What We Forget About The Immigration Debate

What We Forget About The Immigration Debate

"Immigrants, we get the job done."

Contrary to popular belief, the politics of illegal versus legal immigration have been debated and controversial for decades, especially in the United States. But within the most recent administration, the promises Donald Trump made during his campaign regarding immigration regulation have intensified. Since the short-lived "Muslim ban" in January to the most recent statement from the president revealing that he wishes to terminate DACA--Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the debate only continues.

To answer the question of immigration, a frequent argument is that "America is founded on immigrants". This statement can be true in only some ways. In fact, America, or rather the continent of North America, was founded on the Native American tribes who settled here thousands of years before Columbus landed on its shores. From the Europeans not only came the brutal treatment of Native Americans but also the assimilation of European culture, values, and religion to the native soil. So, if you say, "America was built off of immigrants", you are truly saying, "America, generalized as the one founded by Columbus, was influenced solely by the immigration of European colonists."

Another argument for the immigration debate is, "We do not want to let terrorists into our country." I have never heard someone ever say they did want to let terrorists into any country. This argument is not only weak but also fails to understand that both sides of the argument actually agree with this statement. In rebuttal, we must also acknowledge that we, as a country, have experienced a multitude of acts of terror from within our borders. We know this too well when we remember the atrocities experienced in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, and most recently in Charlottesville, Virginia. Extremism and radicalism are ideologies that are not affiliated with one specific nation or group of nations, religion, or culture. They can divert anyone at any given time.

A common misconception of this controversy is the difference between legal and illegal immigration. To support legal immigration is to support the total freedom of an individual or a group of people to enter into a country after legally obtaining permission and passing any background checks necessary to do so. On the other hand, illegal immigration is the admission into a country that bypasses the rules and regulations that a country requires for access. The misconception lies in the generalization that "If you are anti-illegal immigration, then you are anti-immigrant". This is simply not true. To be anti-illegal immigration means that you simply want the methods of entering a country to be fair to any person or group of people attempting to do so. On the other hand, to be "anti-immigrant" is the xenophobic ideology that immigrants are inferior to those who are native-born members of this country. And as I mentioned before, unless you are of Native American dissent, to be "anti-immigrant" is self-contradictory because you originate from ancestors who were immigrants.

I think that people who argue in the debate of immigration, namely politicians, fail to recognize the inherent agreements between both parties. First, we can agree that the current system for legal immigration does not work. It is too long, too strenuous, and it influences good people who wish to enter the United States rightfully to do it without a hassle and hop the borders. I think that all in all, a more effective system should be put into effect. With this new system, we can quickly review and evaluate those who wish to enter the United States with more technology that will research people's backgrounds and personal information. This will not only affect those who wish to enter this country but also those who have already infiltrated the country illegally. A mass deportation is not the answer. I want to help families who have been here for decades, who have trouble with obtaining a "green card" to be on the road to citizenship, to extending America's loving embrace to them.

After a more effective system is put in place, the borders should be regulated more. This is not to build walls, to shut out people who are suffering or enduring hardship in their other countries. But rather, this is to ensure the safety and security of our nation, a nation that is constantly attacked and subjugated to prejudice and hate from the outside world.

From this, we can create a country that welcomes, not shuns, immigrants, that serves to ensure legal citizenship to those here and who wish to come with an overall improvement of the current immigration system, and a new consensus that aims to protect the stability of our country.

Cover Image Credit: AM NY

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The Two-Party System Is The Best System

In America's unqiue political system and climate, the dominance of two parties is the best way to handle it.

People hate the status-quo and the Establishment, inclduding our political system. Across all sides of the political spectrum in the United States, there are calls to dismantle the dominance of the Democrat and Republican Parties in the political arena. In its place, a system filled with multiple parties representing the vast and diverse views of all Americans. The problem? It’ll only make things worse.

Congress rarely gets a meaningful legislation done. Instead the people we elected to represent our values and interest spend their times bickering amongst themselves over who’s more virtuous and why this or that piece of legislation will lead to the downfall of America. If our two-party system were to break up into numerous factions, the fighting and gridlock will only get worse. Right now, some members of congress are willing to put aside their grievances and support a new bill or law because they might be united to support their party, and for better or worse that bill or law will get passed and Congress is at least doing something to address our problems. If congress was divided into four or five parties, similar to British Parliament or the German Bundestag, there will be no unity. Also, members of congress often struggle to find enough votes for a bill even among their own party; imagine how much harder that situation will be if you add in numerous factions with different interests and goals. If we break up to two-party system, there will be no action from Congress. Our government would become even more gridlocked, divided, and inefficient.

