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The way to radical reform
Fatwas Part Fifty-Four Issued by: Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, translated by: Ahmed Fathy
Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants

Being an immigrant in the US, fortunately legal, gives me the access to the immigrant community--legal and illegal. I have heard so many stories that make me question the fairness of the immigration system specifically and the United States generally. One year ago, my colleague’s wife was able to get a U.S/ visa. She traveled with their kids, who were Americans by birth, to the U.S.A. At the airport, the immigration officer gave her a three month stay. After the three months were over, she had to stay on illegally. The immigration found out. The INS wanted to deport the mother and canceled the father’s application for permanent residency. So far this may seem ok, but here comes the shock. The INS didn’t let the parents take their four and six year old kids, arguing that they are Americans, and that they would live here. The U.S. law gave the immigration officer the right to deport the parents and to keep the kids in the custody of immigration. Fortunately, my colleague got a lawyer and he prevented such a mess. This left me wondering, if this is what is happening to the people coming through the country’s front door, what is happening to those sneaking across the borders?
As you can see, I already had a viewpoint before I started my research. My argument was that the aliens also have the right to invest in them selves and to achieve the American dream, especially since the society itself is a community of immigrants. The only difference is that there are ancient immigrants and recent ones. But this concept would only convince an immigrant like me, but Americans themselves must be thinking differently. For sure, they are thinking about their own good. They don’t care if they are treating those immigrants the same way their grandparents had been treated when they had first arrived. So I decided to research the outcome of legalizing undocumented immigrants, and how this could benefit the average American.
First, I decided to search what the Americans think about illegal immigrants. I started my research on the Expanded Academic Database, where I found so many articles about the topic. I narrowed my research by looking for the reactions to illegal immigrants. I found an article that grabbed my attention written by Paul Magnusson and Ben Elgin. It is titled, “Go Back Where You Came from: Across the Country, a Grassroots Backlash is Building.” It was published on July4, 2005 in the Business Week magazine.
The writer starts his essay with the opinion of an average American, who is working as a police chief. Such an opinion is supported by the law. He thinks that if anyone is to come to the USA, he should come through the front door; otherwise, he will be charged with trespassing (Magnusson, Elgin).
The writer then mentions the results of random polls about illegal immigrants:
In a June 2 Fox News poll of 900 registered voters, fully 79% said they favored stationing the military at the border to stop illegals. A mid- May NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,005 adults found 58% disapproving of Bush's amnesty proposal while just 38% approved, (Magnusson, Elgin)
This gave me a pretty clear picture about the public’s opinion about illegal immigration. This essay also answered my question about the borders. There have been calls to secure the borders for almost a hundred years; however, since 2000, 1.4 million Mexicans have come to the U.S., and fully 85% of them entered illegally (Magnusson, Elgin) The reason is that both parties don’t take any actions about it, either because of the business owners or sympathy with the struggle for these immigrants:
Business-friendly Republicans want to satisfy employers' appetite for low- wage labor by passing the Administration's guest worker program… But the GOP also wants to score points for securing the borders against terrorists and criminals. Democrats are divided, too. They are sympathetic to the struggles of immigrants, legal and illegal alike…. But threet Journal poll of 1,005 adults found 58% disapproving of Bush's amnesty proposal while just 38% approved, (Magnusson, Elgin)
This gave me a pretty clear picture about the public’s opinion about illegal immigration. This essay also answered my question about the borders. There have been calls to secure the borders for almost a hundred years; however, since 2000, 1.4 million Mexicans have come to the U.S., and fully 85% of them entered illegally (Magnusson, Elgin) The reason is that both parties don’t take any actions about it, either because of the business owners or sympathy with the struggle for these immigrants:
Business-friendly Republicans want to satisfy employers' appetite for low- wage labor by passing the Administration's guest worker program… But the GOP also wants to score points for securing the borders against terrorists and criminals. Democrats are divided, too. They are sympathetic to the struggles of immigrants, legal and illegal alike…. But the Democrats are also mindful that the undocumented compete with legal immigrants for the lowest-skilled jobs. (Magnusson, Elgin)
After learning the public’s opinion about undocumented immigrants, I decided to search for scholarly articles about immigration policy generally. Searching the effect of the skilled and unskilled labor on immigration laws and policies, I came across an article written by Geoffrey Colvin, “On Immigration Policy, We’ve got it backward.” It was published in the famous online business magazine “Fortune” on sep5, 2005. What made me choose this article specifically is that it also explained and answered many questions I had had before. One of them is why Immigrants are whether in the very bottom or in the top jobs of the American society. The writer starts by distinguishing two types of immigrants- immigrants with H1-B Visas and illegal immigrants. The first type is those working in very sophisticated jobs. The second is those working in the bottom jobs-dishwashing, meat processing, and etc. He then explains how both immigrants come to the USA, and how they behave when they get here: Group one observes the rules meticulously. When they get here, they pay taxes, sometimes in quite large amounts. By law, they're here only because no American is available to do the work they're doing, and that work is so valuable that it helps U.S. companies create more jobs for Americans…… Group two is just the opposite. Many of them violate the rules, not only in entering the U.S. but by using forged documents once they're here. Many of them also evade taxes, and some of them, by working illegally at below-market wages, take jobs from U.S. citizens who follow the rules. (Colvin) In spite of all the huge difference between the groups, the U.S. policy in practice let hundreds of thousands of group number two enter the country every year. On the other hand, the immigration policy severely restricts the number admitted for group number one and keeps it effectively under the legal limit (Colvin).
