New wave of migrants puts US and other countries to the test
As the United States and the rest of the world face the first wave of new migrants trying to escape poverty and violence, a debate is underway over whether to relax or tighten immigration policies in the wake of the massive influx of people, most of them from the Middle East and Africa, who have made the treacherous journey to the US.
President Obama last week defended his decision to allow in 1.8 million Syrian refugees, saying that the US economy has not collapsed but is currently being damaged by the crisis.
He also insisted that “we are not at war with Syria, but with terror, as well as with ISIL and other groups we have had to deal with”.
Mr Obama has also said that the US may move to deport illegal immigrants when he has the power to do so, though critics believe such moves, if they were to be realised, could create a new wave of illegal immigrants.
The US government has also made it mandatory for employers to check immigration status on their employees, while the US State Department has launched a website to help employers access information of job applicants, who are mostly from outside America, and to check for illegal immigrants in their hiring.
Many legal experts have pointed out that many young illegal immigrants, who have already arrived to the United States, have not received the proper papers to enter the country and will not be allowed to stay here if they are caught.
In 2013, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a member organisation of Congress, released a report identifying the US’ top three immigration problems at the moment. It said: “1. The threat of a new illegal immigration wave…
2. The erosion of US jobs and wages.
3. The threat of a return to uncontrolled border crossings by new, large-scale immigration flows.”
The report, however, has been criticised by many Republicans and some Democrats who believe the US should be focusing its immigration policies on deporting and denying the entry of those here illegally.
One such, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has already said if elected, he may consider amending US immigration laws to make them more strict in order to control the number of illegal immigrants entering the country.
President Obama has said he is committed to reforming US immigration laws, but others argue that such reforms will never be implemented because of the country’s current economic crisis, which has seen millions of people from the Middle East and Africa