Current Issues Index

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis and U.S. Policy
The United States has been a safe haven for the world’s refugees throughout its history. In recent years, violent and brutal conflicts in the Syrian civil war have driven millions of people from their homes. In this Civil Conversation activity, students discuss: What should U.S. policy be for these refugees?

Arizona v. United States
On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a controversial state immigration bill. The bill, SB1070, restricts employment of unauthorized immigrants, directs police officers to investigate suspected unauthorized immigrants, and penalizes government agencies that do not enforce immigration laws.

Unauthorized Immigration and the U.S. Economy
Each year, thousands of persons enter the United States without authorization to take advantage of economic opportunities. Does this unauthorized immigration help or harm the U.S. economy?

The Debate Over Guest-Worker Programs
Many elected officials in the American government have recommended creating a guest-worker program to address the issue of illegal immigration. Should a guest-worker program include unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States?

Immigration Enforcement Raids
In the United States, there is a growing debate over policies of the federal agency that investigates and enforces the nation’s immigration laws. That agency is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Agents of ICE frequently conduct immigration enforcement operations, commonly called “raids,” in early morning hours to arrest undocumented immigrants.

Local Police and Immigration Law: The Case of Special Order 40
In the 1970s, it was common for Los Angeles police officers to investigate and arrest residents for violations of Title 8 of the U.S. Immigration Code, which sets forth the requirements for immigration. Officers would even make “sweeps” of local businesses and neighborhoods to look for undocumented immigrants. The LAPD’s Special Order 40 changed those practices.

Driver's Licenses and Unauthorized Immigrants
Possessing a driver’s license can give a person more privileges than simply being allowed to operate a motor vehicle. A driver’s license or state-issued ID card also works as an identification card. Should driver’s licenses and other ID cards be issued to unauthorized immigrants?

Naturalized Citizens and the Presidency
The U.S. Constitution requires that a candidate for president or vice president must have been born in the United States. With so many foreign-born citizens today, and particularly after Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger became the governor of California in 2003, some people believe this constitutional requirement should be changed.

Issues of Unauthorized Immigration
Unauthorized immigration is often also referred to as illegal immigration or undocumented immigration. For the last 30 years, unauthorized immigration has been a major political issue. It remains one of the most difficult to resolve.

Federal Policy and Immigration
The federal government is in charge of the nation’s policies on immigration. The current proposals before Congress on immigration are examples of the making of public policy.