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(solved) Immigration Policy Reform

(solved) Immigration Policy Reform

Immigration Policy Reform


Over the last two decades, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics has published a series of essays on the ethics of migration and immigration. Several ethicists and philosophers published excellent books on immigration during the same period. This brief essay summarizes the core values and ethical principles relevant to immigration policy identified in previous works. It suggests how specific values and principles may help us address the critical immigration impasse we face as a country in the coming year.

According to ethicists and historians, migration is a permanent feature of world history. War and famine can cause mass migrations, but so can the search for economic opportunity, especially in a globalized world. Over time, a consensus has emerged on the values required for governments and nations to address people migration. These values and principles include the following:


A dedication to human and civilian rights. Too many mass movements have been triggered by combatant conflict and the erosion of any sense of security or concern for civilian welfare.

A recognition, rooted in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary), that every human being has a right to security, as well as basic food and shelter, even if these are impossible to obtain in their home countries.

It is the global community’s collective responsibility to provide this security to those who are immigrants as a result of conflicts, economic collapse, and threats to personal safety.

Individual countries are responsible for sharing the burden of that collective global responsibility based on their wealth and capability.

Empathy for immigrants and refugees is based on the understanding that many, if not most, immigrants are forced to become immigrants and may have suffered greatly.

A commitment to nondiscrimination in immigration policy is implemented in a way that does not discriminate based on race, ethnic origin, or religion.

Any country’s immigration policy cannot be set in stone. Although principles can be established, immigrants’ numbers, origins, and specific plight necessitate different approaches and efforts at different times. When the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was written in the post-World War II period, the United States and other countries welcomed many displaced refugees and immigrants. They invested billions of dollars in economic recovery and security in countries that needed it. As war-torn economies rebuilt quickly, this aid limited the number of postwar refugees and immigrants.


Over the last two decades, immigration policy in the United States has become increasingly contentious. Despite polls showing a substantial majority of Americans favour immigration reform and a reasonable consensus on the shape of that reform package, the United States Congress has failed to pass a significant update to our immigration laws.


While the overall number of wars and conflicts has decreased, the persistence of conflict and crippling poverty in many countries and regions has resulted in many refugees. Furthermore, as developed countries have become wealthier over the last 50 years, the flow of economic immigrants has increased. Individuals and families have attempted to enter more developed countries in search of a “better life” and a higher standard of living. Even before the recent regional conflicts in Central America and the Arab world, many Hispanic immigrants sought economic entry to the United States. Furthermore, the superiority of American education, notably higher education, has resulted in high demand for East and South Asian immigration access in recent decades.


These altered conditions have long necessitated new immigration policies in the United States and other developed countries and the consideration of significant foreign aid to Latin American economies. Regrettably, policymakers in the United States have been unable to agree on how to respond to new immigration pressures. New policies are needed regarding who and how many people are allowed in; how we differentiate between economic immigrants, refugees, and family members of U.S. citizens and residents; who gets to stay if they enter without authorization; what rights and resources those who enter are entitled to; and how we respond to individuals who present themselves at our borders asking for entry.


Applied ethics necessitates paying close attention to current behaviour and policy issues we face at any given time. I believe there are four specific virtues or ethical principles that can assist us in resolving the immigration impasse in 2019:


The first is increased empathy, which stems from a better understanding of why people migrate and seek entry into the United States and other countries. The number of people displaced by wars, failing economies, and environmental change has reached a global peak. It is tempting to limit our moral vision to the “undocumented” and the “hordes” or caravans of immigrants seeking entry. Only admitting those who can benefit the American economy – the highly skilled and wealthy – is an entirely self-centred approach to immigration. This approach would minimize empathy as the driving force behind immigration policy.

Second, a more substantial commitment to nondiscrimination and multiculturalism. Unfortunately, America’s anti-Asian bias, which resulted in the Chinese Exclusion Laws in the early 1900s, has been replaced by discrimination against Africans and Arabs and, to a lesser extent, against Hispanics, whom some Americans believe are “not like us.” The demographic fact that the American population will eventually include a majority of non-whites has fueled xenophobia among those who advocate for completely closing borders to postpone the day when whites become a minority.

Third, acceptance of a new ethical principle dubbed “membership rights” by author Joseph Carens. The idea is that those who have lived among us “as Americans” for many years should not be kicked out without a good reason. This principle would argue that “Dreamers” should be granted permanent protection and that some undocumented residents who have lived among us for many years should be afforded some form of protection, if not a “path to citizenship.”

Fourth, a renewed commitment to do our part to help refugees and immigrants seeking physical security and economic survival. Domestic politics has recently led to the United States doing less than other countries in terms of both foreign assistance and the number of legal immigrants accepted. The United States has long trailed most developed countries in terms of foreign aid as a percentage of GDP, and we have recently lagged in terms of the number of immigrants and refugees we have accepted. More foreign aid could help reduce the flow of economic migrants while also addressing a backlog of desperate immigrants and refugees.

Unfortunately, the debate over immigration policy reform has primarily ignored these much-needed ethical values and principles in recent years. Executive Orders have distanced us from these principles. It is time for the United States Congress to rewrite our immigration policies in 2019 on ethical foundations, including these four principles.

Immigration Policy Reform


Immigration Policy Reform

the social, ethical, and economic reasons for addressing immigration policy reform.

400 words,APA 7 ,2 references < 5 years

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