US needs softer immigration plan

In 2008, The New York Times reported the story of Hiu Lui Ng, a 34-year-old New Yorker who died while in custody of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Though the Times’ coverage of Ng’s death was largely an investigation into the conditions and medical care allotted to detained individuals, the question of why Ng was detained in the first place came into the spotlight as well.

Hailey Nowak | Daily Trojan

Hailey Nowak | Daily Trojan

Few issues in the United States garner the sort of controversy that the topic of immigration does, especially when referring to the question of what to do with the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants presently living here. And with President Barack Obama headed to Las Vegas on Tuesday to relaunch his drive to overhaul immigration policy, it’ll be an issue that continues to divide Americans.

Many argue that instead of providing a pardon to these people, known as offering amnesty, for their unlawful entry to the country, the correct thing to do is to enforce stricter immigration policy and crack down on businesses that hire undocumented workers. In theory, these policies would discourage undocumented immigrants from being in the United States.

But while such a plan makes sense on paper, it overlooks one critical aspect of the immigration debacle: that many of the undocumented aliens living in the United States are Americans in all aspects but their legal status and recognize no place other than the United States as their  true home.

Ng is an example: He was an undocumented immigrant who overstayed the initial visa issued to him in 1992 when visiting the United States from Hong Kong. In that time, Ng built a life — as do so many other Americans. He went to college and studied computer engineering, a degree that later found him employment at the Empire State Building in Manhattan. Ng also married a U.S. citizen and had two American-born children, whom he helped raise in a house located in suburban Queens.

Ng’s story is repeated everyday all across the country. Millions of individuals live their lives as Americans: paying American taxes, eating American food, digesting American culture. They send their American children to attend American schools where they learn about American history.

Indeed, according to a Pew research study released in 2011, most undocumented immigrants living in the United States have been doing so for more than 10 years. The stereotype of undocumented immigrants living in the United States as being mostly fresh arrivals who are unacquainted with American culture is false, and those who call to return all undocumented immigrants to their native country would be supporting a grave injustice.

Too many Americans view immigration as an “us and them” issue. This has been true throughout American history, where eventual integration follows an initially xenophobic backlash. Cultural socialization takes time and generations — something many people fail to realize.

Immigrants, legal and not, provide a great service to the American country. In addition to fueling cultural diversification, immigrants are so resolute on providing a better environment for their children and families that they that they often work as society’s underclass, working jobs unpopular with many Americans.

In his inauguration speech last week, Obama said “our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”

Obama has the right idea. But more Americans need to recognize that immigrants are not forces of evil in American society. Instead, immigrants need to be recognized for what they are: people, who have just as much right to a good life as you and I.


Matthew Tinoco is a freshman majoring in international relations. His column  “Mixing Colors” runs Mondays.


4 replies
  1. Fred
    Fred says:

    A “softer” stance would only encourage more people to break the rules.

    Ng should have gone home when his visa expired, and applied to return.
    Instead, he overstayed, and became deportable.
    The fact that he died in custody is tragic, but it is his the result of his choice to violate the law.

    We are already on the way to becoming Greece. We cannot expect to grow the economy and save the country by allowing millions to self-determine their immigration rights. Immigration policy exists to benefit the nation, not the individual who seeks entry.

    • Manny
      Manny says:

      Agreed. Not to mention the lowering standards from accepting these millions of people. We have a GDP in America. Other countries have their own that, in many cases, is far less. When these people enter, they don’t bring anything of value other than perhaps their work ethic. If they’re expected to pay taxes now, how much will they pay? Given that around half the country pays no income tax anyway, my guess is essentially none. Meanwhile, our standards get lowered because the wealth distribution curve shifts.

      If the federal government thinks that 11 million new taxpayers is the goal to increase revenue, they’d better think again. Not to mention the new competition for unskilled jobs and the increased costs from having to pay them minimum wage, costs which get passed onto the consumers.

      And what about all those applying for visas the legal way? They have to wait far longer and usually bring far more to the table.

  2. Ras
    Ras says:

    The author of the article makes a case that the criteria to become an American Citizen is to not get caught coming into the country illegally for a number of years until you become very used to it. Does this principle apply to any other law? Can I rape and murder and as long as I do not get caught and otherwise build a quiet life, then me breaking the law is OK? I usually find people who support illegal immigration to fall into one of two camps. They either have family or they themselves have broken immigration laws and are wanting others to be able to break those laws with impunity. OR they are liberal, lily white people who make sure they live far away in clean white neighborhoods so it does not matter or affect them directly but they claim to be in favor of illegal immigration because they are so good people. Well why don’t we just open the flood gates and turn California into the paradise known as Mexico? There is a reason Mexicans are risking their lives to flee their country – they find it unlivable. Do we really want to turn LA into that 3rd world? We are getting closer and closer everyday

