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Democrats and Republicans

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The immigration in the United States is considered one of the greatest social problems that the country has been facing for years. Yet, one cannot fail to remember that immigrants built the country, and today each person carries in his/her blood some kind of history. With that being said, it is important to investigate the views regarding immigration of the two major parties in the country. The issues relating to politics, especially the illegal immigration issues have been hotly debated immigration. The immigrants have played an important role in shaping the economy and life in the United States. Currently the immigrants, both legal and illegal ones,  affect the wages and the availability of jobs, as most of the immigrants are willing to work for less money. Apart from the effects such as the increase in the population, the immigrants have been the major source of population growth in the United States.

This study was focused on establishing the government initiatives geared towards relieving the tension caused by immigration in American society. It is interesting to know the arguments and point of view of each party in relation to immigration and even try to understand where this issue is responsible for the economic situation of America. This study had the goals of addressing the actions taken by each of the platforms of government in relation to immigration in the country since the elections of 1964 to the present day.

The United States, throughout its history, has been somewhat receptive to immigrants. However, one cannot forget that there were times when the nation rejected and discriminated against foreigners such as Chinese, Europeans, and Hispanics, especially Mexicans, among many others. However, in the end, it always amended and re-opened its doors to immigrants. "Our immigration policy should be generous; must be fair; must be flexible," wrote the future president John F. Kennedy in 1958 in his book "A Nation of Immigrants," published in 1964. "With such a policy, we can look at the world and our own past, with clean hands and conscience."

Certainly, one factor is the economic crisis and the fact that many Americans blame illegal immigrants unfairly for the economic and social crisis in the country. Some politicians have realized that they can gain power by exploiting the widespread suspicion that immigrants take jobs from citizens and empty government reserves. Attacking illegal immigrants who have no one to represent their interests, they can cause a boost needed to win elections [17]. Moreover, from the previous studies, there are many Latinos in the United States willing to vote for candidates who really understand the Hispanic community and are able to defend it against unfair attacks, if that type of candidate were available.

An individual, who believes to a certain TV channel, or the tirades of many right-wing politicians, may have the impression that almost all Americans reject immigration reform. However, throughout history this fact has proven the opposite. In 1986, Ronald Reagan, who was a Republican president, signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control amnesty that assisted millions of immigrants proving that both parties have interest on the topic [16]. Immigration is a social issue in the United States, yet it is part of the American society, thus making America unique.

Goal of the study

 The goal of this study was to analyze whether there is development of immigration policies offered by Democratic and Republican political parties. The aim of the study was focused on analyzing the development of the immigration policies offered by Democratic and Republican political parties. 

Objectives

1. To determine how Democrats and Republicans act towards immigration in the United States.

2. To establish the policies or reforms approved or proposed by these platforms.

Problem statement and justification

Immigration in the United States is considered one of the major social problems that the country has been facing for many years. It is important to know the measures put in place by the two political parties to relieve the tension caused by the immigration. Both parties have different points of view on the immigration issue. This is because the immigration issue affects the economy. For an extended period, the United States has been receptive of the immigrants. The economic, political and social aspects have caused major controversy concerning ethnicity, job opportunities, economic benefits and settlement patterns. It has led to the upward social mobility and crime rates. This study aimed at addressing the platforms put in place by the government in relation to the increased rate of immigration in the country. The Americans blame illegal immigrants for the economic crisis of the nation.

Literature Review

Effects of immigration on the labor market and jobs availability

Many studies have been conducted on immigration in the United States. While some argue that immigration is a threat to American society, since the immigrants get into society and obtain jobs intended for the American citizens, others argue that immigration is a matter of necessity and it favors the continued economic situation in mobility. Moreover, it is argued that immigration needs a policy reform, regardless the political party and the role of the government on the issue.

Authors who argue about the case of immigrants taking jobs from citizens are divided into two groups: those who believe that these immigrants fulfilling the vacancies at the same time create more work opportunities because they create an increase in demand for services, such as purchase of goods, clothes and food. The other group believes that these workers only have the chance to get these jobs because Americans do not accept jobs with low salaries. If immigrants were not in America, the employers would be obliged to increase wages to attract American citizens to obtain various job positions. Immigrants take jobs that natives do not want due to the low wages offered by these jobs.

In addition, a different group believes in humanitarian (asylum and refugee) and non-humanitarian immigration (family and labor). Accepting refugees and asylum applicants from a hostile regime may be an opportunity to import valuable human capital and country-specific knowledge about an adversary [4]. Non-humanitarian migration exhibits the opposite opinion: diplomatic relations are enhanced through family, commercial, and social linkages created by migration flows.

