The Immigration Issue: What’s Going On At The Border

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Andrees Latif-Reuters

Two unaccompanied minors cross the US-Mexico border.

Elise Newman

The United States of America has famously been known as the “melting pot,” but as two political parties butt heads, it’s unsure whether the melting pot will slow to a simmer or burst into flames.

From first being donned the melting pot in the late 18th century, to now having 47 million immigrants call the United States home, immigration has always been a prevalent issue in American history. In recent years, immigration has become a more political topic, but if there’s one thing that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on, it’s that the current border situation is a problem.

“At this point, we have a situation where it [the US-Mexico border] is completely out of control…The key to fixing this problem is our Democratic elected officials have to stand up. They need to put the inhumanity of these failed border policies above the party,” Jeff Self said.

Self was the Chief of Border Control in Tucson, Arizona for almost thirty years. He recently retired, but is respected among many in the federal government, especially after receiving the Meritorious Presidential Rank award in 2011, from President Obama.

As Self pointed out, the inhumanity of what is going down at the border is the real issue, not what political party you support. Right now, immigrants who reach the US-Mexico border are seeking asylum. Asylum is a government given protection, given to an immigrant who can prove that they are unable or unwilling to return to their former country due to persecution or the fear of impending persecution. At this point in time, because of the pandemic, the United States is only letting unaccompanied minors seek asylum.

As people seek asylum and are trying to immigrate to the United States, the government is being called to action. President Biden recently enacted the U.S. Citizenship Act, which will allow individuals to apply for temporary legal status and attempt to keep families together.

“The legislation I sent to Congress will bring about much needed change to an immigration system where reform is long overdue,” President Biden said.

The act went into place on Biden’s first day in office; however, since then, nearly 97,000 migrants crossed the border illegally in February 2021. The amount of people immigrating right now is very high and it is only projected to grow.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that 2021 will bring the highest number of immigrants on the US-Mexico border in the last twenty years. Due to the vast amount of people, Dr. Tom Wong, Associate Professor of Political Science and founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center, calls for the border situation to be addressed.

“One of the dangers of using phrases like ‘crisis’ to describe what is happening at the southern border is that what the policy response tends to be, is more resources, more personnel, more border security efforts, when what we really have is a humanitarian issue that needs to be addressed,” Wong said.

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, it’s easy to see that the US-Mexico border is facing current, major immigration issues that need to be addressed and handled properly.