, and increased spending in cases like foreign war or military intervention. Often citizens in many of these eras have initially lashed out at the people who migrated here and started anew. Often times when new labor enters the open market willing to provide the same service for a reduced cost it creates an upset as already struggling American workers find they are unable to charge quite so much for the same service. Thanks to the labor laws created after the great depression, and the increase in trade unions legal immigration does not anymore create quite the same hardships it did in the 1800’s. The larger issue now is that a person from outside the U.S. who enters illegally holds the upper hand in the labor world as they can charge less and take home the same net amount by not paying taxes, and as a result they become more desirable as employees to many large outfits for both this reason and that the employer need not provide benefits. Each time in history that there has been a large push to reform immigration policy it has had a heavy correlation to jobs. Though circumstances were different each time, ultimately it came down to employment and economic hardships. In recent years there has been much more concern for border safety and security. Many cartels have stated publicly that no matter what the U.S. does, they will continue to operate.
In the perpetual bickering in the mainstream about non-threatening workers who do cross illegally and shouldn’t, it is often overlooked that border security is needed to curb serious problems that efforts right now are not at all helping with. The drugs entering our country illegally, human trafficking, border patrol corruption, and proper screening for trafficking victims requires not only wide spanning investigations, but training, more personnel, and much more. If the human trafficking trade is not combated through increased security thousands of women and children will continue to die yearly during their excursions, as well as be directly slaughtered by gangs for a host of reasons. America has definitely tightened down on border security in recent years but truthfully the only measure of good border policy would be both a reduction in illegal crossings as well as a system that can handle all of its yearly asylum claims the same year they are received. Likewise, a functional system that has access to our data capabilities should also be capable of facilitating the claims of true refugees in dire need in far less time than 2 years. The policies that exist today harm all people involved for as long as targeted steps are not taken to end the hiring of undocumented workers, they will be brought here as pawns to corporate America only to be deported back to their home country to never be allowed legal citizenship in the future. Our leaders promise us solutions to these issues and yet we see no progress with anything. Not only are American workers still frustrated, but many people are also being harmed in so many ways by the cross-border cartel operations on a daily basis. The citizens want a secure border, and not just for their own security but also because over the years there has been a direct correlation between border security and positive change. As media focused on undocumented workers, traffic across border slowed immensely. Likewise as border patrol was increased, likewise did many statistics decrease. A secure border ensures a reduction in human trafficking and ensures the safety of Americans living not far from constant gang activity.
Likewise with the world appearing to be headed into another period of war and chaos our borders are in no way staffed or geared to defend in the case of a foreign invasion. No war has been fought on U.S. soil in a very long time, and should the event suddenly occur it would be disastrous for those living here. As it stands the current staffing at the border cannot deter the routine criminal activity that has persisted for years, this can be nothing other than a clear indicator of how prepared our defenses are should we be met with military force. With our soldiers currently tied up in many places around the world there are an unimaginable number of scenarios we could experience right now and be entirely unprepared for. The only way to actually address safety concerns and crime affecting both Americans and those from other countries is by both amending the current policy in a way that is both fair to immigrants and refugees, but also addresses the valid concerns of existing citizens. Likewise, the mistakes of previous generations cannot be repeated, and active measures must be taken to address the root causes and not the symptoms. History has proved sufficiently by now that deporting people does not stop illegal immigration. Through foreign policy reforms regions can be stabilized again in a way that facilitates an environment citizens need not flee any more. Likewise domestic policy requires reform weighting heavy undesirable penalties onto corporations still hiring undocumented workers. These businesses need to be viewed more in a sense that they are a perpetrator in a cycle that hurts both the migrants as much as Americans. Sanctions against American companies for utilizing these tactics could likely not only curb the number of people outside the law, but also provide a means of funding a resolution to the backlog of immigration cases and a proposed amnesty. Americans across the spectrum have created a petition to address our border security as well as ensure a fair deal for those already here:

READ AND SIGN THE BIPARTISAN PETITION CREATED BY “WE THE PEOPLE”

-Adam Rice

SOURCES USED

https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/u-s-immigration-before-1965


https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/us-immigration-since-1965


https://www.nps.gov/cham/learn/historyculture/mexican-american-war.htm


https://www.history.com/topics/mexican-american-war/mexican-american-war


https://www.history.com/news/operation-wetback-eisenhower-1954-deportation


https://ips-dc.org/the_cia_contras_gangs_and_crack/


https://www.lawfareblog.com/drug-and-migrant-smuggling-across-us-mexico-border-interview-natalia-mendoza


https://humantraffickingsearch.org/protecting-unaccompanied-mexican-migrant-child-trafficking-victims/


https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/01/deadly-human-trafficking-business-mexico-border-160117073423022.html


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/11/mexican-woman-border-child-traffic


https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328253798_Sex_Trafficking_at_the_US_Borders_Victim_Characteristics_Amber_Alert_Grant_funded_by_2017-MC-FX-K003_from_the_Office_of_Juvenile_Justice_and_Delinquency_Prevention_OJJDP_US_Department_of_Justice


https://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/mexico704/video/video_index.html
https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/536/


https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-migrant-caravan-and-those-that-came-before/


https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/how-does-us-refugee-system-work

https://www.usccb.org/about/resettlement-services/upload/Refugee-Assistance-2.pdf
https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/migration-compact

Additional Resources:

https://www.circa.com/story/2016/11/28/world/a-top-human-rights-activist-said-the-us-is-meddling-with-mexicos-sex-trafficking-laws

https://people.howstuffworks.com/what-is-ms13.htm

https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/ms-13

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39645640

https://time.com/4184368/drug-cartel-gangsters-ioan-grillo-book-excerpt/

https://www.history.com/topics/crime/history-of-drug-trafficking

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