Effects of immigration on Politics

The previous studies concluded that illegal immigration is a debatable topic in the United States. The immigration topic usually reinforces the divisions between Republican and Democratic political parties. It also raises issues with the social and the liberal conservatories, leading to conflicts between the overpopulated Border States, in which immigration has helped in mitigation of the net losses in population. Furthermore, the immigrants coming to the United States have differing political views. However, the Democratic Party is far stronger in its immigrants` support.  Immigration has led to the development of the ethnic lobby groups with special interests. The majority of the pro immigration lobby groups influence the foreign policy.  This has consequently led to the increase in tension and the elections are based on the electoral races. The ethnical political influence affects the party politics as several groups compete for political powers within the party. However, the current ethnic groups do not have much power in foreign policies and therefore, can be used to stabilize other special interest groups [22].

Role of the religion and government on immigration

 The United States is a religious nation and it uses its Christian beliefs to explain immigration. Some scholars study how Christian citizens use the Bible as a manner to observe immigration. They distinguish immigration in the Bible as a way to explain how immigrants should be treated and not with regards to the state regulations. For these Christians, it is morally illegitimate for a nation’s government to make distinctions in public policy based on a person’s citizenship, nationality, global residence or birth.

 Previous research shows that religious affiliation of the immigrants has significant impacts on social values, consequently affecting the immigrants` voting patterns . Much is spoken about the government's control over the policies, but it is known that this control will never be absolute. Immigration goes beyond borders, and is the involvement of human, social and political rights that are in many cases overlooked and left aside. Reducing the autonomy and power of the state over immigration is seen as an alternative for some scholars. The United States may insist on treating immigration as the aggregate outcome of individual actions and as distinct and autonomous from other major geopolitical and transnational processes.

Whereas there are different opinions regarding immigration issues in the United States, a few of them describe in much dept the positions of Democratic and Republican parties related to the topic. This study intended to analyze the position of each of these parties along the years, starting from the elections of 1964, to compare the policies and understand how much effort was put towards solving immigration problems within the territory of the United States.

Methodology

 The methodology used in this study involved the study of the views on immigration of  both the Republican and the Democratic parties` platforms. Both parties have held conventions where they nominate their respective presidential candidates and set their parties platforms, representing their visions and positions on various subjects and issues. The study involved the examination of the two major parties in the United States. The aim of this study was to facilitate the understanding of how most people understand the issue and how they intend to manage the problem in order to improve the life of future generations.  This period of time was chosen for this study because it is a watershed in US immigration history, when in 1965 the quota system was substituted by the Nationality Act, allowing immigrants from all over the world to come to America. National origins quota systems were dismantled in favor of a new preference system that reserved most annual visas for immigrants who have family connections with U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

A study was carried out on each party`s platforms and speeches which facilitated the understanding of the interests of the agendas in each period.  An analysis of the Democratic platform and policies, which they proposed or which might have been approved by the White House, was done. Secondly, a separate study was carried out to determine the Republican platform and their views on immigration during the same period.  A comparison was drawn between the two in a chronological manner. With the help of the CQ Almanac and “The American Presidency Project” it was possible to deeply analyze the difference between the Parties and speeches. It was also possible to study social and economic situation relating to the immigration concurrently, with the intention of uncovering the truth about each of the parties and their real intentions on the case.

Results and discussion

 The comparisons of the differences between the Republican and Democratic views on immigration are summarized in Table 1.

Republicans views

Democrats Views

1. Strongly endorse the favor of legal migration to the US as they acknowledge that the legal immigrants make positive contributions to the economy.

1. They favor comprehensive immigration reforms. These reforms support economic goals and reflect the values both as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

2. Oppose illegal immigrants.

They stated in their platform that they strongly oppose any form of amnesty to those who intentionally violate the law, as amnesty respectively encourages more law breaking.

2.  They believe that the current immigration system is broken. This system separates families and undermines honest employers and their workforce. This consequently burdens the law enforcement, leaving majority of people living and working in the shadows.

3. Republicans are strongly against those who practice identity theft, and those dealing with fraudulent documents. They are strict and tough against people using assumed names.

3. They trust that the government needs comprehensive immigration reforms that will bring out the undocumented illegal immigrants. The reforms require that these immigrants get right with the laws.

4. Strongly against illegal labor in the workplace and are determined to protect the Americans from illegal working conditions and low wages.

4. Require that all immigrants get right with the law so that they could start paying taxes and be on the right track to earning honest citizenship.

5. The republicans criticize Obama’s views on immigration, as they believe that it has undermined the rule of the law. They claim that it has created backdoor amnesty, which is not recognized by the law. This program grants work to the illegal aliens and it has no regards to individuals living at the border patrol.

5. Believe that the Republicans have done all they could to block the immigration reforms in the congress and they use this fact as their political wedge against the Democrats.

6. The Republicans encourage the government to buy visas for the illegal aliens and deport them back to their countries.

6. Encourage humane procedures where illegal immigrants are encouraged to return home voluntarily, and enforce the laws against those who fail to comply with this and have their visas expired.

