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The impact of the anti-immigration laws that have been introduced by Arizona and the participation of Hispanics in the U.S. political system - Research Paper Example

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The immigration issue has been taking the spotlight in recent decades in America. It has been a lingering concern for Americans who are starting to question the long-held mantra that the United States is the land of almost infinite opportunities. …
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The impact of the anti-immigration laws that have been introduced by Arizona and the participation of Hispanics in the U.S. political system
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Download file to see previous pages The immigration issue has been taking the spotlight in recent decades in America. It has been a lingering concern for Americans who are starting to question the long-held mantra that the United States is the land of almost infinite opportunities. There is a growing fear among the citizenry that such limitless opportunities are no longer the case today or that they no longer are as easy as they were in the past. The US government has actually wavered in terms of addressing the issue head-on. For instance from 1960 to 1970, a major immigration policy reform was enacted with the amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and afterwards, many thought that it was enough. No significant immigration policy was introduced well until the 1990s. Recent developments, however, are significantly putting pressure on immigration policymaking. The US is considered to have the highest immigration rates globally and that more than a million people legally immigrate to the country annually, leading foreign-born citizens to constitute 13 percent of the entire American population. (Bardes, Shelley and Schmidt 2008, p. 482) This figure excludes the immigrants that cross the US border illegally. The former American Ambassador to Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow (2007) summed up the prevailing sentiment: While race race-baiting and violent anti-immigrant sentiment had largely disappeared from the American political vernacular, there was a nagging anxiety about the growing number of foreigners in the United States. Americans were asking, “Where did all these people come from? (11)” With the current protracted economic downturn, the high and constant flux of the inflation rate, the governments accumulating debt and budget deficits, as well as the high number of job losses, the public is increasingly fearful that immigrants would take away jobs that should have been taken by Americans in the first place. Surveys conducted from 1960s until today demonstrate the increasing concern of Americans for immigration (Simcox 1997, 129) It is in this respect that the strict anti-immigration policy was enacted by the state of Arizona. This paper will examine the laws enacted by the state against immigration and its impact, particularly in the participation of Hispanics in the American electoral process. Background: The Arizona Anti-Immigration Laws Prior to the enactment of the series of Arizona anti-immigration laws, two significant immigration statutes were enacted in the US: the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). Both of these legislations aim to manage immigration with the former focusing on permanent immigrants instead of the temporary entry in order to check the flow of undocumented migrants; while the latter, enhancing the existing law and including the permission for the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) authorization “to bar reentry to the United States if an alien overstayed his/her visa deadline for departure” (Adams 56). Many were not satisfied with the results of these measures. To borrow Adams’ words: The spirit and framework of both the 1986 and 1996 immigration laws failed to address the grassroots flow of aliens at the source – the official government attitude and immigration policy avoidance by Mexico. In spite of the fact that from 1994 to 2001 (pre-9/11) the annual U.S. border enforcement budget of the INS and the Border Patrol nearly tripled to over $2.5 billion, the immigrant flow continued nearly unchecked (56). A good part of the years after, a growing debate emerged as to how to best address the issue. In 2004, as part of the increasing impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York, immigration policy took an increasing relationship to terrorism and border security. For example, the United States Visitor Immigration Status ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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