Campus Ideologies: Three student parties take on immigration

Rowan's Political parties' logos. - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon.

Rowan Progressives

Immigration is a major problem facing America today, but not for the reasons right-leaning people will tell you. The United States has a long and problematic history with immigration policy, going back to before the founding of the nation. However, while the history of our racialized immigration is long, the militarization of our borders is a much newer phenomenon. On our southern border, immigration was a cyclical process. Hispanic migrants would go over the border to work agricultural jobs during the farming season, and then return to their families and homes when the work was over. The Southern border was a porous thing, something to allow American bosses to get cheap labor. However, there was a major problem, American bosses didn’t have as much control as they wanted over Hispanic workers. 

The solution to this “problem” was to militarize the border. If immigrants had a harder time simply crossing back and forth the border, they had to stay in the US for longer, under the thumb of their Yankee bosses. Their housing, their living conditions were directly provided by their bosses, and the greatest sword of Damocles hanging over their heads was, of course, the threat of deportation. 

ICE, created only 20 years ago, has already racked up a reputation for violence, forced sterilization of immigrant women, separating children, racism, and sexual violence. It, along with the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), violently upholds the integrity of the American border. The border control agencies of this nation uphold a form of Border Fascism, by violently holding the border against people just trying to seek a better life. The US CBP operates with little oversight and impunity everywhere that is within 100 miles of the border or coast, functioning as a violent aspect of our nation’s security 

To properly understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to understand its root causes. As a direct result of U.S. foreign policy via NAFTA, Mexico was greatly harmed. American corporations killed the independent Mexican farmer as they could never compete with the billions of dollars that the American government uses to prop up our domestic agriculture. Jobless and often homeless, these former farmers usually have no choice but to go north. The second problem of violence is also the fault of America for a variety of reasons. Central American states are generally unstable because of American interference in democratic elections in Latin America. In addition, America is the world’s largest exporter of arms, and many end up with gangs. Those weakened states then can’t handle the gang violence which causes people to flee. Then when people there flee violence, gun manufacturers fear-monger to sell more guns to Americans here so that they can “be protected against the scary” immigrant. 

The solution is multifaceted. We must demilitarize our border so that people fleeing the violence and instability our nation created are killed trying to enter the country. We must end our status as an arms exporter, we need to end our interference in Latin America and allow the countries there to use their resources for their own people and not American corporations. We need to give all immigrants in the country legal status. Abolish ICE, the CBP, end American Imperialism, and completely restructure our social, economic, and political systems.

Rowan Democrats

Since the Industrial Revolution, the legend of the “American Dream” has experienced a significant transformation. At first, it was a beam of hope, inviting waves of immigrants in search of a better life and promoting the development and prosperity of the nation as a whole. But in the modern era, this legend has been appropriated and weaponized by certain political groups to advance agendas that frequently use immigrants as scapegoats. Due to this shift in perception, immigration is now seen through a narrow and often prejudiced lens, creating a divisive atmosphere. 

Rather than recognizing the range of contributions immigrants make to society, there is a tendency to demonize immigrants and depict immigration as inherently dangerous or criminal. The intricacies and complexity of immigration law as well as the experiences of people coming to the US in search of opportunity or safety are overlooked in this oversimplified narrative.  Furthermore, the idea of border security has become almost entirely focused, prompting demands for drastic actions such as closing the US-Mexico border altogether. 

But neither the core causes of immigration nor workable solutions for controlling the cross-border movement of people are addressed by such measures. Rather, they reinforce negative stereotypes and exacerbate existing divisions. Comprehensive immigration reform that puts compassion, justice, and the rule of law first would be a more positive strategy. 

The system can more effectively discriminate between people who seek asylum, those who are migrating for socioeconomic reasons, and those who pose real security risks by establishing channels for safe and authorized immigration. This would support the principles of opportunity and inclusivity that have long characterized the American ethos in addition to reducing the burden on law enforcement. Political leaders have been using fear and disinformation to further their agendas in the more divisive discourse surrounding immigration in recent years. 

A climate of animosity and mistrust has resulted from this, especially toward immigrant communities, escalating already-existing social tensions and eroding the foundation of American society. It is critical to acknowledge that immigration has always been a vital component of the American experience, contributing to economic growth and innovation as well as enhancing the cultural fabric of the country. Immigrants have been essential to the development of the nation’s identity and its success abroad throughout history. But there is an urgent need to reform the current immigration system. 

Many people and families are left in a state of uncertainty for years as they wade through a confusing web of rules and documentation because it is unduly complicated, bureaucratic, and frequently arbitrary. The integrity of the system as a whole is also compromised, in addition to causing needless suffering for immigrants. In recent years, the backlog of asylum cases has grown to unprecedented proportions, making it one of the most critical problems facing the immigration system. 

While they wait months or even years for their cases to be heard, asylum seekers often languish in detention centers or live in unsafe conditions. In conclusion, immigration is a complicated, multifaceted problem that has to be addressed with consideration and compassion. To reassert its commitment to the principles of openness, diversity, and opportunity that have long been the cornerstones of the American Dream, the United States must prioritize human rights, fairness, and the rule of law. We can only create a more fair and just society for everybody through comprehensive immigration reform.

Rowan Republicans

The United States is a nation that was built upon the backs of immigrants from all walks of life. The impact they make upon our great country is unfathomable and without them, this country wouldn’t be the superpower that it is today. From the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the farms of California immigrants toil to make our country great. That being said, the immigration system as it currently stands is a derelict hodgepodge that needs to be brought properly into the 21st century. 

Nowhere is the awful state of our immigration system more jarring than at the US-Mexico border. According to US Customs and Border Protection’s data, they have encountered 1,151,448 individuals since the start of fiscal year 2024 in October of last year. Out of these, 55.12% or 634,731 have been single adults attempting to cross undocumented into our country. To put this into perspective, this is more people than our two least populated states, Wyoming and Vermont respectfully. We must be clear in stating that these numbers are not a problem but rather that these people are attempting to enter the country illegally. This poses a great security risk to the United States, we need to know who exactly is coming into our country and for what. 

There needs to be two different ways to stop illegal crossings. First, we need to have tighter security along our southern border. While something like former President Trump’s idea of building a physical barrier would cost an enormous amount as well as potentially mess with the local flora and fauna, a more technological solution along with added agents patrolling would solve this. Installing sensors along the border where crossings are most frequent and a physical barrier cannot be placed would make it harder for migrants to cross the border in these locations and allow border patrol agents to capture anyone who does. The second would be to reform our immigration system entirely. 

The first reform that must be implemented is bringing back the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy which was instituted under former President Trump. This would ensure that these people cannot just disappear into the crowd once they begin waiting for their asylum hearing date to be processed. Next, we would need to use a reform proposed in President Biden’s budget when it comes to improving the US immigration court system including better funding to speed up the current backlog of people awaiting their hearings as well as expanding the amount of judges to hear these cases. Finally, we must declare an emergency at the US-Mexico border as soon as possible, and federalize the national guards of as many border states as needed to assist the border patrol agents. Through this heightened military presence we can hopefully not only further stop illegal crossings while reform can be passed through the halls of Congress but also reduce the risk of harmful drugs like fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine from getting into the country and harming more citizens. 

When it comes to the issue of those who have already illegally migrated into the country, we must find a way to weed out those who are here for positive reasons, such as working, fleeing persecution, and getting a better life for their families and those who are here and are committing crimes. For these reasons we still need to have the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement however, they should not be used in a way to oppress these people but rather as a sort of colander. 

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