Top Pro & Con Arguments


The United States is both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and its policies should reflect these facts.

“For too many years, the conversation has been predicated on a false dichotomy that says America can either honor its history and traditions as a nation of immigrants or live up to its ideals as a nation of laws by enforcing the current immigration system…. The fundamental problem with this debate is that America is, and has always been, both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws…. Indeed, it is precisely because these two visions of the country are intertwined that America cannot be a nation of laws if those laws are antithetical to its history and ideals as a nation of immigrants,” argues Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress [46]

Jawetz concludes, “because the legal immigration system for many years has provided inadequate opportunities for people looking to come to the United States or remain here, an extralegal system has evolved that consists of both unauthorized migration itself and formal and informal policies to not disrupt a generally mutually beneficial arrangement…. [R]estoring the rule of law requires extending a path to citizenship for the broader undocumented population.” [46]

American immigration law has not been updated to deal with the reality of modern illegal immigration. For example, almost half of the undocumented immigrants in the US did not circumvent the Southern border wall; they overstayed their legal visas. [47]

Kalpana Peddibhotla, immigration lawyer, explains, “They entered with a specific purpose and fell out of status for a variety of reasons, only to realize there is no easy mechanism to correct their status violations…. They stay because they built their lives here, bought homes here, had children here.” [47]

The legal immigration system is far too restrictive, preventing those who want to immigrate legally from doing so because they’d have to “wait in line” for decades, immigrants without higher education are limited despite those immigrants fueling the US economy, and immigrants need an American sponsor to even apply, among a litany of other defects in the laws. [48]

Current immigration laws are broken and do not reflect American values as a nation of immigrants. The laws have encouraged the arrival or overstay of undocumented immigrants without offering a path to reconcile their status with the law. [48]

Read More