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Illegal immigration remains major area of contention

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Immigration remains a major topic of contention among voters throughout the United States, including in Maryland. This is because politicians and presidential candidates have differing views with regard to how to deal with illegal immigration in particular. There are about 11 million immigrants in the United States who lack the proper paperwork.

President Barack Obama did announce several executive actions a year ago with the goal of protecting about five million of these undocumented immigrants from being deported. However, the plan is currently in limbo for legal reasons, as a couple of federal judges have stated that he overstepped his presidential authority. The president's administration is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to the American Federation of Labor, immigrants who lack documentation but are making contributions to the U.S. economy should receive protection from being deported because deportation can devastate families. Children born in the U.S. are American citizens, but their parents are not, and they are deported. However, other people have argued that amnesty actually undermines immigration reform. They emphasize that the government must get serious about the issue of immigration by enforcing the nation's current laws rather than simply developing new ones.

Another huge aspect of today's immigration debate is how to handle kids who reach the border of the U.S. and Mexico by themselves. Over 10,500 minors who were unaccompanied by adults crossed the Mexican-U.S. border in the months of October and November of 2015. How the topic of illegal immigration will be addressed going forward remains to be seen. Those who lack the necessary paperwork in Maryland would be wise to remain knowledgeable about changes in U.S. immigration laws so that they are prepared to take the proper steps if they are seeking citizenship or another legally recognized status.

Source: wmur.com, "Immigration key issue in presidential race", Aixa Diaz, Dec. 21, 2015

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