Lately, there have been many proposals to legalize undocumented aliens. The most famous proposal of course is President Bush’s. Searching the Pro Quest database, I found an article about another proposal by black lawmaker. The article is written by David Bacon and it was published in the People’s Weekly World magazine.
Unlike Bush’s proposal, which would allow immigrants to stay just for three or six years and leave, their bill would legalize undocumented people who have lived five years in the U.S., have an understanding of the American culture and have no criminal record: Co-sponsored by nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the bill would legalize undocumented people who have lived five years in the United States, have a basic understanding of English and U.S. culture and have no criminal record…Bush proposes that immigrants come for three or six years and then leave. "But people are human," Jackson Lee explains. "They might have married, invested or tried to buy a house. They might have children and roots here. (Bacon)
What about the arguments of deporting illegal immigrants instead of legalizing them? I looked for an essay that discussed these arguments, and it was very easy to find. Searching the Expanded Academic ASAP Plus, I found an article written by John O’Sullivan for the National Review magazine titled “Tearing up the Country: Legalizing the Illegals Will Kill Jobs and Fray the Social Fabric.” Although this source was totally against what I’m trying to prove, I consider it my most useful source, simply because through this essay, I learned the fears the average American has of immigrants generally- legal and illegal. The essay is mainly attacking president Bush’s proposal for immigration reform. The writer focused on five main points:
1-Unemployment:
Sullivan is attacking those arguing that the main purpose for immigration is employment: Employers are trying to fill the demand for employees through foreign labor. O’Sullivan is saying that this is completely untrue, simply because there are roughly eight million registered unemployed; moreover, others have given up trying to find work. Even when some jobs are created, the unemployment rate doesn’t fall proportionally, because more people are entering the labor force (John O’Sullivan).
The analogy here is completely untrue. It is true there is a huge number of unemployed Americans, but the immigrants coming in aren’t the reasons. As stated by Geoffrey Colvin in my previous source, immigrants are employed in fields where there are labor shortages, specifically the top and bottom jobs. Nobody has ever heard about an American competing with a legal immigrant for a dishwashing job. Moreover, the sophisticated alien labor helps developing more jobs for Americans (Colvin).
2-Poverty
Sullivan is arguing that immigration worsens U.S. poverty:
Immigration worsens U.S. poverty in two ways. First, immigrants add directly to the population of the poor. Rubenstein points out that about 16 percent of America's poor are immigrants….Second, immigration adds to poverty indirectly by driving down the income and employment rates of poorer Americans through economic competition. In 2002, poverty rates for black Americans rose and their median household income fell. Many black Americans are being pushed into the underclass by immigration (John O’Sullivan).
I can’t argue with such a fact. Immigrants do add directly and indirectly to the population of the poor. But what difference will it make to recognize the poverty that exists right now in the society! It is already there. What I’m asking for is to recognize these poor immigrants, and this will be the first step to overcome their poverty. By legalizing those undocumented immigrants, we give them the access to many jobs and the motive to achieve the American dream, which will ultimately lead to wiping poverty out Also, legalizing them will add taxes to the state’s revenue. America is losing enormous amounts of money because illegal immigrants can’t pay taxes, even if they want to.
3- population
Sullivan argues that immigration accounts directly and indirectly for two-thirds of the current U.S. population growth. Immigration accounts directly and indirectly for approximately two- thirds of current U.S. population growth; and this process is picking up speed. The Census Bureau had predicted (in its 1990 Middle Series projections) that between now and 2050, the population would grow to 328 million without immigration and to 404 million on present immigration trends (John O’Sullivan).
Believe it or not, legalizing illegal immigrants will actually help stop illegal immigration. As stated before, the main reason for having illegal immigrants coming through the borders is that those people are needed by business owners. There is a demand that needs to be supplied. Legalizing them will supply such demands. Once the business owners are satisfied there will be no reason to have weak borders. Even if this may seem like an encouragement to other people abroad to come to the U.S. illegally, honestly speaking, if America wants to secure its borders it will. It is because of the investors who need cheap labor this borders are still unsecured. If we satisfy the needs of these business owners, we will be able to secure the borders and stop illegal immigration.
