In the, one of the hottest debated topics at the moment is immigration, having caused much controversy over a wide variety of topics, including jobs, voting behavior, crime, and economic benefits. The heated debate has prompted the lawmakers to introduce many a proposal. While only few have actually become laws, one of the most popular proposals out there right now is known as The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act which is also called Arizona Senate Bill 1070.
Arizona Senate Bill 1070
This Act, originally signed into law on April 23, 2010, was supposed to go into effect on July 29, 2010, but a day before, a federal judge ended up blocking most of the law’s provisions by issuing an injunction. According to the Arizona Act, an “alien” within the United States must be carrying his/her registration documents at all times if he/she is within the country for longer than 30 days. If not, this Act states that such a person is committing a state misdemeanor crime. Along with this, police officers are required to find out an individual’s immigration status if they are stopped for certain reasons or arrested. Also, those who are found guilty of sheltering or transporting illegal aliens may face much harsher sentencing.
The Act faced intense criticism soon after its introduction with many people pointing to the notion of racial profiling. Largely owing to these criticisms, the law was changed somewhat within a week of being signed to address some of the issues. Supporters of this law, on the other hand, state that it is a great idea because it prevents the race from being the only trait for looking at investigation status. The criticisms have been followed by many protests. In fact, it is known that there have been protests opposing this law in over 70 major US cities along with boycotts.
Startup Act 2.0
Instead of simply focusing on keeping immigrants out and putting up some giant fence somewhere, others are trying to focus on the goal of jobs. In this case, many are debating and discussing the Startup 2.0 Act.
While the title of the Bill sounds interesting, what is it actually designed to do?
According to The Christian Science Monitor, “The Bill would offer 50,000 new visas so that US-educated foreign students achieving a master’s degree or PhD in so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, or mathematics — can receive green cards. It likewise offers 75,000 visas for entrepreneurs who have legally immigrated to the US to stay in the US for up to three years. Both options also include a path for the visa recipients to become permanent residents or American citizens.” (Read: Startup Act 2.0: Could it be an immigration breakthrough?)
Benefits like these would shake up the current system as Americans know it today. Currently, foreigners who have studied in top schools in the US or want to start businesses hardly have the same opportunities that natural-born citizens do.
It is a known fact that the labour force in the US is growing at an extremely slow rate. Along with less immigration, more productivity will be needed from a smaller labour force in order for economic output to increase. This is a dangerous plan to continue with. Immigration can pump more innovation and power into the current markets, as has been backed by researches.
Again, according to The Christian Science Monitor, “A study by Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Enterprise Institute found that every immigrant with a graduate degree from a US university working in a STEM field creates 2.62 subsequent American jobs.” It has also said stemming immigration results in less talent and a sharp decline in the nation’s current economic output.
However, owing to the status of economy today and an upcoming election, a debate on immigration reforms will be going on for a while as things like jobs and economic benefits take the front seat.