BY: HATTIE THOMASSON
Massac County High School’s chapter of Next Generation Politics has quickly thrived and gained upwards of 20 members since starting in September of 2017. Massac’s most recent meeting was held on November 30. The discussion was both informative – for students who did not have much knowledge on the issues – and deliberative for students who already held particular viewpoints.
Massac County High School’s latest meeting covered the topic of immigration. Students were asked to prepare a bill, law, or even a simple idea on how to solve the current immigration problem that America is facing. During the meeting, three key questions were asked to solve this issue: “What is the problem?”, “What is a solution?”, and “What will happen to the current illegal immigrants?”
“What is the problem?”
When asked this question, the students worked together to decide on what specifically the problem with immigration in America is. All of the students agreed that the biggest issue with immigration is that many people who enter the United States are not doing so legally, while others expressed their concerns with an increase in crime and violence among illegal citizens.
“What is a solution?”
Two main ideas were expressed in dealings with future immigrants. The first was that the process to becoming a United States citizen should be more attainable. This side argued that this would encourage immigrants to legally become citizens, rather than living illegally and not abiding by United States law. Another idea was to create an immigration quota, and only a certain number of immigrants would be allowed entrance into the United States. After the quota is met, students proposed that the other applicants be put on a wait list.
“What will happen to the current illegal immigrants?”
Massac County students’ came up with many different thoughts on what could be done with the illegal immigrants who are already in America. One student, Collin Fiorentini, suggested that these illegal immigrants be given an option to become a US citizen, and if they do not wish to apply for citizenship they would be removed from the country. Another student, Devon Martin, suggested that there be a penalty for entering America illegally, such as a fine or jail time, and then they would be put on a path to citizenship if they so choose to become citizens. Mark Mizell referenced the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and suggested that a revised edition could be implemented to combat the issues concerning immigration.
In all, this meeting was successful in that students learned about immigration policy and began to form their own viewpoints.