American Immigration Law Reform and Its Rationale

In performing this research, the proponent of the study uncovered major reasons that compelled policymakers and stakeholders to push for immigration law reforms. There are at least four major reasons that paved the way for reforms. First, more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants require protection from unscrupulous people. Second, children with immigrant parents are the fastest-growing segment of the country’s child population (The Urban Institute 1).

A significant number of immigrants gave birth in U.S. soil; therefore, their children are American citizens. Third, a 2005 survey revealed that 28 percent of foreign-born residents in the United States are illegal aliens (Edwards 1). Finally, there are at least 5 million children living with illegal aliens (The Urban Institute 1). More than two million children living with illegal aliens are U.S. citizens (The Urban Institute 1).

A great number of policymakers and stakeholders are in agreement that immigration law reforms are needed. However, there was no agreement as to what kind of changes must be implemented. According to a Republican congressman, the issue surrounding immigration laws was the most emotional, most sensitive, and most politically charged issue that he has ever tackled in more than a decade as a representative in Congress (Graham 413). It was an emotionally and politically charged issue, especially in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks (Streissguth 90). Legal and illegal immigrants were viewed with suspicion, especially if they came from the Middle East.

The history of immigration law reforms was characterized by the enactment of statutes that were aimed towards limiting the flow of immigrants into the country (Tichenor 243). One example was the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (Newton 104). The fear of immigrants was based on the idea that they take jobs away from American citizens.

Advocates of immigrant rights were very unhappy with President Barack Obama, because he was silent when it came to immigration reforms (Muwonge 36). They expected Obama to be more sympathetic to their cause because Obama’s father was a foreigner who was able to enter the United States through a student visa (Johnson and Trujillo 257). The Vice-President explained why Obama was reluctant to tackle immigration law reforms.

He said that a new law legalizing undocumented immigrants is difficult to pass through Congress during an economic recession (Muwonge 36). A few years later, the Obama Administration announced its new stance concerning immigration law reforms. On June 15, 2012, the first African-American president announced that new immigration laws will allow some of the young and undocumented aliens to remain in the U.S. (Schwab 143).

The proponent of the study also discovered some of the proposals considered by analysts in an attempt to improve immigration laws. One of the proposals called for a more pragmatic approach to the debate. It called for market-based immigration reform (Orrenius and Zavodny 70). This proposal was more proactive in the sense that it anticipated the entry of future immigrants. The proposal called for a plan to admit people on the basis of work and not on family ties (Orrenius and Zavodny 70). The proponent of the study will attempt to find out the current steps undertaken towards immigration law reforms.

Annotated Bibliography

Edwards, James. Two Sides of the Same Coin: The Connection Between Legal and Illegal Immigration. 2006. Web. 

The author explained the connection between legal and illegal immigration. He also asserted that when the number of legal immigrants increases, there is also a significant rise in the number of illegal immigrants. The author supports his argument by analyzing historical immigration levels. The author also said that Mexico is at the heart of the problem. He said that the 1986 mass amnesty in favor of illegal aliens did not solve the problem of illegal immigrants within the United States.

Graham, Otis. Immigration Reform and America’s Unchosen Future. IN: Author House, 2008. Print.

The author examined the history of immigration law reform in the United States. The author analyzed the different laws that were ratified from the 1960s to the 21st century. The author asserted that policymakers and stakeholders are in agreement that immigration laws must be updated to solve the problems caused by illegal aliens. However, there was no agreement with regards to the type of reforms that must be implemented.

Johnson, Kevin and Bernard Trujillo. Immigration Law and the U.S.-Mexico Border. AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2011. Print.

The author discussed the implications of a porous border control mechanism. The primary focus of the book was the impact of the U.S.-Mexico border when it comes to the discussion of illegal immigration. The author also highlighted the reasons for the Obama administration’s struggle to initiate reforms within the current matrix of immigration laws.

Muwonge, Godfrey. Immigration Reform: We Can Do It, If We Apply Our Founder’s True Ideals. MD: University Press of America, 2010. Print.

The author supports the idea of immigration law reforms. He also supports the idea of implementing less stringent rules on immigration. He believed that the founding fathers of the United States favored the entry of immigrants from different parts of the globe. This assertion was based on the fact that the United States was built by the hands of immigrants.

Newton, Lina. Illegal, Alien, or Immigrant: The Politics of Immigration. New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.

The author focused the discussion on two landmark laws that transformed the policies governing illegal immigration in the United States. The first one was the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The second one was the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Based on these two laws, lawmakers were committed to reduce the flow of immigrants into the United States.

Orrenius, Pia and Madeline Zavodny. Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Ear of Globalization. MD: National Research Initiative, 2010. Print.

The authors highlighted the fact that there were several proposals made to improve current immigration laws. One of the proposals was to pursue market-based immigration reforms. The other proposal was to pursue pro-growth immigration reforms. This means that new laws must be ratified that will consider the importance of the international mobility of labor.

Schwab, William. Right to Dream: Immigration Reform and America’s Future. AR: Arkansas University Press, 2013. Print.

The focus of the author was to discuss the impact of President Obama’s Dream Act. It is the acronym for development, relief and education for alien minors. At the heart of the issue was the fear of the United States government when it comes to foreign-born terrorists. Thus, the Dream Act enumerated specific requirements so that illegal immigrants under the age of thirty can stay in the U.S., without fear of deportation.

Streissguth, Thomas. Welcome to America? New York: Enslow Publishers, 2009. Print.

The Urban Institute. Children of Immigrants: Facts and Figures. 2006. Web.

The author discussed the history of immigration laws in the United States. The primary focus of the book was to examine the significance of the laws that were passed in order to curb immigration rates. He also discussed the ramifications of a national identification system that will aid law enforcement agencies to apprehend illegal immigrants. He also pointed out the problems with regards to jurisdiction and the inability of local law enforcement agents to apprehend illegal immigrants.

Tichenor, Daniel. Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2002. Print.

The author traced the evolution of immigration laws from 1875 to the present time. It is interesting to note that in 1882 the U.S. government implemented the Chinese Exclusion Act that prevented the admission of Chinese laborers into the country. The primary focus of the book was to discuss the consequences of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Individual Responsibility Act.

Works Cited

Edwards, James. Two Sides of the Same Coin: The Connection Between Legal and Illegal Immigration. 2006. Web.

Graham, Otis. Immigration Reform and America’s Unchosen Future. IN: Author House, 2008. Print.

Johnson, Kevin and Bernard Trujillo. Immigration Law and the U.S.-Mexico Border. AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2011. Print.

Muwonge, Godfrey. Immigration Reform: We Can Do It, If We Apply Our Founder’s True Ideals. MD: University Press of America, 2010. Print.

Newton, Lina. Illegal, Alien, or Immigrant: The Politics of Immigration. New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.

Orrenius, Pia and Madeline Zavodny. Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization. MD: National Research Initiative, 2010. Print.

Schwab, William. Right to Dream: Immigration Reform and America’s Future. AR: Arkansas University Press, 2013. Print.

Streissguth, Thomas. Welcome to America? New York: Enslow Publishers, 2009. Print.

The Urban Institute. Children of Immigrants: Facts and Figures. 2006. Web.

Tichenor, Daniel. Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2002. Print.