|Immigration: Help or Hindrance?|
|Key Words||Immigration, illegal immigration, resources, worker shortage, recession|
The Tampa office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service receives about ten letters or calls each week about alleged illegal immigrants. However, the tips are rarely checked out. This is in spite of the "get-tough" policies announced by the INS in 1996.
Although the INS office in Tampa claims it is a result of inadequate resources, a more likely explanation is that the hot economy and consequent worker shortage has led to immigration being regarded as positive. The INS itself has made it easier to obtain permanent residency ("green cards"). Service industries are pushing amnesty programs for illegal immigrants. Hi-tech firms want the cap on temporary professional visas increased. Even unions see immigrants as potential members rather than threats to the employment of Americans.
The INS admits that it has turned away from workplace raids and toward combating the root causes of illegal immigration, such as by strengthening border patrols, deporting illegal immigrants with a criminal record, and breaking up alien smuggling rings.
There are still critics, however, who believe that qualified Americans are being displaced. These attitudes may well increase during the next recession.
(Updated January 1, 2001)
|Source||Jeff Harrington, "Embracing Immigrants," St. Petersburg Times, September 17, 2000.|
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