In addition, our two-party system helps drown out the more radical parts of the American political arena. On the left you have the radical social justice warrior whose platform is anti-men, anti-white, anti- veterans, and who riot against free speech or any dissenting opinion. On the right you have the Alt-right, who’s main goal is “make America white again” and end “Jewish control of America” by putting down ethnic and racial minorities of all kinds. Unfortunately, there are enough people who subscribe to these beliefs that, if our two-party system ended, would have a decent chance of getting people elected into local offices and even federal ones. With our current system, the Republican and Democrat parties attract numerous moderate voters who would never vote for those radical candidates. are considered “Big tent parties,” in that they attract numerous variants of conservatism and liberalism.

When it comes to the president, adding more parties to the mix will only result in much more divided, hostile elections. Most election results will consist of the popular vote being very fractured, with the most popular candidate usually receiving at most 40% of the popular vote, resulting with large majorities voting against them. If this is the case, then presidential elections will no longer resemble the will of the people. If the electoral college is to remain in place, it will be very, very difficult for someone to get 270 votes, throwing the election to the House of Representatives, and furthering complicating the process and dividing the nation even more.

The only way for a multi-party system to possibly work in the US could be if it were modelled after the way France selects its president: one election where the two candidates with the most votes then go on to a final vote. However, many of the problems of the multi-party system will still arise, such as the potential rise of extremists, and candidates being allowed to ignore many of the issues of many voters due to the parties not encompassing several viewpoints and ideologies.

The two-party system is flawed of course, and it very well might benefit from having a third, competitive, party, however transitioning into a European electoral system would only worsen the inefficacies and divisiveness that plague our current system. Like all other things about this country, the United States has a political system different from that of other developed nations, and as of right now the two-party system is the best way to handle it.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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El Espinito, Honduras Taught Me The Importance Of Giving Back

The moments I spent in Honduras are ones that I will never forget.

While many spend their first spring break of college lounging on a beach dozens of miles away from home with a martini in hand, I decided to dedicate mine to exploring a foreign country teetering at the edge of the equator, hoping to immerse myself in a culture I have never experienced before. At the crack of dawn on my first day of break, myself along with two dozen college undergrads flew to El Paraíso, a region of Honduras where communities value camaraderie and warm welcomes and weren’t afraid to share them with a group of foreigners; for a week, I discovered a new home away from home, one that I miss today even if it’s been days since I’ve left.

As a group of business majors, we came to Honduras to help El Espinito, the community we were assigned to, by empowering them with knowledge and different perspectives about microfinance and microenterprise, as well as aiding community members with any issues encountered within their local economy. Starting out, the question of how much we could actually help the community lingered in my mind. Alternative spring break service trips tend to have the negative stereotype along the lines of that students who go on these trips come in with saviorist mindsets. In other words, oftentimes students may think that they’re helping to “fix” a community entirely, or contributing more than they really are, two notions which completely contradict the reason for volunteering abroad.

During my time, I strived to make an impact on the community in whatever guidance it needed. However, I also hoped to learn as much as I can from community members as well. Throughout my five days in El Espinito, our team got to know community members, building bonds and relationships through food, dancing and laughter that made both groups of people with vastly different characteristics feel comfortable with each other and feel like a family, breaking down our disparities and learning from each other despite language and cultural barriers.

I do believe that unfortunately, voluntourism can be prevalent if students attend trips like the one I did with little care for long-term growth or, holistic sustainability of communities. The organization I attended the trip with, however, made certain that every volunteer was aware of the holistic model it followed to help El Espinito as much as possible, which calmed my nerves by establishing that the work we were doing was actually valuable. From creating business plans to conducting market and community research, the work we performed was greatly appreciated by the community members and will be useful in any endeavors they decide to pursue.

In the end, one of the main parts of the trip that will be ingrained in my mind is that in any effort to volunteer abroad, it is important to have compassion, understanding, and the goal to genuinely impact the community you’re working with in a sustainable way, eradicating saviorist notions and encouraging the mutual exchange of knowledge. From teaching schoolchildren the importance of saving for the future or presenting possible local business ventures, the moments I spent in Honduras are ones that I will never forget.

Cover Image Credit: Safia Ghafoor

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