Free The Children Of Illegal Immigrants Should Be Allowed To Stay Essay Example
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According to a recent poll, seven out of ten Americans believe that the children of undocumented immigrants should be allowed to remain in the United States (MacKenzie). In 2010, the Census found that Latinos accounted for more than half of the country's population growth over the last decade. Whether they are universally welcomed or not, Hispanic immigrants are here to stay, and with each passing year, they will represent a greater part of our overall population. The compassionate and reasonable response is not summary deportation, but amnesty and acceptance.
Many of these illegal immigrants and their children will face physical danger if they are forcibly removed from the United States and sent back home. In many respects, most of them may be considered refugees. Some are economic refugees: fleeing the unsustainable economic conditions at home, where neither jobs nor financial opportunities are to be found, they seek a better (if not meager) living in the United States. Others are refugees from violence: many Mexicans who cross the border are threatened by Cartel violence or have been personally affected by the Cartel wars. Some Central American immigrants, such as those from Guatemala, are literally escaping genocide. Each illegal alien has lead a life of incredible hardship. Not one of them would hazard the treacherous journey across the southern border of the United States if they did not have an urgent reason to do so.
While the adults who cross the border illegally are to an extent able to exercise their choice in the matter, the children of illegal immigrants who cross with them have absolutely no choice at all. Willingly or unwillingly, accompanied or unaccompanied, the choice to immigrate illegally is made for them by someone else. They are truly victims of unfortunate and horrible circumstances. It is our collective duty to make sure that they are treated with the utmost compassion and care once they arrive. Therefore, in terms of national immigration policy, the best and most fair way to address illegal immigration would be to create a legal path to citizenship for those who have already come to the United States.
In fact, such a path has already been proposed by members of Congress in 2001. Called the DREAM Act, it stands for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.” The DREAM Act outlines a path to permanent residency for aliens who arrived in the United States as children. In accordance with this act, I suggest the following proposal.
1. To qualify for legal citizenship, illegal immigrants must have arrived in the United States when under the age of 18, and must have remained in the country for no fewer than five years.
2. After the child has reached adulthood, he or she must be willing either to attend an accredited college (community college or university are equally acceptable), to enlist for at least two years of service with the military, or to dedicate at least two years of their life to volunteering while also working.
3. All applicants must clear a criminal background check to be administered at the time of their application for citizenship.
4. All applicants must pass the standard United States citizenship examination to be considered for citizenship.
5. Each applicant must pay a nominal fee of $1000, as those who take the established legal route to citizenship must also pay a fee.
These steps are in harmony with the Saint Leo Core Values of Community and Personal Development. One of the core values of Saint Leo University is respect. As quoted from their website, “Our community's strength depends on the unity and diversity of our people, on the free exchange of ideas, and on learning, living, and working harmoniously.” By excluding the children of undocumented immigrants from citizenship, we deny both them and ourselves the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas. Each undocumented child brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that most native-born Americans are unacquainted with. By inviting undocumented children to obtain citizenship, we make ourselves available to new opportunities to learn and grow.
These steps are also in accordance with the Saint Leo core value of responsible stewardship. According to Saint Leo, “Our Creator blesses us with an abundance of resources.” Nowhere are these resources more abundant than in the United States. It would be against the wishes of our Creator to deny others from partaking in our resources. It is therefore our duty not to hoard, but to share this wealth with those who are unfortunate not to have wealth of their own.
Giving the children of undocumented immigrants amnesty is the right and judicious path. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be born in the United States are called upon by God to aid those who by misfortune are driven to illegally cross our borders. By implementing these steps toward legal citizenship, we can all reap the benefits of an equitable and fair solution to illegal immigration.
Mackenzie, Drew. “Poll: Most Americans Think Illegal Border Kids Should Stay.” Newsmax. 29 July 2014. Web. 31 January 2015.
“The First Florida Catholic University: Mission & Values.” Saint Leo University. n.d. Web. 31 January 2015.
Krasner, Barbara D. “The American Dream?” Cobblestone. Volume 34, Issue 5. June 2013. Web. 31 January 2015.
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