Should good deeds provide a pathway to citizenship? | The Tylt

Should good deeds provide a pathway to citizenship?

Undocumented immigrants are reportedly afraid to seek help amid Hurricane Florence, and now they’re being punished for extraordinary good deeds. CNN reports that ICE is arresting and deporting individuals coming forward to sponsor one of the 12,800 children currently in Health and Human Services custody. Some argue individuals living in the country illegally should be deported. But other countries have demonstrate that service and contributions might warrant citizenship. What do you think?

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should good deeds provide a pathway to citizenship?
#SameCitizenshipPath
A festive crown for the winner
#DoGood4Citizenship
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Should good deeds provide a pathway to citizenship?
#SameCitizenshipPath
#DoGood4Citizenship

Fear is no stranger to undocumented immigrants and refugees. So when Hurricane Florence prepared to slam the Carolina cost, it’s not wonder that undocumented immigrants living in communities within the storm’s trajectory hesitated to seek help. The New York Times' Caitlin Dickerson reports:

Hurricane Florence forced [undocumented immigrants] to think about whether seeking government resources like shelter, food or other aid would help them get through the storm, or put them at greater risk.

Similarly, as adults come forward to offer sponsorship for one of the 12,800 immigrant children in HHS custody, ICE may be having the same impact. CNN's Tal Kopan writes:

The [Trump] administration moved last spring to better scrutinize adults coming forward to take care of the children as they pursue a right to stay in the US. That agreement includes exhaustive screening conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But many of the adults who take care of these kids are undocumented themselves, and fearful of ICE getting their information.
#DoGood4Citizenship

HHS is the body responsible for all undocumented immigrant children. With 12,800 children currently in custody, the organization’s numbers are reaching record highs; meanwhile, HHS’ release rates of those children are at record lows. CNN's Kopan has one theory as to why, saying HHS could be:

...allegedly holding [the children] intentionally until they turn 18 and [are] eligible for stricter adult detention. Many of the children do have legitimate legal rights to stay in the US, but the legal process to gain them can take years...According to the official with knowledge, the daily discharge rate for unaccompanied immigrant children is down to 0.6 per hundred, from 2.0 per hundred in 2017.

For many of the adults coming forward to claim relatives or simply coming forward to take care of the children as they pursue citizenship, the motivation to do so is waning. Koplan writes:

On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement senior official Matthew Albence testified to Congress that, after Health and Human Services and ICE signed a memorandum of agreement to background-check and fingerprint potential ‘sponsors’ of immigrant children, ICE arrested 41 people who came forward.
The individuals could have been the children's parents or family members, and they also could have merely been fellow members of the homes of adults who applied to care for the children as they fight for a legal right to stay in the US.

According to Koplan, the HHS-ICE agreement for fingerprinting and background checks will act as a strong deterrent for potential sponsors. Meanwhile, everyone involved in these situations loses. The children remain in HHS custody, presumably after fleeing their home countries under threatening conditions, and undocumented adults willing to help are instead hiding–prisoners themselves to the same system holding the 12,800 minors in custody.

Rather than scare adults, undocumented or otherwise, into inaction, HHS and ICE should advocate for policy that would encourage reuniting and creating families. Countries like Brazil require a service to the country before applicants can become full citizens, and France famously granted immediate citizenship to one individual for rescuing a child

The idea of service to a new country in order to gain citizenship is not unprecedented, and it certainly would align with American values. 

#SameCitizenshipPath

Nevertheless, the United States’s pathway to citizenship is clear, and doing anything to change such a widely-accepted process would upend law and order as we know it–particularly at a time when immigrations and border control is so top-of-mind.

According to The White House, the Trump administration is acting in the interest of the American people. The administration's policy states:

To restore the rule of law and secure our border, President Trump is committed to constructing a border wall and ensuring the swift removal of unlawful entrants.

CNN adds:

It has long been true that undocumented children who arrive in the US by themselves will often seek to be placed with relatives who may also be living in the US illegally. The administration has described this process as a circumvention of law in order to exploit more lenient policies for children, even labeling it "smuggling" of children.

If a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants existed via extraordinary good deeds, such as bringing undocumented children into their homes, there would be no way to monitor motives. People could be coming forward without the children’s best interest at heart, which would create more problems for HHS, rather than solve the ones the organization is currently dealing with. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should good deeds provide a pathway to citizenship?
#SameCitizenshipPath
A festive crown for the winner
#DoGood4Citizenship