Diplomatic differences: Jefferson’s contrasting views on immigration

The 2016 Presidential Election will take place on Nov. 8.

Photo courtesy of animalinstances.com

The 2016 Presidential Election will take place on Nov. 8.

Amitesh Kotwal, Ishaan Gandhi, and Ian Moritz

[Full versions of the articles published in the September 2016 issue of tjTODAY are featured below]

Democratic – Junior Amitesh Kotwal

The 2016 election is two months away, concluding a crazy election season. With 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States currently, immigration is a decisive issue in this election, being “very important” to 70% of registered voters, according to the Pew Research Center.

Democratic proposals towards fixing the system are a step in the right direction. Under President Obama, enforcement has been focused on immigrants who pose a threat to safety. Other democratic proposals include promoting a path to naturalization, strengthening border security and keeping families together. Hillary Clinton also supports expanded access to healthcare and work permits known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiated by President Obama. Together, these proposals not only protect our country and grow its economy, but also help immigrants who are stuck in a backlogged system.

Republican proposals entail good intentions but flawed ideas. For example, “enforcing the law” with no amnesty and deporting 11 million immigrants would cost between 400 and 600 billion dollars while hurting economic growth. Many Republicans have also proposed “E-verify”, which creates an enormous database of all legal workers to ensure that employers fire undocumented immigrants. However, as the American Civil Labor Union points out, there is too much room for error; even a 1% error rate would unfairly lead to 1.5 million people becoming unemployed.

Donald Trump has tapped into deep American frustration with a problematic immigration system; yet, his proposal to build a wall is not viable at all. Most pressing is how he will receive funding, since Mexico has denied to pay for Trump’s at least 1,000 mile long and 40 foot high wall. Any tariffs or fees by Trump would adversely hurt the U.S. economy and likely violate NAFTA regulations. Furthermore, geographic obstacles like the Rio Grande River would make construction difficult, especially since a 1970 treaty has ensured continuous flow of the rivers. Building a wall also requires superfluous eminent domain to acquire surrounding land.

Republicans’ incomplete proposals and Trump’s infeasible policies won’t get us anywhere. Although they aren’t perfect, Clinton’s proposals do what’s necessary and demonstrate a more feasible approach. They allow us to grow an American economy that thrives on immigrants while ensuring our safety at home. Additionally, they leave room for a better solution to address border security in the future. Ironically, immigration is more important to Trump’s supporters, even though Clinton’s got it right.


Republican – Senior Ishaan Gandhi

While stories about the immigration plan at the top of the Republican ticket dominate news cycles, moderate Republicans have been trying to get their message out: our immigration system needs to be fixed.

Take, for example, the issue of immigrants who come to the United States legally, but overstay their visas. Estimates show that this group comprises a full 40% of all illegal immigrants in the United States today.  Many Republicans have proposed measured steps to solve this problem.  Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) came out in favor of tracking aliens who enter the country on a visa using existing biometric technology.  When their visas expire, they can be returned home.  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) favors mandating employers to use E-Verify to make sure all workers are properly documented.  Both solutions make it harder to live and work in the US on an expired visa, and both have the potential to be highly effective.

Republicans have strong solutions not only on the issue of immigrants who overstay visas, but also on the issue of H1B fraud.  H1B visas are special visas given to the highly skilled immigrant employees of tech companies who claim they cannot find American workers qualified to fill positions.  For the past 15 years, however, H1B visa fraud has grown rampant – corporations have falsely claimed they could not find qualified American workers in order to hire foreign workers for less. Many Republicans support tough regulations to go after corporations who cheat the H1B visa program for profit.  Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), for example, supports permanently closing the H1B option to corporations who cheat.  Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) supports increasing the minimum wage for H1B visa holders to discourage corporations from laying off American workers and hiring H1B visa holders to save costs.
Behind the bombast and rhetoric of Trump exists a party begging to be heard out on the issue of immigration.  I hope you will give them a listen.


Libertarian – Junior Ian Moritz

I’ve found that students at our school lean liberal on social issues, but are scattered across the political spectrum regarding foreign policy, approaches to the economy and immigration. Regarding immigration, I myself have considered many questions. How do immigrants, both legal and illegal, affect crime and terrorism rates?  Do they benefit the economy? Would a wall work?

“A bigger border fence will only produce taller ladders” Gary Johnson, the 2016 Libertarian Presidential candidate, said. Along with creating taller ladders, a wall could dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), bring about recession and transform the United States into the laughingstock of the international community. I think many students at Jefferson have realized this for themselves.  

However, Libertarians have considered my other two questions, supporting their beliefs with solid evidence. While little accurate data exists on the crime rates of immigrants, we know that immigration does not induce terrorism, according to the University of Chicago and other sources. Economists and think­ tanks, such as the Hoover Institute, also widely believe that immigration provides a net benefit to the economy.

The goal of Libertarianism is to reduce the role of government. It’s really that simple. The party has confidence that unrestricted trade, limited government tariffs and the free movement of people stimulate growth in all nations. Gary Johnson has repeatedly called for increasing the number of work visas as a way to supply our own economy with labor while concurrently employing immigrants.  

The government’s artificial immigration restrictions need change. Clinton’s Democrats propose creating “comprehensive reform,” but have conveniently forgotten to disclose what that means. Trump’s Republicans have a plan, but it is riddled with ignorance. The best option, the Libertarian option, is to let the free market distribute employment efficiently for everyone.  

In other words, let’s issue more visas, and then leave immigration alone. Laissez­faire.