.. e by the then 82 year-old humanitarian Katherine Dunham. Also, according to the article, an outcry erupted from U.S. Catholic bishops who said it was morally irresponsible and morally questionable (America, 1992, p.1). The article also quotes the Catholic Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy who said, It is only natural that the refugees experience should spawn well-founded suspicions that the treatment received by Haitians is the result of institutional racism.
Only 55 out of 9,000 Haitians are granted political asylum, while there is no publicly recorded case of any one of some 10,000 predominantly white Cuban boat people being denied admission (America, 1992, p.1). Another author argues that the U.S. immigration policy takes away our freedom to act as humanitarians (Wilbanks, 1993, p.1). Wilbanks goes on to say that national governments make decisions about refugee admission on the basis of national self-interest and that humanitarianism takes a back seat. Wilbanks feels that the U.S. should view refugees from a religious point of view instead of a pure national interest view. In this way, Wilbanks feels, citizens will not see refugees as strangers or objects for receiving but instead as people made in Gods image with whom to enter into a relationship (Wilbanks, 1993, p.4). In a recent article by Carr (1999), she examines the recent immigration laws as being unethical.
As an immigration lawyer she deals with immigrants seeking asylum or fighting to not be deported. One case Carr gives as an example is of a young man who was guilty of the crime of working in the United States without permission. He was doing work that most Americans wont do in order to support his American wife and child. Carr had to break the news of his deportation back to Mexico to him. In another case, a mother was deported away from her six-month old baby.
There wasnt time to arrange for the baby to travel with her so she was sent back to Mexico alone. In her desperation to get back to her baby, she died in the heat of the New Mexico desert (Carr, 1999, p.1.) This is the kind of unethical treatment of immigrants by the U.S. that Carr speaks out against. One of the new laws that Carr is opposed to is the requirement that a petitioning relative provide a guarantee to support the new immigranteven if the petitioner is a woman with young children who herself depends on the immigrant husband for his support (Carr, 1999, p.2). Carr does not understand why such laws were passed when several studies concluded that new immigrants contribute more to the economy overall than they take out.
In addition, immigrants do not commit proportionately more crimes than American citizens do. Carr contends that immigrants bring energy and expertise to a jaded society (Carr, 1999, p.2). Proposition 187, Californias notorious ballot initiative to deny schooling and medical care to illegal immigrants, spawned a wave of controversy when passed in 1994. In Rosins (1995) article she examines some of the un-American and immoral attitudes towards immigrants. Rosin (1995) quotes one Republican, Marge Roukema, as saying, These criminals come here to prey on American citizens. Another Republican, Lamor Smith, sponsored a House bill, which in part would put a cap of 330,000 family-sponsored immigrants. In addition, it would cut down the total number of immigrants by 25 percent from 800,000 to 600,000 by the end of the century (Rosin, 1995, p.1).
This un-American attitude, according to Rosin, is spurred by the belief that immigrants are welfare sponges. Republican Alan Simpson goes as far as to threaten deportation for legal immigrants who make excessive use of welfare in their first five years (Rosin, 1995,p.2). According to the article, a recent Urban Institute study shows that working-age non-refugee immigrants are less likely than natives to be on welfare. Activists to ensure a more ethical treatment of immigrants have suggested several strategies. For a more humane approach to reduce the influx of Cubans to our shores Defede (1999) suggests an end to the wet-feet policy. Defede also suggests curtailing smugglers who bring Cubans ashore by perhaps using the FBI or the Navy.
As mentioned earlier, Defede feels the wet-feet policy is unethical and cruel to those Cubans who risk their lives only to be repatriated when caught before they could step on dry U.S. soil. Defede suggests ending repatriations altogether and says that if Castro threatens to unleash another flood of refugees that we encircle the island with warships and cut off all oil shipments to his country (Defede, 1999, p.13). In response to the Haitian refugees, activists have suggested that all boat people be granted refuge for a time. Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk said that even Haitians who cannot qualify for political asylum deserve the shelter provided by the legal remedy called Temporary Protected Status (America, 1993, p.183).
The United States Government and its citizens need to re-examine the immigration policy. Allowing 700,000 immigrants into the country a year is not enough. Instead we need an open-door policy. The overall limit gives the INS too much power to pick and choose whom they feel should be let in. A 700,000-year immigrants cap also encourages illegal immigration.
Americans are always saying, If those people want to get in let them do it the legal way. Well, given the means and resources most immigrants would most definitely choose to come legally as opposed to climbing high barbed-wire fences or floating for days on a raft. The fact that we allow people to die trying to get to our soil is an inhumane, immoral, and unethical as forcing Africans to this country and turning them into slaves. An open-door policy would also end the inconsistency of the current immigration policy. Presently, we allow thousands of Cubans to enter the U.S. and to remain as residents while the majority of Haitians are turned back.
We have an historic commitment to immigration and we need to remember that immigrants keep our nation strong, economically competitive, and culturally rich. The question of whether Americas doors should be open or closed will continue to be intensely debated in the courts, in Congress, and in communities where immigrants settle. Bibliography WORKS CITED Anderson, George M. (1998). Fortress North America: the new immigration law. America, 178, 3. Carr, Ann (1999).
Deporting Resident Aliens: No Compassion, No Sense. America, 180, 6, 18. Defede, Jim (1999). Life in the Echo Chamber. Miami New Times, 14, 13-15. Rosin, Hanna (1995).
Strange Days. The New Republic, 213, 11. Wilbanks, Dana W. (1993). The moral debate between humanitarianism and national interest about U.S.
refugee policy; a theological perspective. Migration World Magazine, 21, 15. Throwing people back is no good. (1992). America, 166, 183. Questions about the golden door.
(1993). America, 168, 3. Social Issues.