7. Favor the state efforts at passing harsh immigration laws against the illegal immigrants. They acknowledge the efforts put in place by the state to reduce the numbers of illegal immigrants. They believe that the pending lawsuits at the department of Justice against Alabama, Arizona, Utah and South Carolina have to be dismissed.

7. Obama’s administration has enacted a DACA policy, which aims at protecting illegal immigrants such as children who were brought to America by their parents, who are illegal immigrants, and who are pursuing education. Obama’s administration is working hand in hand with the Homeland Security to ensure the deportation of all criminal immigrants who endanger the lives of Americans.

 

8.  The democrats fought for the Dream Act, the legislation which was enforced to ensure that young people who want to contribute to the society and become full citizens and legal residents of the United States are given the opportunity. However, the Republicans decided to politicize the whole issue and make it appear that the Democrats support illegal immigrants in the US.

Table 1. The comparison of the differences between the Republican and Democratic views on immigration 

From the results of this study, it is clear that the parties differ in their views on immigration. It is worth noting that the Republicans favor law enforcement on the illegal immigrants, while on the other hand, the Democrats favor the enactment of comprehensive reforms on immigration. However, both parties have good intentions as they try to improve American nation. However, it is vital to note that they both have different approaches, which are noticeable. From this study, it was possible to unveil which of the parties has leaned more towards a solution of the immigration problem and the one which is opposing the migration movement in the United States.

"The asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part […]." Thomas Paine

The United States of America has been the world’s main receiving nation of immigrants for quite some time. The first wave of immigrants was during the colonial period in the 1600’s. The immigration reached its peak just before the Revolutionary War of 1775. The second major flow began in the 1820’s and lasted until the Great Depression in the early 1870’s. The greatest wave took place from the 1880’s to the early 1920’s. The latest and still going wave began in 1965 due to changes in the U.S. immigration laws, such as the National Origins Act that replaced the quota system used in 1924. Today, this wave is dominate by non-Europeans; Latin American immigrants compose its majority.

Due to the flow of people entering the country it is necessary to have laws regulating the legal entry and permanence of individuals in the USA. The two American parties have always had their own opinions about immigration. Over time, these parties have been including immigration concepts in their campaign platforms; their core beliefs, however, differ.

Republicans believe that every individual has a responsibility for his or her own place in the world. The government has an important role enabling each individual with the capability of securing the societal benefits for themselves and their families. Republicans have a philosophy with the basis of limiting the existing interventions in the role of the government as a catalyst on the success of each individual. In addition, the government has the mandate of intervention in specific cases with the core value that the destiny of an individual needs to be determined by the individual and not the government. The government protection of the weak in the society has to be kept close to the citizens and the community leaders and not to the distant federal agencies.

Democrats, on the other hand, believe that it is the responsibility of the government to provide care for all the citizens. The government has an important role in protecting all the citizens even if it requires the need to give up the subordinating enterprises and initiatives in order to protect all the citizens. Obama’s administration has pushed for the centralization of power in Washington and consideration for the individuals and communities` rights. Democrats have supported the federal interventions aimed at replacing the implementation of the community-based solutions to the problems affecting the communities. This approach has led to creation of many federal regulations and control systems, which were often left in the hands of bureaucrats, leading to the erosion of the local authority`s role.

Republicans acknowledge that the immigrants are seeking better lives, and their services that can enrich life of the nation and make it better. Most of the immigrants to the US are refugees fleeing from oppression and violence in their countries. They are seeking for fresh start and a new life away from their imminent suffering. However, these immigrants can flock into the country with the drug traffickers and gangsters. Moreover, there are more than  50,000 women and children from foreign countries smuggled to the country for forced labour. Therefore, while the nation gets its enrichment from the energy and the determination of the immigrants` diversity, it is important that the nation’s immigration laws and policies are followed to ensure security at the borders. Democrats also recognize the need to secure the borders, including the deployment of additional personnel and infrastructure to the borders and other ports of entry. They view the immigration as an excellent opportunity to renew the American society.

Recommendations and conclusion

America has a long and rich heritage and views on immigration.  For an extended period,  Democrats have embraced the richness in the nation`s diversity. However, Democrats recognize that the current immigration system is broken. Democrats support the enactment of comprehensive reforms, which are grounded on the principles of responsibility and accountability by the citizens.  The comprehensive immigration reforms are important for continued tradition on innovation resulting from the immigrants to the United States.  It is recommended that the federal government takes the responsibility to secure the borders; moreover, Obama’s administration has dedicated resources to secure the borders to reduce the flow of illegal human traffic at both sides.  It is also recommended that the businesses that exploit the labor of illegal immigrants stop exploiting and undermining Americans workers.

It is important for the people living in the United States illegally to take responsibility to admit that they broke the law, and to pay taxes and penalty. They need to follow the right protocol to earn citizenship.

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