Undocumented Immigration in Los Angeles

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Introduction to LA and the Issue:

Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the United States and known to be the entertainment capital of the world. People from all over the world travel there for a wide range of reasons from vacationing to pursuing dreams in the fields of entertainment and technology. The media presents LA as a beautiful place where dreams come true in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. What the media doesn’t show are the people struggling to get by.

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Undocumented immigration is an issue that has become more and more prominent in recent and has even become a presidential debate issue. The country is divided over what to do with the millions of people that are living in the United States illegally. There are basically two sides of the argument. One side argues that the undocumented immigrants should be deported because they believe that the immigrants are taking jobs from American citizens, not paying taxes, and committing crimes that harm US citizens. The other group believes that the undocumented immigrants should be granted a pathway to citizenship because they believe the undocumented citizens came to escape troubles in their own country and came to the United States with no evil intentions. Undocumented immigrants live all across the US but a majority of them live in large cities. Being a large city, Los Angeles has a large number of undocumented immigrants. Data shows that LA has about 1 million undocumented immigrants and about 1 in 10 workers are undocumented.


The Importance of the Issue: 

This is an problem in LA because of the controversy over this issue as well as the chaos that follows a negative response. With 1 in 10 workers being undocumented, some feel that their jobs are jeopardized by undocumented immigrants who agree to work for lower wages and others connect undocumented immigrants with crime. In response to undocumented immigrants, there have been many crackdowns meaning the federal immigration officials hunting down and arresting undocumented immigrants. Sometimes they do catch undocumented immigrants that are responsible for crimes. This is obviously a good thing. However, in many cases, innocent people are arrested just because they are undocumented. In these cases families are torn apart in a traumatic way. If someone is paying taxes, not committing crimes, working, etc, they shouldn’t be deported. Although it isn’t usually mentioned, deportation costs money and that money is from our taxes. If someone is innocent, why not offer them a pathway to citizenship?

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What Can We Do?

People form opinions  based on experiences they’ve had or stories they’ve heard. There’s always more than one side to a story and if all we hear about in the media is the negative side of undocumented immigrants (taking jobs, committing crimes, selling drugs, using our tax dollars, etc), we will form negative opinions towards them. My hope is that if people are exposed to more sides of the story, they will change their views. Yes, it’s true that some undocumented immigrants are committing crimes and selling drugs. But guess what, there are also American citizens that are committing crimes and selling drugs. I believe that if an undocumented immigrant is arrested for committing a crime they should face punishment, however, people shouldn’t be deported just because they are undocumented. If people saw some of the positive facts and heard some of the stories about good hardworking people that just happen to be undocumented, they will change their views on the issue. My goal is to provide a side to the undocumented immigration issue that people may not have seen yet. In today’s United States, it can be easy to be exposed to only one side of the story. The media loves to report on the juicy and controversial issues because those are the kinds of stories that get them views and profit. People like hearing about drama and the action. The media doesn’t usually report on the nice guy down the street who works hard to support his family. They report on the murderers, drug dealers, and bank robbers. So we must be careful of what we develop opinions from and remember that one person cannot represent an entire group of people. 

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I have created an app that provides information about LA as well as the undocumented immigration issue. Here is the QR code for the app.

QR code link to webapp

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