Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:May 10th, 2006 06:42 EST
Immigration Debate

Immigration Debate

By Inactive Writer

Four years ago, when I lived in Brazil, I witnessed a boom of multinational corporations opening their doors over there, encouraged by tax breaks, cheaper labor and government support. During the establishment of their facilities, many of them brought the executive and management staff from foreign countries where they originated. Meanwhile, they hired the locals as the line workers or lower level management. Specifically in the city I lived, the executives were all from Germany, and with their poor knowledge of the Portuguese language they would browse the city speaking their own language, and in a certain way expected to be understood. Shortly after their immigration, the demand for German language courses increased. Many citizens wanted to learn to speak German so they could accommodate the needs of these new residents.

While some people rushed to learn a new language others thought that schools should open Portuguese courses for speakers of other languages because they believed that if you lived in Brazil that is the language you should speak. In the end, schools were filled by executives, managers and their family members when they began to offer the target Portuguese language course.

What I concluded from studying that form of immigration is that the German nationals that moved to Brazil were willing to embrace the culture and learn a new language in order to reside there and succeed in their business. Furthermore, this didn`t require them to give up their own values or culture. They simply embraced a new culture while living there even though they had enormous influence in the city they lived. They offered job opportunities and valuable training to their line staff and most of the new hires spent months doing training in Germany. The city`s architecture was also influenced by their native upbringing, since new neighborhoods were formed with a flair of European homes.

Shortly after seeing the growth and development of my city in Brazil I moved to the USA. Since then, I have been analyzing the news and debates about immigration. Constantly, I think about what happened in my old town. Although I don`t believe immigration in the U.S. will be solved with one, single measure I think there`s a need to create some mechanism to preserve the American culture. Today, Mexicans are the largest group of immigrants in the U.S., yet the vast majority of them don`t speak English. This vast majority is also composed of undocumented individuals that represent a huge burden in the U. S. economy, since they will sooner or later depend on social assistance. Even though there`s a number of organizations advocating for the rights of the undocumented immigrants coming to America, my stand is that, as humans, they do have rights anywhere in the world and should have some immediate needs met; however, they should not be allowed to stay in the country and deportation or voluntarily return is really the only option. When someone enters this country illegally they are not only breaking the law but they are also creating more obstacles for other foreigners that want to take a vacation, to work, to attend school or to immigrate to the United States. In short, because almost everyone that comes to the U.S. has to go through a process of getting visas, going through interviews and paying fees it is unfair that an illegal immigrant violating all of these rules stays in the U.S. without consequences.

Many times, some groups blame the Government for not taking efficient measures to address the immigration problem; but, from what I have seen, much has been done. By spending some time researching the labor laws already in place I couldn`t find a single exception for companies employing undocumented immigrants. Basically, if you are not a U.S. citizen you cannot work here unless you have a document called Employment Authorization " issued by the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. So who is responsible for hiring unauthorized workers? Allowing undocumented workers to hold jobs in the U.S. is inevitably an issue for our economy since our finite amount of tax dollars come from workers that pay taxes.

What I see as a preventative measure for the U.S. is getting the citizens involved in the immigration debate and reporting of undocumented immigrants. The fact that you have someone living next door that has no ties to the United States is far beyond a socioeconomic problem, but also a potential threat to security. It is about time to put more effort towards securing the borders on both sides, American and Mexican. Certainly, this needs to be a two way effort, and I would like to see more effort coming from the Mexican Government as well: securing the border, addressing the drug entering the US and helping improve the lives of their Mexican citizens.

In short, I don`t blame the Americans for being concerned with illegal immigration. I think much of the identity of this country will be lost if all we do is give amnesty to undocumented individuals. Simply, it is not economically possible or fair to provide social and health services to the undocumented out of the tax payer`s money. Without doubt, the issue here is not to stop immigration in the U.S. but how to stop illegal immigrants entering this country. While illegal immigration exists, a possible threat will always be present since you have no idea or control of who enters the United States.

Note: The author of this article is no longer affiliated with theSOP.