This article will explore some of the challenges and opportunities which immigration reform will present if it is ever implemented as envisioned by the United States Congress in S744 and various amendments.
One of the most perplexing questions politicians on both sides of the aisle face on immigration reform is when and under what circumstances the border with Mexico can be made secure.
In the background, another important issue lurks: the ongoing growth of the U.S. population since 2000; from 300 million to 315 million. This growth rate has exceeded the death rate so that the total number of people actuarially increases each year as does the world population itself.
Population increases in the U.S. are potentially problematic because the unemployment rate is over 7.5 percent and millions have given up on ever seeking employment. Still others are underemployed. Add to this the millions of jobs that have left the U.S. for overseas, as well as outsourcing to foreign operations centers.
The starting point for immigration is critical because the legalization process would commence for an estimated 10 million people here illegally once our borders are secure. Under the Senate bill, the Department of Homeland Security must create a viable plan that could stop vast numbers of illegal crossings along the U.S. border with Mexico.
For an immigration plan to pass muster, the federal government must secure the border, consider implementing a controversial program for drone surveillance, hire more Customs and Border Protection personnel and possibly expel people already here in the United States illegally. Guest worker programs would commence now for persons agreeing to take jobs that are hard to place. Employers would be required to verify that all employees are here legally.
Congress must consider what workers will do once they become a permanent part of local workforces. Historically, immigrants have worked in building trades, driving, machining occupations, mechanics, service occupations and even franchises of every size.
In the building trades alone, demand for new workers has been relatively stable for carpenters, assemblers, electricians, brick layers, elevator repair, plasterers, roofers, iron workers, boiler repair, solar energy installations and many others. Millions of people work in service occupations such as building custodians, cooks, chefs, hospital attendants, bartenders, security guards, fire fighters and cosmeticians.
Assimilation is another hot issue. Luckily, language teaching has become more systematic with programs like Pimsleur which guarantee a basic fluency in just 10 days.
In the event the United States embarks on a bold new plan for upgrading infrastructure, the demand for labor may increase to the point where there could be a labor shortage. Only time will tell whether or not a thriving economy will be able to accommodate employment for the millions of people already here, as well as a rise in new immigration from countries all over the globe.