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Immigration in the Us

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By ajmillz
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Immigration in the United States Calculated circa 2005, over 3% of the human population is comprised of immigrants, a term used to describe those who move to a different country for permanent residency. (Wilcox 1) For purposes varying from severe needs to wanderlust, migration levels rise each year all across the globe. Throughout the past century, the notion of immigration has been negatively perceived and become a controversial matter in the eyes of the United States law enforcement. Our country’s oppression against immigration has come to the exceedingly unethical extent where political figures like Presidential Candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo erroneously claim that “our ‘War at Home’ against illegal immigrants is more deadly than the war with Iraq”. (Sampson 2) Such prevalent negative outlooks and claims on immigration have guided a majority of our population to have inaccurate preconceptions of those who migrate into our country, wrongfully influencing our population to correlate immigration levels with higher rates of violence and crime. In this paper, I, with help from writings by authors Shelley Wilcox and Robert J. Sampson, will help disprove the stereotypes our nation puts upon immigrants, and propose ethical methods for our country’s approach on immigration laws. Firstly, the accusation that immigrants are more often affiliated in acts of crime and violence as compared to non-immigrants must be disproved. In fact, recent studies have proved this stereotype to be overwhelmingly false; “as immigration levels increased by over 50% from 1990 to 2000, the national homicide rate plunged to the lowest they have been since the 1960’s.” (Sampson 3) To state that immigration lowers crime and violence rates would not necessarily be true, since correlation does not prove causation, but such evidence does disprove the common misconception that immigrants are more likely to be engaged in criminal activity. Studies taken place in Chicago reveal that criminal activity is actually highest in areas with lower immigration rates, and areas with the highest levels of immigrants demonstrated the lowest levels of criminal activity. (Sampson 5) It’s evident from both of these studies that our nation immorally publicizes crimes committed by immigrants to misguide fellow citizens to have negative attitudes towards aliens, in order to further minimalize the immigration rate. However, arguments against immigration in the United States are not limited to accusations of criminal activity; immigrants are often looked down upon on the idea that they are taking jobs away from non-immigrants and diluting classic American culture. Although the unemployment rate in our country is unfortunately less than ideal, it is unethical to hold immigrants morally responsible for such and consequently restrict their access to our country for that sole purpose. Since the start, American has been one huge melting pot; migrants from all across Europe, most specifically England, founded our country- and to now restrict similar people access to our country is hypocritical and unconstitutional. Needless to say, most immigration into our country is necessary for such immigrants in order to survive and provide for themselves and their families. As Wilcox explains, “ecological pressures, repressive states, and intensified violent political and ethnic conflicts create millions of refugees, many fleeing for their lives,” it is no surprise that immigration level are rising. As a nation, it is our responsibility to approach this inevitable rise of immigration in a more selfless method than is currently used. The “open borders” position proposed by Joseph Carens, and further supported by Wilcox, is a position that entails emigration as “basic human right to freedom of international movement, including a right to immigrate to any country one chooses.” (Wilcox 3) This position requires citizens of any given country to respect and admit those who choose to immigrate into their country, which is the opposite of how it currently is in the United States. As of now, law officials have the right to deny any alien access into our country without any specified limitations. Certainly there are countless scenarios where specified aliens should not be allowed access into our country, particularly ones with a criminal past, but to deny an innocent alien trying to escape their corrupt government and current state of poverty because of our selfish reasoning and misconceptions is extremely unethical. Undoubtedly, more altruistic guidelines need to be put in place concerning immigration laws in the United States. Perhaps the fairest principle I’ve discovered is the Global Harm Principle (GHP): “A preliminary version of the GHP can be stated as follows: societies should not harm foreigners; and societies that violate this duty must: (1) stop harming these foreigners immediately; and (2) compensate their victims for the harm they have already caused them”, where harm can be defined as “a setback to a person’s basic welfare interests. (Wilcox 4) Undeniably, implementing the use of the Global Harm Principle (or the use of a similar principle) would increase the number of immigrants allowed access into our country. However, we must not forget that the term ‘immigrant’ is not a derogatory term, as we have for so long wrongly accused immigrants of increasing crime and violence. Proven by multiple studies, violence and crime rates have been observed to be significantly lower in areas with the highest immigrant populations; so if immigrants really do dilute our culture, this reduction in crime rates would in fact be a positive influence on our society. It is up to us as a nation to change the way we approach immigration for the better, to benefit not only the immigrants themselves, but also the United States as a nation.

Works Cited:
Sampson, Robert. "Rethinking Crime and Immigration." (2008): n. pag. Web.
May 2015.
Wilcox, Shelley. "Immigrant Admissions and Global Relations of Harm." Journal of Social Philosophy (2007): n. pag. Blackwell Publishing. Web. May 2015.

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