Illegal Immigration: ‘The Immigration Paradox’ Revealed
Possibly one of the most significant films of the century. The Immigration Paradox takes a critical and detailed look at immigration: one of the most upsetting issues in global human history. On a hunt for answers to this complex social issue, filmmaker Lourdes Lee Vasquez set out to understand why people would risk their lives to come to the United States. However, over the course of 7 years, searching for answers and interviewing an array of people from various backgrounds, her expedition takes a surprising twist. This documentary moves beyond the villain or victim scenario to reveal the bigger picture: immigrants searching for a better life for themselves and their families.
Unveiling the Human Stories Behind Illegal Immigration
Immigration is not just problematic in Arizona but all over the U.S. An illegal immigrant or alien is defined as a non-citizen who has entered the U.S. without government permission or who has stayed beyond the termination date of their Visa. The film shows the Americans on one side of the street and the immigrants on the other in what looks like a riot while much-shielded police officers walk the roads between them.
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People hold placards stating, “No human being is illegal,” while others shout, “Get out. The border is that way. Come back legally.” This shows how these people feel about the situation at hand, but it is not all who feel this way. There are some Americans who actually sympathize with the immigrants and say, “Mexicans should be able to come and work under a structured program.” There need to be more Americans like those who understand.
America’s Polarized Immigration Views
Vasquez then went and looked into the situation and tried to get solutions from different think tanks in Washington, DC. Two of the three she visited agreed to legalize immigrants with illegal status. I strongly agree with this because everyone needs to survive. Money may be considered the root of all evil, but nothing can be done without it. It makes the world go around. The third think tank wanted to deport all immigrants and decrease all legal channels in place for them to come legally. They feel immigrants are the ones responsible for everything happening in the U.S., including Global Warming and even obesity. I fail to believe this. These immigrants know they are in the country illegally, so they keep out of trouble and keep a low profile.
Economic Impacts: How Immigrants Shape the U.S. Workforce
Immigration has been a vital part of the country’s overall success and economy since its inception. Without it, the country would have never been founded. The U.S. was colonized and established through immigration. What harm can some humble immigrants cause? Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of the Census state that The United States of America is known for the biggest foreign-born population in the world. Nikki Schwab, reporter for the New York Post, stated, “Immigrants represented 13.7 percent of the population in 2017, up from 13.5 percent in 2015 and the highest percentage since the 14.7 percent in 1910.”
Immigrants in America fill jobs where native-born Americans may not want to work or cannot work. They contribute to Social Services and Medicaid through taxes, and they help provide the backbone of America, especially by working jobs that natives do not consider. In fact, the “laborer category reflects that many immigrants are not only low-skilled compared with natives but that their skills do not transfer easily to the U.S. workplace.” Additionally, in many cases, the job or profession is one that would not appeal to a native-born American, such as lawn services, construction, or janitorial work.
In my opinion, there is one disadvantage to low-priced labor for immigrants. Predictably, some native-born Americans will lose their job to an immigrant willing and able to do it for less. In the end, the blame for this cannot be put on immigrants. It should be placed upon the native-born Americans who were not educated and skilled enough to either keep their job or have a job that is unaffected by that scenario.
Furthermore, according to Orrenius’ article on U.S. immigration and economic growth, “between 2000 and 2002, the foreign-born unemployment rate rose two percentage points to 6.9 percent. This compares favorably with the native unemployment rate, which rose 1.8 points to 6.1 percent.” Statistically, immigrants are not getting all of the jobs and forcing native-born Americans out; they are in the exact same boat.
Cultural and Economic Contributions
Personally, if I had a say in the matter, I would give the opportunity for immigrants to come to the U.S. to better themselves. I would first look into the background they came from before granting approval. Once that went well, I would offer them temporary legal status for about six months while monitoring what they do in the country. If they show that they are just trying to make a better life, then I would offer a permanent legal status but with a clause to state if they are found guilty of any unlawful behavior, no matter the extent of the charge, the status would be revoked and they will be deported.
Immigrants not only go to the U.S. to get better opportunities for themselves and their families, but they also expand and showcase their different cultures by introducing new ideas and customs. Research has been done showing the positive consequences immigrants have on local and national economies. In certainty, immigrants change cultures for the better by introducing new ideas, expertise, customs, cuisines, and arts. Instead of deleting the present culture, they develop it and make it better.
- Vasquez, L. L. The Immigration Paradox.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Definition and classifications of illegal immigrants. USCIS Publications.
- Arizona Daily News. Protests and opinions on immigration in Arizona. Arizona Daily News Archives.
- Smith, J. (Year). Think tanks on U.S. Immigration policies. Political Science Quarterly.
- U.S. Bureau of the Census. Foreign-born population statistics. Government Publication Office.
- Schwab, N. U.S. immigration statistics 2015-2017. New York Post.