Pro-Immigration and Anti-Immigration Groups in the United States
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Border Angels is a group of volunteers that have set up water stations near the Arizona border to prevent dehydration of illegal immigrants crossing the border. The stations are not set up to encourage illegal immigrants to cross the border, but instead aim to reduce the incidence of deaths that have occurred due to dehydration. Since the United States built a steel fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in 1994 this has made it more difficult for illegal immigrants to cross the border near California. As a result many illegal immigrants have instead opted to take the more difficult voyage through the Arizona desert. Thousand of lives of illegal immigrants (nearly 3,000) have been lost due to dehydration since the erection of the fence, also known as Operation Gatekeeper. Along with setting up water stations the Border Angels have also given out snacks, sweaters, and blankets. The locations of the stations are changed periodically so as to not encourage dependency. The Border Angels volunteers also replenish the supplies from time to time. Another pro-immigration group, the American Immigration Lawyers, has been working on immigration reforms which are similar to those proposed by Former President Bush. The 43rd President has also proposed that more immigration-friendly legislation be introduced such as a temporary guest worker program which would give illegal immigrants the opportunity to gain legal status if they met certain requirements. He believes that immigrants have helped shape American into what it is today. The next step for many of the pro-immigration groups is to encourage those who are able to vote in the U.S. to register and vote. The pro-immigration groups believe that by heading to the polls, citizens will have a greater influence and shape American policies. Immigrant advocacy groups are also encouraging permanent residents who qualify to apply for U.S citizenship.
Anti-immigration groups are also located throughout the United States. An example is an organization called Grassfire, who has put up billboards that express their anti-immigration stance. The billboards found along the highways state “Stop the invasion: save our border.” The billboards can currently be found in West Virginia, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and California. A Michigan activist by the name of John H. Tanton claims to have organized the anti-immigration movement by founding and providing financial support to some groups. The network consists of 13 anti-immigration groups which include the American Immigration Control Foundation, California Coalition for Immigration Reform, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Pro English, and Project USA among others. Some believe that the membership numbers of the network are exaggerated. Currently, one of the most active anti-immigration groups is known as "Minuteman." Minuteman is consisted of two organizations. One of the groups is "Minuteman Project Incorporated" and the other is "Minuteman Civil Defense Corps." Both groups have made headlines for organizing their own volunteer force to temporarily patrol sections of the U.S.-Mexico border. While the Minutemen volunteer patrols have not been significantly large, the Minutemen have managed to catch the attention of the media. The Minutemen like to refer to themselves as the “local neighborhood watch” of the border. The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has planned on erecting a 10 mile fence in Arizona to deter illegal immigrants, livestock, drug traffickers, and other criminals from crossing the U.S. - Mexico border. Through private donations and volunteers, the Minute Civil Defense Corps has been able to build 2.5 miles of the planned 10 mile fence.