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Debate: Deporting illegal immigrants in the US

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Should the US adopt policies to deport all illegal immigrants?

Background and context

Illegal immigration is a significant issue in the United States. While some advocate for deporting all illegal immigrants, as a matter of policies, others say it is too difficult, particularly in the context of there being 15 million of them.

Feasibility: Is mass deportation a viable option?

Pro

  • The US is capable of deporting all illegal immigrants. CNN’s Lou Dobbs said that, "When this president and open-borders, illegal-alien-amnesty advocates say, ‘You can’t deport them,’ my answer is, ‘You wanna bet?’ Because this is the United States."[1]
John Lillpop. "Most distressing is Bush's assertion that deportation of millions of illegal aliens is 'impossible.'" Canada Free Press. January 20, 2007: "How in the world can it be "impossible" for the most powerful and technologically advanced nation in the world to remove criminals who have invaded our nation at time of war?"
  • Deporting illegal immigrants in smaller numbers is feasible. Ian de Silva. "How to Deport 10 Million Illegal Aliens." Human Events. May 18th, 2006: "no one is seriously talking about mass deportation, for anyone with a modicum of common sense knows we could not round up all the illegal aliens at once. [...] However, we can round them up in smaller numbers, and over time, the cumulative effect of round-ups will have an undeniably deterrent effect."

Con

  • Deportation of at least 12 million illegal immigrants would be impractical. To send 12 million illegal immigrants abroad by plane would require about 30,000 flights. To deport that many people by bus would be cheaper, but would still require 240,000 bus loads. Furthermore, these assumptions neglect both the possibility of trial, and the fact that illegal immigrants come from places other than Mexico.


History: How has mass deportation worked in the past?

Pro

  • Mass deportation under Operation Wetback was successful. Operation Wetback was very successful in the removal of nearly one million illegal immigrants from the United States in 1954.

Con

  • Lax enforcement of the Harris Bill highlights the impracticality of mass deportation. Though a bill providing for the stoppage of all immigration to America for five years was passed by a vote of 51-16 in 1922, enforcement was proven to be the primary cause of its ultimate failure.

Economics: Will the deportation of all illegal immigrants support the economy?

Con

  • Immigrants are potential taxpayers and workers, who can contribute to society.

Con

  • Mass deportation would be very expensive. The deportation of all illegal immigrants could cost American taxpayers up to $200 billion.
  • Illegal immigrants deprive Americans of social services such as government welfare, housing, food, and shelter.

Morality: Is mass deportation of illegal immigrants morally acceptable?

Pro

  • Illegal aliens have no moral right to remain in the US. Ian de Silva. "How to Deport 10 Million Illegal Aliens." Human Events. May 18th, 2006: "As a legal immigrant and naturalized American who waited years for a green card, I mince no words when I say I have no sympathy whatsoever for illegal aliens. They have no right to be here, and their claim that their marches are the latest struggle in civil rights is poppycock. At this rate, a burglar who invades your house will have an equal claim of ownership to your house merely because he is inside the house."
  • Deporting illegal immigrants maintains moral goal of security. The primary purpose of the government is to maintain national security of its people. Deporting illegal immigrants, who potentially pose a security risk to US citizens, is potentially a matter of security. This is particularly true when referring to illegal aliens who commit crimes or who are suspected ties to terrorism.


Con

  • The Trail of Tears clearly demonstrates the injustice and hardship caused by mass deportation. "In all some ninety-thousand Indians were relocated. The Cherokee were among the last to go. Some reluctantly agreed to move. Others were driven from their homes at bayonet point. Almost two thousand of them died along the route they remembered as the Trail of Tears."
  • It is the duty of the United States to shield immigrants from hardship they may face in their home country. As the world's leading superpower, it is the responsibility of the United States to serve as a haven for immigrants escaping devastating conditions. Many immigrants are fleeing from famine, war, political strife, or religious persecution, and it is our duty to protect these people by allowing them to take refuge.

Constitutionality: Does the Constitution support the deportation of illegal immigrants?

Pro

  • The right to free movement only applies w/in borders. These rights are granted by the Constitution, so can only apply within the confines of those national, sovereign borders.


Con

  • Freedom of movement is an unalienable human right.



Opinion: Does public opinion support deporting illegal immigrants?

Pro

  • Some polls find Americans support deporting illegals. A CBS News/New York Times Poll dated September 2007 asked, "Should illegal immigrants be prosecuted and deported for being in the U.S. illegally, or shouldn't they?" In response, 69% of American citizens believed illegal immigrants should be deported for being in the U.S. illegally, while only 24% believed they should not.


Con

  • Americans oppose the deportation of all illegal immigrants. A USA Today/Gallup Poll dated March 2007 asked, "Should the government deport all illegal immigrants back to their home country?" In response, only 24% of American citizens believed the government should deport all illegal immigrants. Furthermore, 59% of American citizens believed the government should allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and become U.S. citizens, but only if they meet certain requirements.

Pro/con sources

Pro

HOW DO YOU DEPORT MILLIONS OF ILLEGALS?

Con

See also

External links and resources


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