Immigration has been the topic of most headlines since President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel for 90 days from seven “terrorist hot spots” and immigration from the same countries for 120 days. It has since been ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Trump’s immigration ban has been the most popular executive order from this administration among Americans, with an approval rating of 55 percent. This is because most Americans realize immigration needs controlled; however, the manner this administration has gone about obtaining that control needs some tweaking.
The first issue lies with the travel ban; at first the ban affected an estimated 500,000 green card holders from re-entering the country from trips overseas. This has since been remedied by the Department of Homeland Security, and now green card holders can once again travel freely. However, those affected still include holders of temporary visas — namely, 25,000 students and employees.
The executive order was put in place to prevent entry from countries identified as terrorist hot spots. Interestingly though, the countries Trump has business ties to were not included in the ban, even though the numbers of successful terrorists attacks from these countries were much higher than the countries listed in the ban.
Saudi Arabia is first on a list of reported terrorists ranked by murders committed, with Egypt clocking in at third. The first country to show up on the list from Trump’s immigration ban, Iran, appears on the list at No. 26. If Trump is truly basing his ban on terrorism, he should look more closely at the reported numbers.
The reality of immigration is that we are a country founded by immigrants; thus, we need to continue to allow immigration to the U.S. That being said, we also need to allow entrance to immigrants with a desire to build a better life in the U.S compared with their home country.
In order to do this, we need careful and strong vetting as Trump has emphasized as an immigration priority. For national security, we need to be cautious of possible safety threats. But on the other hand, we need to be empathetic to those searching for protection from war and violence.
As a country, we also need to make sure the people we are welcoming have intentions to lead a legal, productive life and eventually become legal citizens. This is not an easy process; in 2014 over 2 million immigrants came to the U.S. Over a million of these become legal permanent residents (green card holders). After five years, these green card holders can apply for naturalization. Balancing the flow of new immigrants versus how many existing immigrants are becoming citizens is crucial for immigration control.
Another important factor of immigration is watching how many immigrants are utilizing welfare services. A shocking and disconcerting amount of legal immigrants take part in at least one welfare program: In 2012, 51 percent of immigrant families compared with 30 percent of U.S families. Immigrants’ dependence on welfare should be continuously monitored. The U.S should not allow immigrants to enter the country only to live off welfare programs; their work history needs to be monitored while living in the U.S.
Immigration is a flawed system, and it stems from problems with immigrants and their occasional unwillingness to become productive members of society, along with the immigration system and its strenuous citizenship process. The U.S. should have stringent immigration laws, which Trump emphasized in his ban, but his plan was too narrowly focused on terrorism and failed both to provide help to those in need and to consider current green card and visa holders.