Sara B. Minnesota

Letter to the Next President

What I believe should be done about the US immigration system

Dear Next President,

As the population in the US rises, the demand for more workers does too. Immigrants make up a large amount of blue collar workers. If we continue to deport them at our current rate, not only will we be separating families, but we will be harming our workforce as well. I believe that our immigration system is broken and needs to be reformed by being more humane towards illegal immigrants.

Many people that are against giving illegal immigrants citizenship argue that most of the immigrants that come here are criminals. But according to Ana Gonzalez-Barrera and Jens Manuel Krogstad of the Pew Research Center, 438,000 illegal immigrants were deported in 2013. That’s the highest deportation numbers have ever been. And of those 438,000 people, 240,000 had not committed any crimes other than entering this country. So, in reality, immigrants aren’t being deported for committing crimes, but just for being here. They do not pose a criminal threat to this country. If we gave these people citizenship, their criminal records would be just like those of native-born citizens.

The deportation of non-criminal immigrants also separate families. Elise Foley of the Huffington Post reports that 72,000 immigrant parents of US-born children were deported in 2013. While some children are put in foster care, others are never even checked in on by the government. Diane Guerrero’s book In the Country We Love, she speaks about having both of her parents and her brother deported while she was at school. She says she came home and all of them were gone. But even worse, she says no government official ever came to check in on her. She was taken in by her friend’s family and never had any support from the government whatsoever. Imagine this happening to thousands of children throughout the country, having nobody to take care of them at all. We can’t allow these children to be left alone anymore.

People also argue that illegal immigrants should be deported because they’re “stealing jobs” from American citizens. Steven Camarota and Karen Zeigler of the Center for Immigration studies report that of 465 civilian occupations, only four of them are occupied by a majority of immigrants. And those four occupations account for less than 1% of the total US workforce. This means that immigrants barely take up any jobs at all. Illegal immigrants are also taking the jobs that native-born citizens aren’t willing to do. Steve Baragona of reports that when the United Farm Workers launched a campaign towards thousands of unemployed people for jobs, only three people accepted. Farmers report that they’ve tried to hire Americans for the tough job, but they can’t find anyone willing to do it. Since immigrants make up so much of the workforce that no one else wants to do, the businesses would be devastated if we deported the illegal immigrants. Andy Kierz of Business Insider reports that $381.5 billion-$623.2 billion would be lost if we removed all illegal immigrants from the workforce.

Illegal immigrants are not a threat to US citizens or workers. The majority of them aren’t criminals and have children here that they need to take care of. They’re just trying to have a better life, and some end up having their family torn apart for it. If we give citizenship to non-criminal illegal immigrants, we would be saving the blue-collar workforce and immigrant families. These people do not deserve to be deported because they are not a threat to the US in any way, so we need to reform our immigration system and start being more humane to immigrants.

Thank you,

Sara Bachmeier-Flores

Grade 10

Mendota Heights, MN