  3. David Francis
    David Francis says:

    My guess the politicians will win this time and the American people—as always—will get the bill for supporting illegal aliens. Very few of us who haven’t been brain-washed over the illegal alien controversy and with a Socialist administration in power, the only winners are the “Freeloaders” deadbeats and spongers, which are bottom feeders that live of the rest of the working population. They pay for nothing, as everything virtually free especially with this Imperial regime. This is going to be a repeat performance of the 1986 path to citizenship that exploded into a fraudulent façade. The so called pay a fine, learn English as two required principles, never happened? Most fines were waived, as the majority of Guest Workers couldn’t afford it, and the so called learning the language was a travesty, as the illegal aliens involved took a couple of classes and because it was run by La Raza, got a pass score. The whole thing was a travesty and the commitment of former President Reagan’s Washington to prosecute employers fizzled. Let’s face it their all a bunch of bare faced liars who cringe at the feet of special interest groups, because they are the ones that really run the country. Obama promised transparency in D.C, but the whole place and both parties are awash with corruption, kick backs, and nepotism. It’s a father, son and daughter rot, that retirement means joining the ranks of high paid lobbyists on K street, the height of hypocrisy and legal thievery of your tax dollars in our central government, A few must be excused from these slimy-palmed politicians, such as Senator Sessions of Arkansas who is a people’s legislator and doesn’t work in collusion with anti-constitution politicians. Alas now, because of the loss of the election politicians as Sen. John McCain R-AZ has turned traitor and is complicit in a new path to citizenship. Is Mark Rubio also joining this sad circus of liars and deceit to the people?


    THIS TUESDAY WILL BE A GRAVE DAY FOR AMERICA, WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD NO RESPECT FOR OUR LAWS GAINING CITIZENSHIP? FAR WORSE IS THE CONTINUENCE OF MORE CHAIN MIGRATION. The Nuclear Family Priority Act, HR 692 (Gingrey, R-GA), would end chain migration while expediting the reunification of married couples and of parents with their young children. It would eliminate the categories of adult siblings and adult children, providing an annual decrease in immigration of over 110,000 per year. The reduction would be larger over time as there would be fewer new immigrants to sponsor additional relatives (Chain Migration.) Then include this with the waiting BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL. Look it up, as it makes good judgment, as other industrialized nations have also removed it. That only people who is already a U.S. citizen can apply for citizenship for their child. It’s become a travesty of 14th amendment that allowed slaves the right to citizenship and their descendants. This should was not applicable to illegal alien children, because at that time there was no such thing as illegal immigration. The cost in BILLIONS of dollars is too high, to carry on this fallacy?



    Hardly any of them have the guts to dare challenge putrid Senators like senile Harry Reid. Strangely enough I no longer own a firearm, but my thoughts only criminals will own guns that we need to protect our families. I hope shortly that California Liberal Senator Diane Feinstein gets mugged; she is a victim of a home invasion robbery or even worse. Something ominous happens to a lawmaker, they would quickly change their minds? Most of these impersonators of honest people don’t live in the real world anyway. I get a continuous dialog from my cousin in Los Angeles of drunken hit and runs of by foreign drunk drivers, robberies, children attacked and molested. Want more information, and then go to THE DARK SIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION site. Never thought for one minute the American people were stupid enough to vote for anybody who had a greasy Liberal agenda? If these people’s representatives ever though that the American people came first, then they would have insured illegal entry into the United States was a FELONY. The blame goes back many years, when there were positive laws as the quota system, according to your country of birth. Now America is overrun from most illiterate, poorly educated foreigners from South of our borders. Then we have unknown number of illegal overstays that make up the number of 46 percent who arrive here by plane and not tracked, so they can be deported. I have pushed over and over again The LEGAL WORKFORCE BILL that makes sense, but then with the mostly withered old men in Washington, they are not listening as their golf score is more important, or the financial favors they get from corporation bosses. MAKE THEM LISTEN AND JAM WASHINGTON SWITCHBOARDS TOMORROW.

    Every LIBERAL, DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, INDEPENDENT, TEA PARTY MEMBERS and a list of other parties that the high echelon whose abode is the Capitol know that America is not just in a physical mess, but a nation almost irreparable more divided. Why is this man in Washington determined to split up our society, when he should be bringing us together, collectively? Our Constitution has been badly decomposed by President Obama, our liberties, freedoms and the American dream trodden down by anarchist, communist, Marxist; many of them have visited the White House? Check out these facts out at TEAPARTY.OR. Become more acquainted with the ugly facts and learn the REAL truth at American Patrol, Judicial Watch, NumbersUSA web sites.

    We must be constantly be on our guard as many laws are past during late nights sessions, so that the public are only aware the day after. Monday, is going to be a very important day as President Obama is heading to Nevada to broadcast the need for a Path to Citizenship or the possibility of blanket Amnesty. But remember that Nevada has today the highest concentrations of illegal aliens, other than California on the West coast. Monday, if you haven’t already seen the writing on the wall, then speak up—call your politicians and tell the aide, you want to declare illegal aliens have no right to citizenship. THEY BROKE OUR LAWS, while honest people came through the correct channels. you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request. One or two people will be ignored, but greater numbers will make a difference and could decide on the fate of America? After all the Heritage Foundation already stated that another Path to Citizenship would produce a taxpayer price tag of over 2 TRILLION DOLLARS, you have to wonder what these politicians are smoking. That’s already on Obama’s $4 to 5 TRILLION dollars amassing on the multi TRILLION dollar deficits.

    Each year 400,000 babies are smuggled into America to claim citizenship. The price for the child/children (DREAMER CHILDREN) is a cornucopia of free entitlement stuff as a new citizen. Even before arriving here they have been well apprised of the welfare programs and how to scam them. Actual birthing factories have been set up, where pregnant women are departing planes from Asian countries to claim citizenship for their infant. Possessing a U.S birth certificate the child can return in adolescence and claim citizenship rights and then sponsor family members. CHAIN MIGRATION is a very expensive proposition for U.S. taxpayers, as later the immediate family is left without financial resources and then relies on Supplementary Social Security and public assistance.

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