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Parties differ on treatment of immigrants

By Ronny O'LearyColumnist

The topic of immigration in the United States determines to what extent our economy will progress and decides who deserves protection under the Constitution. It yields the reciprocal benefits of improving the lives of immigrants and allowing the country to profit from the skills that each immigrant has to offer. Yet, no immigration laws have been passed for several years due to the issue’s polarizing nature.

Liberals say that we should use taxpayer money to provide education and healthcare for immigrants, and conservatives say that we should restrict immigration because it threatens American citizens’ jobs and puts a strain on educational and medical institutions.

But now, immigration is at the forefront of American politics as the president and Congress have unveiled plans for immigration reform. Both plans call for an easier path to citizenship and tougher border security, but differ on which aspect they emphasize. The Democrats want to be sure that a path to citizenship is available to immigrants from the outset while Republicans prefer to employ a stricter border security policy before even considering the path to citizenship. The president has said that this concern is the only dividing line between the two plans.

In order to resolve this dispute, we need only look to the U.S. Constitution. The document does not grant the government the power to prevent any person from settling on unclaimed land. The government can only defend the country’s borders against military invasions from foreign countries. Thus, restricting the right of immigration would go against the basic human rights that are outlined by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

It is worth noting that the Constitution explicitly guarantees rights to all people, not just to American citizens. This being the case, we should ensure that increasing border security does not make it any more difficult for immigrants to settle in this country.

As for the millions of illegal immigrants already inhabiting America, the government will never be able to find them all, so as long as these immigrants do not commit any crimes, there is no reason to deport them.

Immigration aids both the U.S. and the immigrants: the country benefits from the abilities that each immigrant possesses, and the immigrants obtain freedom from their past and an opportunity to build a better future. As long as every person accepts the individual responsibility that accompanies American citizenship, they should be entitled to all of the liberties that make this country great.

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