The Other Side: Immigration


graphic by Yasmin Haq

Immigration is a very contentious current issue, especially under the Trump administration.

The Republican Party is not opposed to legal immigration. The conservative viewpoint, which supports upholding traditional American values, strongly believes in the American dream and people moving to the United States to pursue opportunity and work hard to meet their goals. It’s widely acknowledged that immigrants enrich the American melting-pot culture of diversity and hard work.

Republicans acknowledge that immigrants provide an important labor force, too, and they support legislation that increases the number of issued H-1B visas (work visas) and expands the H-2A program, which brings in foreign labor to work in agriculture. 

However, these points are made toward legal immigration. Yes, it’s really hard to get into the country legally, especially now. But Republicans see a reason for that. They support a selective immigration process to try to ensure that the people coming into the country are not a threat to national safety and have good intentions and goals.

While the party supports having a selective process, it can be agreed that making the process less complicated could encourage more immigrants to do things the right way.  Many Republicans would prefer to make the immigration process more lax if it means they know who is in the country rather than continue to keep it strict and have so many undocumented people living here. 

Republicans, and even Trump voters, support changing the immigration system — a CNN poll cites 80% of Trump supporters are supportive of immigration reform. While this number doesn’t include what kind of change is supported, the most popular belief is that we need stricter border security so we know who is coming in and out of the country as a matter of national security and public safety. Party members support reforms that discourage illegal immigration, which they see as an issue as well as being unfair to people that come into the country the right way. 

The Republican Party’s primary stance regarding immigration is the widespread belief that illegal immigrants should not receive government benefits. While undocumented immigrants are not officially eligible for government programs such as food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, enforcement of legislation like DACA, Plyer vs. Doe and the DREAM Act drain a significant amount of resources from government (the Title I budget in 2018 was 15.9 billion). The federal budget covers the meals and education of about one and a half million (according to the Pew Hispanic Center) undocumented children. 

Republicans primarily believe in smaller federal government and already disapprove of its sizable deficit and the fact that numerous people who are U.S. citizens are in need of aid already. This leads many to disagree with the enforcement of legislation like this, especially DACA, which was never authorized by congress but was passed as a presidential memorandum. 

These viewpoints could be seen as cold, but Republicans and conservatives both are most concerned with the safety of the American people and smaller federal government.