April 23, 2008
Written by C.N.
We all know that illegal immigration is one of the most divisive and hotly-debated issues in American society these days. As I’ve said before, even while acknowledging our personal opinions on the issue on either side, sociologists like myself can and should try to contribute as much empirical data as possible so that we as Americans can see the whole picture and all the socioeconomic (not just political and cultural) aspects to understand the issue as best as possible.
Toward that end, I recommend people check out the Truth In Immigration site, operated by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), whose goal is to “rebut legal and factual inaccuracies about immigrants and/or Latinos.”
MALDEF generally supports legal rights for illegal immigrants (as do I) but that does not mean that the site is full of one-sided propaganda. Rather, they analyze information disseminated in the media and try to make sure that they correspond to the best empirical data available on the issue.
Second, to get a more detailed look at the effects of recent crackdowns on illegal immigrants and businesses that hire them, Newsweek magazine has a very good article that describes what’s been going on in Phoenix, Arizona, one of the major metro areas associated with the issue.
The article basically notes that anti-illegal immigration activists have been aggressively targeting employers who they suspect as hiring illegal immigrants and that the sheriff’s department has also stepped up its efforts in “rounding up” suspected illegal immigrants.
On the flip side, the article describes that many have accused the sheriff’s department with using racial profiling and violating the civil rights of Latinos. Further, businesses and farmers in the area have begun facing labor shortages and many are in danger of going out of business altogether because many Latino immigrants — legal and illegal — have left the for more “friendly” areas.
Of course, the anti-illegal immigrant activists will hail these developments as exactly the kind of results they’re looking for and that their tactics are working in “solving” the illegal immigration issue. It’s true that they are achieving their goal of driving illegal immigrants out of the Phoenix area, but as the article illustrates, there are socioeconomic consequences to their actions.
The point is, as exemplified by the MALDEF site, whatever side of the debate you’re on, we should consider every angle of the issue carefully and base our judgments on a full understanding of all the characteristics and consequences of the issue and those involved.
Illegal immigration will continue to be an emotional issue for many, but the point is, there are objective ways to look at it.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Update on Illegal Immigration" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2008/04/website-on-illegal-immigration/> ().
Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=580