Background Checks in Immigration Reforms

A recent article outlines the future for immigration policies in the US, and this includes criminal background checks for illegal immigrants. As stated in the linked article, the plan, stated by Janet Napolitano, will require illegal immigrants to register, pay fines and back taxes, learn English, and pass a criminal background check. Failure to do any of these may result in deportation. The purpose of this revised immigration policy is to reduce the amount of illegal immigrants entering the country and to curb immigration in general and, additionally, to protect jobs for American citizens. While the recession has slowed immigration, particularly illegal immigrants from Mexico, many illegal immigrants continue to live in this country, particularly the Midwest, the South, and California.

One opposition to this revision is that such a policy grants amnesty to current illegal immigrants. But, while this new policy addresses many of the current issues concerning illegal immigrants, failure to do all ultimately results in deportation. For example, someone may pay any back taxes and fines but, by failing a criminal background check, he or she may be deported. Similarly, these policies will be in place for all entering this country legally.

Illegal immigrants with a criminal background may continue to commit crimes in the US, as seen by a recent news story in California involving the roundup of 300 illegal immigrants who have committed crimes on American soil. Those rounded up now face criminal charges and deportation. As mentioned in the article, over 130,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records in 2008 were deported and adding this background check component may increase numbers of illegal immigrants facing deportation. Additionally, stricter immigration laws, such as requiring criminal background checks, might result in more American jobs, as employers may need to check if all candidates or current employees are legal citizens.