Immigrants founded America as a nation. Many people fled various challenges in Europe in the 17th century to go find better opportunities in the new world. The waves of immigrants continued to pour into America either fleeing from persecution, or seeking better opportunities for education and work. This is still going on. Bush, McLarty and Alden (2009) justify this phenomenon when they say, “Allowing people to come to this country to visit, study, or work is one of the surest means to build friendships with future generations of foreign leaders and to show America’s best face to the world” (p. ix).
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In modern times, immigrants from Asia and South America form the bulk of arrivals to the seaports and airports of America. There are two classes of immigrants, legal and illegal. Mexico remains one of the most significant sources of immigrants. Over time, a Latino voting bloc has emerged, and it is growing more and more influential in America’s political landscape. The bloc comprises first generation immigrants who have settled in America and descendants of older generation migrants. This explains the importance President Obama has attached to the issue of immigration. Their role as a swing vote is important in the outcome of elections in some states in America.
Immigration is a hot topic among politicians and within the public. With the current high rate of unemployment in America, voters easily associate immigrants to fewer job opportunities. This is not unique to America. The global economic meltdown contributed to the escalation of immigration into a sore issue in the national platforms of many countries. It was a subject of hot debate in Britain during the recent elections.
France and Germany, among other European nations, have not quite put a leash on the matter either. It continues to define policy the world over as countries grapple with tough choices regarding immigration laws and dealing with illegal immigrants. There is consensus among republicans and democrats that immigration laws require fixing, although there is much variance in the details. The state of Arizona passed tough immigration laws, which some parties consider draconian.
A report in the New York Times published a week before the mid-term elections portrayed the president as a pro-immigration champion, whose efforts the republicans are sabotaging. It also brings out a sense of desperation on his part to get the Hispanics out to vote on the crucial day. In addition, the report portrays republicans as opposed to comprehensive immigration reforms, and as unwilling to discuss immigration issues with the democrats. They would rather see stricter border controls and stiffer laws such as those enacted in Arizona.
This report has a distinct bias since it presents the president’s viewpoint. It includes several direct quotes from the president’s radio interview, which serve to advance his view. It presents the republican’s response to debating immigration reforms as rigid, and portrays them as uncooperative. Despite this bias, the report provides a fair view of the Democratic Party and the president’s view of the republicans on the issue of immigration. It presents the democrats’ feeling. The reporter does not end up sensationalizing the emotive issue. He is sufficiently objective to report the president’s interview without passing off personal convictions on the issue.
The report influences public perception over immigration in three ways. First, the public can feel that there is a lack of political consensus over the issue, mainly caused by the uncooperative republicans. The republicans have their stand on the matter and are not willing to talk to the democrats about any of their proposals. Secondly, the public can see Obama as very inclined towards a comprehensive solution to the problem, with a human face to it, as opposed to the republicans who have very drastic proposals bent on stricter control and draconian legislation.
The third way public perception is affected is that they can feel the need for the Hispanic vote in the effort towards reform. Its absence may see the republicans getting control of Congress, which may end up further jeopardizing the chance for a comprehensive solution to the immigration issue. The report has the potential to encourage prejudice against republicans. According to the report, they do not seem at all interested in dialogue in the issue. The democrats seem to be doing all the reaching out. It however portrays the need for immigration reform as one that will bring more inclusion for immigrants in America. Since the president is seeking the Hispanic vote, it portrays them as an important minority in the American society who can influence the composition of Congress.
Hispanic immigration already affects the American economy and labor profoundly. Most immigrants are low skill labors who seek low wage jobs. Due to their status in the American society, they are unable to negotiate for better pay. This is worse when they are illegal. In describing their experience, Bush et at (2009) note that, “they face a dangerous gauntlet of immigrant smugglers, stepped up border enforcement, and the threat of criminal prosecution for the reward of what is often an insecure job that lacks basic workplace protections” (pp. 5-6).
The segment of the labor market affected depends on the class of immigrants. Borjas (2007) states, “Low-skill immigrants will typically harm low skill natives, while skilled migrants will harm skilled natives” (p. 5). They are a source of competition to the natives. On the other side, since they demand lower wages, small enterprises willing to risk labor laws have lower production costs. This makes them more competitive in the global environment, which adds to the economic growth of America.
The effect of the political impasse in immigration reform on the US economy and on labor is difficult to describe. It has effects on investment decision making since whatever position the country takes, there is a corresponding effect on the availability of labor, which is a critical factor of production. Bush et al (2009) point out that, “More than half the recent growth in the U.S. labor force has come from immigration, and nearly all the future growth will come either from immigrants or from current workers delaying retirement” (p.13).
The key effects of the media report on employees will be the stressing of differences between democrats and republicans. It also touches on the work status of immigrant workers and their relatives, who may feel threatened by change in the immigration laws. It is important to promote cross party understanding and get the employees to focus more on the objectives of the organization as opposed to party differences.
Depending on severity of the divide, it may be beneficial to organize special facilitated sessions where all employees can meet and air their political differences and find a middle ground. Secondly, as a manager affected by this issue there is need to reassure all immigrant workers and ensure that their status is legally acceptable, by providing all assistance needed to renew work permits. A manager will promote inclusion by emphasizing the fact that America is, “a country shaped by generation of immigrants and their descendants” (Bush et al, 2009, p. 3). This will promote better accommodation of the immigrant workers by natives.
Borjas, G. J. (2007). Mexican immigration to the United States. A National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report. London: University of Chicago Press.
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Bush, J., McLarty, F. T., & Alden, E. H. (2009). U. S. immigration policy. New York: Council on Foreign Relations.