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How Immigration Can Be Used to Radicalize Groups, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 680

Essay

Immigration is currently one of the most polarizing issues in the US, where lawmakers from the Republican and Democratic parties are sharply divided, splitting the country in the middle. The Conservatives have accused the Liberals of allowing the borders to be porous with no regard for the security of the US residents. In contrast, the Conservatives have been accused of racism and advocate for the separation of families. The Biden administration is considering signing an immigration reform bill that seeks to enable families separated by former President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. The immigration issue is so divisive that Donald Trump proposed to build a wall at the border with Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out. Immigration policies were also tightened across all US Embassies, while some Muslim countries were put on an immigration ban.

The United States has always been an immigrant country where millions of people from all over the world have found a home, escaping many adverse factors in their own countries. The US has seen a sharp rise in the number of immigrants arriving on its shores, particularly from war-torn regions such as the Middle East. Millions of immigrants also arrive via other US borders, such as the border with Mexico and the channel in Florida. First, immigration can become a polarizing issue if it is politicized. The right and the left have both used immigration as a tool to further their respective agendas and win political battles. During the Trump rule, his America First policy and his call to Make America Great again was interpreted by Neo-Nazi groups and White Supremacist groups to mean zero tolerance to immigrants. Islamophobia also grew dramatically during the Trump era, where Muslim immigrants were profiled and discriminated against. The radical groups inside the United States took a cue from the government to be bolder in their quest to lockout immigrants, which led to violence against immigrants.

In the Trump era, the government used US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to round up illegal immigrants and lock them in temporary shelters awaiting approvals. Many children were separated from their parents, while relatives were also separated from their kin. The Liberals picked up the issue and spun it to their political advantage, which caused the rift between the right and the left to grow even wider.

Second, immigration is a radicalizing issue in the United States because of its economic implication. The United States has been a recipient of immigrants. However, illegal immigration makes it hard for the federal and the state government to plan for social needs such as housing, education and healthcare. Many legal migrants and US citizens also feel like immigrants come to take their jobs.

Third, illegal immigration is security. The fear that Muslim immigrants may be harboring terrorists among them has been salient since September 11. However, the security angle of immigration is not supported by any evidence because, since 9/11, US citizens have carried out all major security incidents in the US. School shootings and other mass shootings perpetrated by US citizens have led to more deaths of Americans than any other terrorist incident since 9/11.

The populations at risk of being radicalized include white supremacist groups, Neo-Nazis and the Make America Great Again sympathizers. Conservatives have also been vulnerable to anti-immigration rhetoric, and on some occasions, there have been clashes with law enforcement and between liberal and conservative groups.

As a policymaker, I would first try to make bipartisan policies. The right has genuine concerns about unchecked immigration, while the left also has genuine concerns about letting in deserving immigrants to settle and pursue their potential in America. I would propose a policy to make it easier for legal immigrants to enter the United States while at the same time tightening screening services. The legislation would require multiagency cooperation, where ICE, Customs, and the Department of Homeland Security would work together to ensure that only legal immigrants gained entry into the US. The legislation would also call for stronger border security, which has been a concern for Republicans.

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