Published: April 25, 2019  Updated: January 30, 2020 at 8:44 am EST

Immigration and Government were named as the two leading concerns in a new Gallup Poll. Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about both sides of the issue. Further, President Trump continues to claim that illegal immigration and border security are two of the primary issues facing Americans.

By the numbers; according to the White House, United States Customs and Border Protection acted in some form over 100,000 times in March of 2019. The sheer volume of occurrences at the border signifies the most action taken in one month in more than a decade.

Further, total enforcement actions were over 516 percent higher than in 2017. In addition, Border Patrol apprehensions for this fiscal year, through March, have exceeded the entire fiscal year totals for 2017, 2015, 2012, and 2011.

It is evident that there is a situation at the Southern Border, and Americans, in general, and in some way, are concerned about it according to the Gallup Poll regarding top concerns facing Americans.

According to the Poll; roughly two in ten Americans or twenty-one percent cite immigration as the nation’s primary challenge. Further, far more Republicans than Democrats cite immigration as a leading issue. By the numbers 41% of Republicans consider immigration to be the top problem facing the country, contrasted with 18% of political independents and 5% of Democrats who say the same.

However, according to the poll, regardless of what Americans perceive as the top concern currently facing the nation. It does not compare to when the country is facing an economic crisis. The chart below depicts the top concerns for the country including the economy.

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Illegal immigration is not the only aspect of concern facing the nation; further, the immigration system itself is also a severe issue. Since 1965 the United States immigration law has favored reuniting families, according to Michael Gray a political and economic officer with the Department of State. Further, Michael worked overseas as a manager of an Immigrant Visa and Diversity Visa Section at a U.S. Embassy.

According to Michael, roughly one million immigrants, migrate to the United States legally as opposed to the eleven million who have done so illegally.

“Immigration is a fundamental part of U.S. history. It is important. It brings new ideas and new people. Most Americans support a level of legal immigration. Many people care deeply about immigration. Immigrants certainly do. Many citizens do as well. For these reasons and others, immigration can be difficult to discuss. Immigration is also complicated, involving the economy, jobs, wages, the social contract, the environment, schools, and yes, culture. The debate is often fraught with emotion. It can also be very personal. Many people know both illegal and legal immigrants. People can simultaneously hold contradictory views on immigration; someone may oppose giving amnesty to illegal immigrants writ large, yet support a path to citizenship for an illegal alien whom they know personally.

Perhaps the greatest impediment to debate is a tendency among some to label anyone who professes the most modest concern about immigration a racist or a xenophobe. Contrary to the views of some, it is possible to question a policy from 1965 and its outcomes without being a xenophobe or a racist. I was in Germany during the refugee crisis. As people continued to come, a prominent reporter for a major German media outlet whispered to me at a reception that “we can’t find the right words to express our concerns” about migration and refugees. This was no neo-Nazi. This reporter with impeccable liberal credentials found that not even he could voice his concerns.”

To bridge the divide regarding immigration, a national discussion needs to take place, one that is not wrought with emotion, one that is factual, and one that upon closure enacts policies that are lawful, just, right, and place Human Safety at the focal point.

According to the United States Customs and Border Protection, one of the significant aspects to the immigration crisis, is the fact, that children and young adults are traveling unaccompanied to the Southern Border, while the US asylum program can assist, it too needs to be updated. However, the problem in this matter doesn’t arise from once they reach the United States; instead, it is the dangerous trek to the U.S., which often subjects children and women to human trafficking.

In response to the current immigration crisis, President Trump has laid out steps, his administration is taking to make headway against such;

  • President Trump has deployed troops to assist with the situation at the border and is fulfilling his promise to build the wall.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has reassigned CBP officers from ports of entry to assist with the response.
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security has directed immigration agencies to return the maximum possible number of aliens each day to Mexico to await immigration proceedings.
  • Hundreds of aliens can now wait in Mexico while their immigration cases are adjudicated.
  • The Administration secured the first-ever agreement with Northern Triangle countries to help stop caravans from flooding across our border and to combat human smuggling and trafficking.

Further, Jared Kushner, a senior White House advisor, is expected to present a comprehensive plan next week to President Donald Trump to address immigration, at large. According to Reuters; the plan will include a merit-based immigration proposal to increase U.S. visas for highly skilled workers.

The border is not the only issue, in regards to immigration, the system at large needs a drastic update. Further, Americans are right to be concerned about the subject, and both sides of the aisle need to remove ill-warranted emotion from the discussion to accomplish a proposal that Americans across the board can support.

Works Cited

White House. “An Overwhelming Surge in Illegal Immigration is Worsening the Crisis at the Border.” White House. . (2019): . .

Lydia Saad. “Americans Say Government, Immigration Are Lead U.S. Woes.” Gallup News. . (2019): . .

Steve Holland, Jeff Mason. “Trump immigration plan may increase visas for highly skilled workers: sources.” Reuters. . (2019): . .

Michael Gray. “America's Immigration Policy Needs an Overhaul.” National Interest . . (2019): . .

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