4-Healthcare:
The writer is considering immigrants as a major component of the healthcare problem.
Immigration is also a major component of the health-care problem. Take merely one statistic from a recent CIS study: Almost half (46 percent) of persons in immigrant households either have no insurance or have it provided to them at taxpayer expense. Nor is that the only cost immigration imposes on the health-care system. (John O’Sullivan)
By law, ER units must treat all sick people regardless of the ability to pay back the hospital back. Illegal immigrants are using this law and go to the ER on a regular basis. Having no social security, the illegal immigrants can’t be tracked and billed by the hospital.
5-Crime:
Finally, Sullivan is trying to blame the immigrants for the high rates of crimes in the areas where they live. Unfortunately, the political and law enforcement authorities turn a blind eye (John O’Sullivan).
Throughout his essay, all what Sullivan is doing is stating the problem, which I agree with him in most cases. However, he never proposes a solution for it. Even if he does, it would be deporting all illegal immigrants, which would lead to an enormous number of problems. It is a fact that the system is depending in a significant way on immigrants that it can’t give immigration up. It may be true that immigrants are causing social problem like crimes and more. But it is also true that this is only a result of the current policy. Nobody chooses to be a criminal and live his life in jail. Finding no jobs, being discriminated against, and counted as second class citizens-in case they manage to be legal- are the reasons for these social outcomes. Only through reforming these communities, not through whipping them off, we can solve these problems.
There are more benefits besides the above mentioned ones of legalizing undocumented aliens. In an article published in The Wall Street Journal argues the writer, Eduardo Porter, that broad legalization would cut immigration. It is titled “Broad Legalization Would Cut Immigration --- Business and Labor May Find Common Ground, Study Says.” As stated before, the writer explains that the labor market is like any other market: It is controlled by supply and demand. If we supply the demand inside, we will not need to import outside labor (porter).
Moreover, the writer argue that legalizing aliens will help raising their wage, hence reduce the competition- if it exists- between American and foreign labor.
A comprehensive legalization plan plus an ample new visa program would achieve this, he adds, because legalizing immigrant labor would make it more expensive. Indeed, the academic cites a study by the Department of Labor that found that in the years after the previous amnesty for undocumented workers in 1986, wages for the legalized immigrants rose by about 15%. (Porter)
Finally, there is no doubt that illegal immigration causes a huge problem to the U.S. But the solution is to legalize these immigrants, not to kick them out. Not only because it is morally wrong to deport someone who has established a life in a country he is trying to belong to, but also because the system depends on these immigrants just as much as they depend on the system. Let us imagine what will happen if we hire Americans in dishwashing jobs. The wages will be higher of course than for the illegal alien. This will ultimately increase the prices generally. Also, legalizing the illegal immigrant will not heart the system like deporting them. They will still be inside the U.S. They might have a little increase in pay, but it won’t big enough to heart the economy, on the contrary, it would even narrow the difference between American’s wages and immigrant’s, which is good for the American labor.
Honestly speaking, The U.S. immigration system is one of the best systems n our world, comparing to the European systems. Also, I never planned to attack the system in this research paper; on the contrary; I’m completely grateful to it. I wouldn’t be asking this if this is happening in my country. But this is America. As we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. And this is a great country in almost every aspect of its life. That is why it has a great responsibility towards all aspects of its life, including the immigration system.








Works Cited
Bacon, David. “Black Lawmakers urge Legalizing Immigrants.” People’s Weekly World Sep11-Sep17, 2004. P8. Pro Quest Research Library. George Meson University Lib., 18 Nov. 2005.
Colvin, Geoffrey. “On Immigration Policy, We’ve got it Backward.” Fortune Sep 5, 2005. P44. Expanded Academic ASAP Plus index. George Meson University Lib., 18 Nov. 2005.
Magnusson, Paul. Elgin, Ben. “Go Back Where You Came from: Across the Country, a Grassroots Backlash is Building.” Business Week July 4, 2005. P86. Expanded Academic ASAP Plus index. George Meson University Lib., 18 Nov. 2005.
O’Sullivan, John. “Tearing up the country: Legalizing the illegals will kill jobs and fray the social fabric.” National Review. Feb 9, 2004. P33. Expanded Academic ASAP Plus index. George Meson University Lib., 18 Nov. 2005.
Porter, Eduardo. “Broad Legalization Would Cut Immigration --- Business and Labor May Find Common Ground, Study Says.” Wall Street Journal. Aug29, 2001. PA.2 Pro Quest Research Library. George Meson University Lib., 18 Nov. 2005.

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