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Report: Immigration and Crime, Article Review Example

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Article Review

With regard to the issues of immigration and crime in the news, even a cursory review of the many articles continually linking the two elements reveals enormous societal concern.  As will be seen in discussing three such recent articles, legislators are perpetually seeking ways to appease public fears, negotiate legal immigration, and address the factor of immigration as inevitably associated with a variety of crimes.

Not unexpectedly, the most common crime related to immigration is that of it being practiced illegally.  The impact of other forms of crime linked with immigration notwithstanding, this seems to be a universal concern in the United States, as is exemplified by the article,  “Some California Employers Eagerly Await Immigration Reform Bill.”  California farmers and industrialists are fighting hard to ease immigration policies because, as the article asserts, the lack of legal immigrants translates to a crippling shortage of labor.  The article makes it clear that the incentive here is not based on obtaining masses of workers willing to accept low wages; while low-paying industries rely on immigrant labor, so too do the construction and technology industries, and California’s economy as a whole demands immigrant labor (Li, Marcum).  The problem, it seems, is attending to these commercial needs while also addressing public tides of feeling that insist on more strict procedures.   The criminality element of undocumented immigrants generates resistance in itself, even as two-thirds of Americans favor allowing illegal workers already employed in the U.S. to gain citizenship (Li, Marcum).  The new bill proposed for California, while reflecting vast support, may easily be defeated by conservative factions. Meanwhile – and ironically – California businesses are suffering because of illegal immigrant workers lost due to increased border patrols.  Here, as may be seen elsewhere, crime exists within immigration despite changing public opinion.

This specific criminality is reflected in “Immigrant Releases from Houston Area under Review,”  which discusses the implications of released convicts in Texas.  More exactly, the Houston article emphasizes the fact that, out of several thousand immigrant detainees in the Texas penal system recently released to ease budget pressures, many were held for no crime greater than illegal entry.  Of the 240 Houston-area immigrants released, for example, half were charged with that crime only (Roebuck).  The release measures have generated intense political and social conflict in Texas, according to the article, because Republican officials are deriding the releases as an unacceptable influx of hardened criminals into the mainstream population.  There is here a blatant conflict of interests, and one seen in many immigration issues or policies; on one level, local authorities are more inclined to free illegal immigrants as the safest way of reducing the prison populations, while on another backlash arises from the same administrations forcing the budget actions.  In all of this, the illegal immigrant exists between a criminal and non-criminal status.  U.S. Immigration Director John Morton, facing a congressional inquiry into his ordering of the releases, affirmed that only 8 of the released immigrants had histories as violent offenders, all of whom have either been taken back into custody or evaluated as due for release (Roebuck).  What dominates here, then, and by virtue of the congressional panel investigating, is how the government persists in criminalizing immigrants only because they enter the country illegally.

Concerns over the criminality of being an illegal immigrant are by no means restricted to Mexicans.  “Agency Stands Up for Immigrants’ Rights” addresses both Russian immigration in Alaska and how violent criminality complicates existing problems.  Stanislav Teodrovich, a Russian studying in Anchorage on a student visa, was arrested as an illegal immigrant after being shot in a road rage episode.  He claims to have been placed in shackles while in jail, and only the intervention of the Alaska Immigration Justice Project (AIJP) enabled his release.  Most notable in this article, however, is the criminality to which the Russian immigrants are subject to, according to the AIJP.  Many remain in Alaska illegally because, unlike Mexican immigrants, deportation could translate to torture and imprisonment in their home nations.  Immigrants from Africa to Eastern European countries seek asylum in Alaska to escape harsh conditions, and consequently will also seek illegal means of entry as a means of escaping dangers in their native lands.  These immigrants, the AIJP claims, are then especially prone to being victims of all kinds of violent crime, notably sexual assault (Holthouse).

While the three articles discussed do not address the drug-related crimes so often associated with immigration, they nonetheless indicate what may be termed a foundation of all immigrant criminality: the framework of illegality when legal status is prohibitive, and how the U.S. remains excessively wary in regard to all immigration.  This being the case, it seems evident that real crime, in any number of forms, is more likely facilitated when these populations are so stigmatized, and legally differentiated.

Works Cited

Holthouse, D.  “Agency Stands Up for Immigrants’ Rights.”  Anchorage Daily News, Mar. 23,   2013.  Web.  <http://www.adn.com/2013/03/23/2837987/agency-stands-up-for-immigrants.html>

Li, S., & Marcum, D.  “Some California Employers Eagerly Await Immigration Reform Bill.”Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2013.  Web. <http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-immigration-business-20130417,0,4854445.story >

Roebuck, J. “Immigrant Releases from Houston Area under Review.”  The Houston Chronicle, Mar. 19, 2013.  Web.  <http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/One-third-of-released-detainees-came-from-Texas 4368436.php

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