The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
Advertisement
Freshman Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio appears to put in the rain during the Bryan Regional of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Traditions Golf Club on Monday, May 6, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
A&M’s season wraps up with 3-0 loss to UCLA in NCAA quarterfinals
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 21, 2024

The Texas A&M women’s golf team’s habit of struggling to close out matches led to the closing of its season on Tuesday, May 21, with...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Crossing over

 
 

By Travis Holland
Illegal immigrants have three chances to enter the United States unlawfully before they face a significant penalty – that’s three too many.
Illegal immigrants caught in the country are only detained for a short period of time and then deported. After two offenses, an illegal alien can still apply for citizenship after a waiting period of several years. That means immigrants can enter the country illegally three times before they are permanently unable to gain a visa. This three-strike system is too lenient and needs to be changed.
Those who come into the country illegally should not be given another opportunity to become an American citizen. To make these laws tougher, the federal government needs to make illegal immigration an aggravated felony. The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act clearly states that, “an alien convicted of an aggravated felony is inadmissible.” In order for illegal immigration to be a one-strike offense and be taken seriously, it should bear the penalty of an aggravated felony.
If immigrants knew that being caught crossing the border illegally would permanently ruin their chances for citizenship, they would see it as a major deterrent. Many illegal immigrants who come to the United States have hopes of one day being a citizen. Therefore, this upgrade in the punishment for illegal immigration would make many think twice.
Currently, aggravated felonies observed by the federal government include gambling offenses, supervising prostitution and money laundering. Entering the United States illegally is an equally serious crime as any of these, and the law should reflect that. The consequences of illegal immigration should at least be equal in severity to the punishment for these crimes.
Another aggravated felony is the smuggling of an unregistered immigrant. It seems very odd that it’s an aggravated felony for someone to smuggle in an illegal immigrant, but not for an immigrant to enter the country on his own. That doesn’t add up, as helping someone else enter illegally seems like a less severe crime. An illegal immigrant should not face a lesser penalty than a U.S. citizen who aids one.
Some argue that these laws are only significant in principle because the government lacks the ability to enforce them. That is about to change.
In Washington, lawmakers are debating a number of issues to include on a new immigration bill. However, a majority have already agreed on the issue of strengthening border security. This means increased funding for law enforcement agencies such as the Border Patrol and a crackdown on illegal immigration.
American citizens should recommend to the federal government that illegal immigration be made an aggravated felony. If not, illegal immigrants will continue to dismiss the light penalties and keep coming here against the law.
By Zach Bohannan
Almost every American citizen is the descendant of an immigrant. Some of these ancestors immigrated legally and some came illegally. Immigration, regardless of legality, is an unavoidable and intrinsic part of American society. Given its prevalence, making illegal immigration or aiding illegal immigrants a felony is simply not feasible.
On Dec. 16, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, which would make several sweeping changes to immigration laws. The most contested part of the bill is that it would make all illegal immigrants, and those who know of their presence, felons.
The 2000 United States Census estimates that America is home to eight million illegal immigrants. Many of them live with family members or friends, who have immigrated legally. According to the bill, all of these people would be declared felons and deported, regardless of current immigration status. Those who are American citizens would still face felony charges for smuggling, even if they merely advised the immigrant to leave the country.
There are also no provisions for charities or other organizations, such as churches, that help illegal immigrants. This means people like doctors and clergy, who have a moral obligation to provide aid to others in need, would be restricted from their duty for fear of legal consequences . Ironically, most other felonies have provisions that protect service personnel from conviction for aiding and abetting.
Deporting or even merely convicting such a large amount of people would be an enormous burden on the federal government. It would be akin to charging every citizen of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas with a felony, and then finding and transporting them to another country, based on data from the 2000 US Census. Clearly, the United States cannot afford this without drastically altering its budget.
Ironically, the bill offers another measure that is far easier to implement and serves the same purpose. It raises the penalty for employing illegal immigrants to $25,000 per offense. This is a steep fine and far outweighs any extra profits a company can make by hiring illegal immigrants and paying them less than minimum wage.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center’s publication, “The New Latino South: Context and Consequences of Rapid Population Growth,” the average illegal migrant worker is paid $16,000 on average in the states of North Carolina, Arkansas, Alaska, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. The average in the nation is $18000. Either way, the fine is more than a year’s salary for the illegal immigrant.
One reason immigrants choose to leave a country is to find better employment. The action proposed would drastically decrease motivation to illegally enter the United States.
Enforcement is far more economical if it targets corporations, which must be documented in order to operate in the United States. Targeting several large companies rather than all of their illegal employees reduces the burden on the government. When jobs disappear, many illegal immigrants will be forced to leave without the need for incarceration.
Illegal immigration will never be completely eliminated in the United States. The only hope to reduce it comes from eliminating incentives to immigrate illegally. Since it would be logistically impossible to charge all immigrant families and their service providers with felonies, the other cause of illegal immigration must be attacked. The bill already does an excellent job of this, so declaring illegal immigration and “smuggling” a felony is moot. Every law need not involve conviction in order to be effective.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *