The recent influx of immigrant unaccompanied minors into the United States is only the most recent of a long list of immigration concerns and issues. Perhaps what makes the plight of these young people so resonant in popular news media is the fact that even the most vocal detractors of immigration reform cannot find it within themselves to blame the problem on the immigrants themselves.
Reportedly, tens of thousands of immigrant children turned themselves over to the U.S. border patrol in the summer of 2014 ending their journeys that may have taken many months or even years. These children came from all over Central and South America trying to escape violence and persecution in their homelands.
And what’s more, what makes their journey particularly impressive, is that they did it on their own, without the assistance of their parents.
In 2015, the federal government under the leadership of President Obama plans to grant a great deal of these new immigrants with refugee status in the U.S., which can eventually lead to legal permanent residency.
There have been other pushes to give immigrants pathways to permanent residency and eventually citizenship in the past such as the DREAM Act, which was never passed, and the mass amnesty program from the 1980s where President Ronal Reagan created a pathway for many immigrants.
Just last year, there was discussion in the U.S. congress about re-allocating permanent residencies (Green Cards) to a program that would reward legal residency in the United States based on a person’s field of education. The so called STEM program (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) was not passed into law.