More than Numbers: The Human Side of “Illegal” Immigration
by rcm916 on October 3, 2016 - 2:59pm
The article that I choose to focus on and critique is an opinion article that was published in the conservative newsmagazine “The National Review,” in February 2016. The article was written by Kevin D. Williamson and is entitled “How to Fix Illegal Immigration in Five Steps without Building a Wall.” Let me start out by saying that I completely disagree with his ideas and the very concept of “illegal” immigration. In the words of Holocaust survivor and humanitarian Ellie Wiesel, “No human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms.” I find it amazing how certain politicians speak about the topic as if they understand what it’s like to be an undocumented immigrant. With that being said I’m going to briefly analyze each point of Williamson’s argument:
The first step of Williamson’s plan is to prohibit anyone who has entered the country “illegally” from being granted citizenship- even if they currently have legal status. Throughout this article he seems to be indifferent to people who came to this country “illegally” receiving some legal status. However, he then says that these same people shouldn’t be granted citizenship. To me, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. That’s like saying a student is allowed into this class but isn’t allowed to go to any of the lectures. How will they be able to survive in American society? The second point is like the first- preventing undocumented immigrants with legal status from getting work permits. This, in my own opinion, doesn’t make any sense. If you prevent a person from obtaining a work permit then how are they supposed to get by in this country? Preventing someone from getting a job is undemocratic and un-American. What if that person has a child to take care of? Is it morally right to deny them a job and leave them on the streets? In my mind the answer is no.
Williamson’s third point is sort of convoluted and loses the base of its argument- but I think what he’s saying is instead of just the federal government being responsible for identifying undocumented immigrants, the individual workplaces and local governments should be able to do the same. If they don’t, then they should face criminal and civil penalties. However, the states already have to follow federal laws regarding the use of undocumented immigration. Is it really necessary to have every state make a replica of the federal law? The only thing that would change is that instead of answering to the federal government, the businesses that hired undocumented workers would also have to answer to the state governments. Finally, his last point is slightly disturbing to me. He believes that people should walk around with a special identification on their license to show that they are either a citizen or not- which certainly will affect where that person can be hired. He then later contradicts this point by suggesting that Republicans at the state level should try to block all undocumented immigrants from getting IDs.
In closing, I lay out my argument that this type of plan for “solving” our “illegal” immigration problem is ineffective, immoral, and economically poor. Instead, we should create a system where people can freely move across our borders and apply for an easy, quick path to citizenship- provided that they can pass a reasonable vetting procedure. Human beings are not numbers in a spreadsheet, they have basic human rights to survive. Turning them away is undemocratic, un-American and goes against the values we were founded upon.
Williamson, K. D. (2016, February 9). How to Fix Illegal Immigration in Five Steps without Building a Wall. Retrieved September 26, 2016.