The United States immigration policy is very intricate, and there is much perplexity as to how it works. The Immigration law that governs the current policy on immigration provides for a yearly global limit of approximately 0.7 million permanent immigrants, with some exceptions for close family members. The Congress and the President establish a separate number for refugee to be admitted (Warren, 95). Traditionally, immigration to the United States has been anchored on three principles: family reunifications, admitting immigrants who posses’ skills that are important to the U.S. economy, and protection of refugees (Doris and Donald 14). The policy mirrors compound goals. First, it aims to bring back together families by admitting immigrants whose close relatives are living in the United States. Secondly, it aims to allow into the country personnel with particular skills and to fill positions in professions safe haven for people who face the threat of racial, religious, or political persecution in their country. The policy finally tries to ensure diversity by admitting nationals of countries that have low immigration rate in the country (Doris and Deborah, 8).
Various categories of temporary and permanent admission have been put into place to execute these widespread aims (David, 109). Current immigration policy proposes two different ways through which non-citizens can lawfully come into the United States. These are permanent admission (immigrant) and temporary admission (or nonimmigrant). In the former, foreigners can be awarded permanent admission through being accorded lawful permanent residents (LPRs) status. Aliens who are admitted in this capacity are officially classified as “immigrants.” They obtain a permanent resident card, generally known as a green card. These legalized permanent residents are qualified to work in the United States and can later submit an application for U.S. citizenship. The second path is that of being admitted on a short-term (temporary) basis. A temporary right of entry includes a large and varied group of people who are allowed to enter the United States for a particular reason for a limited period. This path of admission is suited for admission reasons such as diplomatic missions, temporally work, tourism, and study. Under the U.S. law, nationals of foreign countries temporarily admitted are labeled as “non-immigrants.” Some non-immigrants can be allowed to work in the United States for a limited time. This time is dependent on the type of visa they are given. “Non-immigrants,” however, are not eligible for citizenship through naturalization. Those that wish to live in the United States on a permanent basis are required to apply for permanent admission.
In addition to assisting the lawful entry of immigrants and non-immigrants, U.S. policy addresses the problem of unlawful foreigners in the United States. Census Bureau and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service projected that, close to 7 million illegal aliens had entered in the United States by 2000. The numbers were estimated to be roughly 10 million in early 2004 (Jeffrey, 92). Foreigners established to be in contravention of U.S. immigration laws can be ejected from the country through a formal process (which may include penalties; imprisonment, prohibition against future entry or fine) or offered the opportunity to leave willingly (which does not prevent future admission). In 2004, roughly, 203,000 people were formally deported and about a million others voluntarily departed. The United States can deny temporally or permanent visas or admission under certain conditions. For instance, people can be denied admission based on health, criminal record, and safety or terrorism concerns. Additionally, immigrants can be denied access due to the possibility of “becoming a public charge,” their looking for jobs in the United States with no proper labor qualifications and credentials, past illegal entry or infringement of laws of immigration, lack of appropriate documentation, or previous deportation from the country (Nicholas, 20). These reasons may be ignored for some particular admission categories. It is not easy, or even no possible, to establish the number of people who might apply to enter the United States, on a temporary or permanent basis. A variety of factors including numerical restrictions affects admissions. For instance, the accumulation of visa applications that are made for permanent residence and the nonimmigrant visas may result in reduced pace of processing the immigrations received in a year. Waiting periods may vary by country and deter people who would otherwise seek lawful entry to the United States.
The agency that regulates the policy and whether the policy should be changed:
The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), is the body of law governing current immigration policy and the Council on Foreign Relations is the agency that regulates the policy. Not many issues on the American political agenda that is more intricate and divisive than immigration. The existing policies and practices cause many problems ranging from the delays and difficulties that many legal immigrants deal with to the number of unlawful immigrants residing in the country. Furthermore, not many issues affect as many spheres of U.S. domestic life and foreign policy. Immigration is an issue of homeland security and as well as global competitiveness. It is a deeply human issue fundamental to the lives of millions of persons and families. It cuts deep to the questions of citizenship and American identity and plays a huge part in influential both America’s reality and how the world views it. Therefore, the policy should be changed to alleviate the problems of immigrations having seen how if affects spheres of the U.S. life.
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The congress and the administration ought to initiate a new endeavor to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that are built around a grand bargain with three fundamentals: enhancements to the legal immigration structure to enable it to function more efficiently in order to attract and preserve brilliant and motivated immigrants, a strong enforcement system that secures America’s borders and robustly dissuades employers from employing illegal workers, and a plan of legalization that will permit majority of those already illegally residing in the United States to get the right to stay. New measures should be placed to get in the best foreign students by doing away with many of the quotas and additional roadblocks in place at present (Rajika and Peggy, 201). Some of the post 9/11 border measures that dampen travel to the United States should be reconsidered (Susan, 203). Opportunities should be created for low-skilled workers to enter the United States temporarily and permanently, but with methods for adjusting the numbers based on the American economy needs (Jacob, 102). Lastly, their supposed to be sustained improvements in enforcement, together with the formation of virtual borders for entry monitoring, an electronic certification system for the workplace, and sterner sanctions against employers who on purpose employ illegal immigrants.
How current civil rights and civil liberties affect immigration, legal and illegal and whether the policies should be changed and the reasons for the change:
The terms civil rights and civil liberties can be synonymously used. The only difference being that "civil liberties" are the conceptual rights while "civil rights" are the legal rights. Civil liberties, therefore, are personal rights as articulated out in the Constitution and other founding documents. As the American Civil Liberties Union rightly points out, no human being is illegal. Immigration, legal or otherwise, is greatly affected by civil liberties as exercised, though wrongly, in the United Sates. Immigrants, some of whose very presence contravenes the law, are deeply woven into the structure of American social order and the performance of critical tasks. The basic constitutional rights of due process and equal protection entrenched in our Constitution and Bill of Rights applies to each “person” and is not restricted to citizens. The state has unquestioned authority to control its borders and to regulate immigration. However, it must exercise the power to keep out or extradite immigrants in line with the rule of law, the fundamental norms of humankind and the prerequisites of the Constitution. The civil rights and liberties as currently exercised affects immigration for example in that they are creating a new set of noncitizens who, though documented, are all the same not eligible for equal civil rights protections as citizens and who are subjected to the similar violations legalization proposals were projected to put a stop to. When one is a United States citizen and is arrested, they have the legal right to an attorney. On the contrary, an illegal immigrant does not. A detainee is presumed to be an illegal immigrant and denied a right to a lawyer to challenge the charges of being an illegal immigrant. In other word, a suspected illegal immigrant is presumed guilty until proven innocent. Almost all detainees represent themselves in courts. In January 2009 prior to the inauguration of the current president, Attorney General Michael Mukasey ruled that aliens in removal proceedings do not have a Fifth or a Sixth Amendment right either to general advocate, or particularly to effective counsel (“American Civil Rights Union”). They only have a statutory opportunity to keep private counsel at their cost with no complementary right to reprieve for any of such lawyer’s improper actions in their case. To make matters worse, he ruled that the government could reopen immigration proceedings at its discretion, “as a matter of administrative grace” considers an immigrant to have been “prejudiced by the deeds of private lawyer” or considers an immigrant’s lawyer to have “possibly changed the result of an alien’s first removal proceedings.” The onus is then on the immigrant- possibly lacking counsel given the conditions- to proof these facts to any level bureaucrats’ whims at the time may demand. This, as it is clearly seen, is an unjustly heavy burden, a burden that is hard to meet.
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