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Elom Amematsro Op Ed 11/11/13 U Of U writing Professor McKenna

America, the Land That Hates Immigrants

I'm marrying her for my green card that was what my cousin told me when I asked him why he was getting married. At first glance those may seem to be the most atrocious words ever uttered; but if you knew my cousin you would know that the truly atrocious thing is the state of the US Immigration system for bringing him so low. My cousin is an international student. He was lured here to the US with promises of education and jobs so that he may support his wife and 6 year old daughter in Africa. He like many other immigrants fell for the trap. After arriving in good old America it took him only three months for him to learn what being an immigrant truly meant. The wakeup call arrived in the mail in the form of a letter a bill to be more exact. The bill was marked with Class Fees emboldened and in red ink on the front page. As he examined the bill further he noticed his class fee was $7,143. $7,143 for three months of school, that would make perfect sense if he was attending Harvard or some other Ivy league institution, but no he was attending The Salt Lake Community College. The average student at SLCC pays merely $3,342 for an entire year, but my cousin was different, he had to pay $7,143 for three months because he was

an immigrant. How did the school expect my cousin to pay for this? Get a job they responded. The only job that my cousin as an international student was allowed to have was a job working for The Salt Lake Community college. Most on campus jobs pay $9 an hour if youre lucky, but my cousin wasn't lucky. He was an immigrant. Two days after he applied for a position at The Salt Lake Community College he received an email notifying him that there were no positions currently available and to try again soon with a smiley face on it. With the cost of college bearing down on him, he was forced to use someone else's documents in order to get a job. It didn't take too long for his employer to find out his little secret and he was fired. Thus my cousin was forced to choose between marrying a women that he didn't love in order to receive his green card or to return to Africa and tell his wife and daughter that he failed. It's not just my cousin; every year millions of immigrants travel to The United States in hopes of finding jobs and supporting their families, but find that there are no jobs for them and that they are simply not wanted. We can no longer turn a blind eye to their pleas for help. As you can tell I support immigration reform. Rather than looking at the human aspect of the situation those who are against it argue that immigrants will just take our welfare, that they will take jobs from Americans, that they don't pay their taxes, that they're a drag on the US economy, and that most of them are illegal. Well they are wrong dead wrong. Immigrants only make up 11.4% of the US population but they contribute to 12.4% of the work force. Some may look at this and assume that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans, but upon closer examination you will notice that the jobs they are taking are the manual labor jobs that nobody really wants to do. Not only are they not stealing jobs from Americans but they are also creating them. In Silicon Valley alone immigrant run businesses created 73,000 new jobs. Studies have also proven that immigration rates have a profound effect on the US

unemployment rate. For example in the 1900s when the US had its largest ever immigration wave it coincided with its lowest ever unemployment rate. More immigrants more jobs. Taxes are inevitable even immigrants have to pay them. In fact according to The Social Security Administration immigrants pay anywhere between 90 to 140 billion dollars. Most immigrants aren't illegal. In fact only 25% of all immigrants are illegal. 25% seems to be a high percentage at first but considering that all immigrants legal or illegal pay taxes its not such a bad number. Not only are immigrants not bad for the US economy, they in fact help the economy. The US system of immigration should be reformed to allow more immigrant families to travel to the US, and to also help those families find jobs. If the US were to do this the unemployment rate would drop tremendously and the economy would soar because of all the money that the government would gather from taxes. However let's take a look beyond the money and the statistics at the families that this would help. Let's consider the millions of children that are relying on their immigrant parents to support them. Such as 14 year old Ronald Jr Soza.

Ronald and his sister came home from school one day to find his father missing. A few hours after the phone rang. It was Ronald's dad calling to notify him that he was being deported. This wasn't the first time that Soza children had lost a parent to immigration laws. 5 years ago their mother was also deported. With their parents deported and no legal guardians to watch over them, the Soza children were placed into foster care. Ronald and his sister are now forced to live thousands of miles away from their parents by the country that pledged allegiance to. For my cousin, for Ronald and his sister, we must reform our immigration system. We can no longer allow outdated immigration laws to devastate the lives of millions of immigrants. Right now we need immigration reform more than ever, and we may soon have it. It pleases me to see that politicians from both parties are attempting to find solutions for our current predicament such as

The Way Forward on Immigration, an article that describes a proposed solution by the Bipartisan Centers Immigration task force, on immigration. There may yet be hope for American immigrants. Citations

Rodriguez, C. (2013). Deportations: Missing parents, scared kids. CNN US, Retrieved from Top 10 myths and facts about immigration [Web]. (2003). Retrieved from Rice, C. (2013). The way forward on immigration.