Law in Contemporary Society

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BiyeremOkengwuThirdPaper 2 - 14 Jan 2015 - Main.IanSullivan
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BiyeremOkengwuThirdPaper 1 - 17 Jun 2013 - Main.BiyeremOkengwu
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It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

Should Immigration Laws Be Loosened?

-- By BiyeremOkengwu - 17 Jun 2013

Journey To A New Place

For a nation that is supposedly a melting pot of all nationalities there is extreme backlash for initiatives, such as the Dream Act, geared towards helping immigrants. At six years old, I was a political prisoner in a Nigerian prison camp. The sound of my eight-year-old sister’s naked feet tearing frantically on the sharp pebbled courtyard of my home as hardened military fingers dragged her out by the neck still haunts me. My Father belonged to a group called “The Pirates.” A few weeks before, they hosted a party and the Governor was in attendance. For reasons still unknown the Governor felt the hosts failed to show him the respect he deserved. Scorned and furious, he began to round up the cause of his humiliation, and lock them up. My father went into hiding; my sister and I were taken hostage. For three days we sat, cold and hungry, in a dark hole surrounded by impenetrable bars, until my father could finally bribe those bars apart.

Although we escaped to the United States, the residual consequences of those nights cling to my being and affected the way I look at life. While the words I said, years later, in a warm New Jersey school meant little to the boy I sat next too, “with liberty, and justice for all” means everything to me. I’ve known a life where the power in a society strictly divided between those who have and those who have not; and while I was once on the fortunate side of that divide and am again today, in Africa that terrain can switch very swiftly.

Less Than Ideal Circumstances In The Rest Of The world

This sharply illustrated when I went to Ghana to celebrate my grandmother’s eightieth birthday. Her Church organized a charity event in a neighboring village. While the implementation of the American political structure is less than ideal, that Ghanaian village lacked the ability to implement democratic ideals. Speaking with a chief through a translator, I found that he didn’t oppose democracy but rather didn’t see how anything other than oligarchy could work. They lacked things like education that enable a strong political structure and as a result the village children have eyes similar to the ones I had when in the Nigerian prison camp, cold dark holes filled with emptiness and uncertainty. Without a democratic political structure the girl I gave a pair of shoes to cannot escape her cage. In West Africa, it seems that if you lack a well-connected father, you are doomed to a life of the “have-nots”. It is tragic not because of the lives they lead, but because that little girl does not know why the caged bird sings like I do.

Discriminatory Procedure

I’ve known a life where the power in a society was so strictly divided between those who have and those who have not. I am proud to say I am a US citizen and live in a country where the playing field is significantly more equal for those from all socioeconomic backgrounds than in Nigeria. To gain this citizenship was a timely and costly process for my family. I believe the procedure for citizenship to be very discriminatory. For example, a Mexican worker on a farm could not afford the price of the immigration lawyer as well as the costs of the documents required for citizenship. The current procedures could be argued to advantage those who came to the states with valuable connections, or situations that helped them attain good financial standing. The US government is basically saying you cannot be a poor immigrant and expect us to give you citizenship. Though my family was fortunate enough to have been able to go through the lengthy and costly ordeal of gaining citizenship, if we were unable to have ascertained citizenship should we have been shipped back to Nigeria? I am by no means trying to say my story, as a political refugee, is the same as an illegal immigrant who snuck into the country. I do though propose that both stories have the underlying theme of individuals running from oppression, whether it is in the form of political persecution or economical stagnation.


The main argument for harsh immigration laws is that they are meant to protect American citizens in a time when it is already difficult for everyone to attain a job. This is a weak argument and does nothing but blame the economic state on immigrants. I helped start a program Georgetown University Mentors and Tutors (GUMAT) while in undergrad. GUMAT pairs DC youth with Georgetown students who would then be responsible for these youth’s academic and social growth throughout the year. The goal was to help these DC youth, usually minorities, attain the skills and education their socioeconomic situation deprived them of. The more of these students are able to excel academically, the more of them will be able to take on leadership positions and diversity the pool of political and social thought. These are the types of programs the government should be funding rather than claiming immigrants are stealing away jobs that no one wants.

New procedures need to be put in place. Some examples of possible alternatives could include good standing with a job and a minimum amount of time spent in specific states. Furthermore, the US could require that these immigrants attend weekly or monthly meetings with designated government immigration personal to determine that they can indeed be a positive addition to the social order in the US.


The youth have to be educated in the US. More importantly all efforts have to be made to retain all youth educated in the US in the US. Children should not be forced back to their home countries because their parents cannot afford the current price of a US citizenship. I do not propose that it should be a free for all but new procedures should be put in place to replace the current economic ones.

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Revision 2r2 - 14 Jan 2015 - 22:23:44 - IanSullivan
Revision 1r1 - 17 Jun 2013 - 07:18:00 - BiyeremOkengwu
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