Experts defend a comprehensive immigration reform
ASU Computer science student and Deferred Action for Child Arrivals recipient Perla Martinez,18, and her family are one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country trying to get legal status even though President Donald Trump's administration points to stricter migratory policies.
Estimates of the US Department of State predict the government will end the 2017 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 until Sept. 30, having issued about 10 percent fewer immigrant visas than the previous year.
This will be the first time in three years that the number of issued visas will drop. From the fiscal years of 2014 until 2016, reports show an increase of almost 25 percent of immigrant visas issued.
Martinez said that coming from the southern part of Mexico makes it difficult for people to qualify for visas to come to the United States. Martinez and her mother crossed the border when she was five to meet her father, who had already crossed to the U.S. in search of a better life.
“There’s no procedure for us to become legal right now. My parents have looked for several ways to see if we could actually manage to get something but there really isn’t a way right now,” Martinez said.
There are currently two major pathways of getting legal residency in the United States, according to ASU law professor Angela Banks.
One of them is through family that already has legal status in the country. American citizens and legal residents can sponsor and help bring their family members to the United States.
A U.S. permanent resident's child over 21 years of age can apply for an extended family visa. For most nationalities, the wait time to get a green card in these cases is almost eight years. If you are Mexican, however, you can wait up to 21 years in line.
The other way of getting in the country is through employment-based visas that require particular sets of skills and are aimed to people with academic credentials or white-collar work experience.
“If you’re not someone that fits into one of these categories, then the green card isn’t available to you,” Banks said.
Advocate for No More Deaths, Chris Fleischman, believes that one of the solutions would be having a temporary work program that actually met the needs of low-skilled workers and employees.
“If you just look at keeping people out, then you’re not going to improve immigration. You have to have an economic plan that is long-term, humane and good for labor,” he said.
Professor Banks says she defends a comprehensive immigration reform and thinks the government should discuss visa options for low-skilled workers, which is one of the main areas people are interested in hiring.
“Until we get an immigration system that actually reflects the reality of the situation, I think we’re going to continue to have significant debates in this country about immigration,” she said.
Humanitarian Efforts Conflict at the Arizona Border
In an effort to save the lives of migrants crossing the border through the dangerous mountain terrain, humanitarians like No More Deaths leaves water and supplies along the trail.
However, they've been met with opposition. Arizona Border Recon, a group of private citizens who patrol the border detaining drug mules and undocumented immigrants, believe these water stations are false hope, further leading crossers down a dangerous path.
Government and Law Enforcement
Bill Richardson, Chris Fleischman and Tim Foley had lots to say about border and immigration issues, at some point they all touched on some major factors that they feel are a part of the problem. Foley and Fleischman found common ground saying that the government wastes too much money on technology and border patrol agents. While they hold differences in political ideology they both agree that a border wall would be another one of those wastes. Retired Detective Richardson also added that SB 1070 did not help the issue.