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Goldwater on Immigration Reform

Goldwater On Immigration Reform

Immigration problems within the United States immigration system have remained the same for several years. Congress has been unable to come up with a plan that satisfies the majority, whether headed by Democrats or Republicans. Immigration problems are an issue that every political candidate is forced to address. In 1978, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater defied a plan that would be similar to one that Congress rejected backed by former President George Bush and fellow Arizona Senator John McCain.

The plan in question was a reform of the United States immigration policy that would rely on amnesty, or forgiveness, by granting undocumented illegal immigrants in America a quick path to citizenship. It also imposed stricter sanctions on employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants, punishing them with fines and possible jail time. The hope would be that such actions would cause the number of jobs open to illegal immigrants to dry up and would slow the number of illegal immigrants who came to the United States each year.

Goldwater had two major criticisms of the plan. His first criticism was that by granting amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States would effectively be rewarding someone for illegal behavior. Goldwater also feared that the amnesty policy would actually increase immigration problems by causing tension amongst those immigrants who had undertaken the difficult process of became a naturalized United States citizen. His second criticism of the plan focused on the employer sanctions. He claimed that sanctions could raise civil rights violation issues.

Goldwater proposed an alternate solution. He believed that an expansion of the temporary worker program would allow Mexican immigrants to enter the United States on a temporary legal basis and address America's need for seasonal workers. The extensions would be good for a time period of roughly six months, although not necessarily consecutive. Goldwater also believed that the United States immigration system should have worked on its immigration problems of monitoring the border by updating the technology and inspection process.

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