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Compare and Contrast the reemergence of immigration as a key policy area in the UK & US


Since mid-April Immigration has been back on the political agenda for David Cameron and the
Coalition government. The PM outlined tighter controls on people who were coming from abroad who
wanted to study here, work here and marry here, in the UK. In a public speech in the south of
England he started by saying he was responding to the wishes of the British people, who wanted
change on immigration and expressed this in the general election. He highlighted the positives of
immigration, explaining that the skills people have from all over the world are benefitting british people
and our economy.

He then went on to slate Labour's record, saying that pressures on resources and social pressures
had become too much for some. He said the Conservatives plan to reduce net migration to the levels
seen in the 1980s, and early 90s. He promised that the asylum system would be gotten to grips with,
and that caps introduced to cap non-EU migrants were working and that illegal immigration was
being clamped down on. He promised that the coalition government would cut immigration to 'tens of
thousands' of people at year.

Vince Cable, the Lib Dem business secretary, attacked Cameron, saying that this was very much a
tory plan, and that the coalition agreement simply called for an annual limit on people coming into the
UK from outside the EU. He called Cameron 'very unwise' and that he risked inflaming extremism.
During the process of agreeing the governments policy, Cable has been outspoken saying that any
cap should be flexible as business requires.  Ed Miliband, showed some level of support but attacked
the coalition for being disunited on the topic.

Ideologically, the Tory's are against high levels of immigration and must be tightly controlled. They
proposed a cap in their manifesto, and promised to minimise abuse of the immigration system thru
student visas and human trafficking. Some argue that New Labour ideologically have a very similar
line, but failed to show this between the years of 1997 and 2010 with any real determination.

The PM (part of the executive) has chosen to give this strongly worded speech before the local
elections, in a bid cheer his party base and activists up and gain a few more votes in the May 5th
election. Although quite a while before the next general election, Cameron is aware that his stance on
the subject will appeal to many members of the public - hopefully the majority. Political journalists are
praising him for being brave enough to speak on the subject, as being silent on the issue only
supports the public firing up extremism, such as in the form of the BNP. May the 5th wasn't directly
about immigration as caps and visa policy is a job for the national government. Don't think that the
issue of the Economy isn't still right at the top of the political agenda.


18 months before the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama is still riding high on his post-Osama
opinion poll rise. He's taken the opportunity to get into the meat of the next big topic in the United
States, Immigration Reform. Some argue this is an attempt to get away from the growing deficit but
others point to the fact that Obama could use this as a way of showing how reluctant a
Republican held House is to compromise and work with the President.

Last week, president Obama held meetings with Latino lawmakers, movie stars and other members
of the ever growing Hispanic community, who now make up 7% of all US voters. White House officials
have acknowledged that these events are a part of Obama's effort to create public support. Latino
activists have so far not been impressed that Obama has so far not had the topic of immigration as
high up the political agenda as his pre-election promises suggested. Long gone are the days of
'hispanics will obviously vote Democratic'. 

Obama's not just parading around the southern states to sell his reforms, but he's actively aiming at
the entire US public, emphasising the economic positivity of reforming immigration laws making his
Compare and Contrast the reemergence of immigration as a key policy area in the UK & US

main point immigrants create jobs for everyone. This provides a counter argument to the GOP, that
immigration leads to national security issues, and that they are a drain on US resources.

The 2 main issues facing the debate in America are border security and illegal immigration. The US's
southern border has been a hive of crime, with drugs and trafficked people going down and guns
going south. Illegal immigration puts a strain local areas, labour markets and public services. To fight
back against the GOP, Obama's administration argue they have made substantial improvements on
border security, having increased National Guard levels and seizing more illegal goods and nearing
completion of a border fence. The arguament from house republicans that legislation shouldn't be
implmented until the border is now secure has now got a counter arguament, and one that Obama
will milk for all its worth.

Without setting out a timeline, President Obama released a blueprint for his approach, knowing that
passing the reform through congress isn't likely anytime soon. Another problem that Obama faces is
that in many more southern consevative states, such as Arizona and Georgia, the Republican
legislatures have just passed sweeping enforcement bills as there is no real federal action system,
leading states to take matters into their own hands.

Obama has reignited the immigration debate, brining back his defence of the DREAM act, which
would have offered a path-way to legal citizenship to certain immigrants. Will his plan pay off and the
GOP have to admit defeat on this issue?

Back in 2005, House of Reps passed a tough immigration bill that would set up a border fence (yes,
Americans think that'll help) and criminalise illegal aliens and their family. In general it took lots of
messy laws already in place and made them harsher. However, in another example of being
compassionate, Bush was striving for simpler border security and trying to appease businesses and
Latino voters by setting out plans for legalisation possibility to be a guest worker.

It wasn't until May 2006 that the Senate passed a more liberal bipartisan bill that increased security on
the southern border, started a Path towards citizenship for illegal aliens and implemented Bush's
guest worker programme. It proposed 12 million illegal immigrants could seek citizenship. Many
republicans on the right were apposed to this, and saw it as further intervention by the federal
government into state matters and supporting 'amnesty for illegals'.

When the Democrats took the house in 2007, there was an attempted bipartisan approached in the
senate, while the Democratic held house took no measures on the bill. There was still a lot of position
was on both sides. From liberals it was unfair and stopped unskilled workers from coming into the US
and for the Conservatives it was a gateway for more illegal immigration. Both sides kept offering
amendments to the bill but the senate didn't pass a cloture motion, delaying action on the bill until
after the 2008 election.