Immigration is characterized as the movement of people from their home countries to countries where they are neither natives nor residents. They move in order to become permanent residents or naturalized citizens while still working as immigrant workers. Jens and Hopkins (532) identify an immigrant as a foreign national who plans to live permanently in the United States as a citizen and receive a permanent resident visa. Alternatively, immigrants can choose to stay for a limited time without obtaining a resident card. As a lawful permanent resident of the United States, but not a citizen, the immigrant gains a new identity. Nevertheless, one may apply for U.S. citizenship also termed as naturalization after upholding the status and the dignity of permanent resident for some time. In case the immigrant fails to file the U.S. income tax return, the permanent status may get lost. Additionally, if the immigrant gets convicted of a serious crime, he or she may be kept outside U.S. for more than 180 consecutive days and should no longer intend to live in the country. The paper, therefore, explores immigration influence on the Americas social, economic and political realms. Extensively, it offers a discussion on why immigration is significant.
2.0 Influence of Immigration on America
2.1 Social Realm
In discussing the social influence of immigration, one majorly focuses on the countries of origin of the immigrants. The impact of immigrants in the U.S. is not only the outcomes of immigrants skills, motivations, and values but also the resident populations reactions. The social influence of immigration can get sub-divided into positive and negative impacts on the American soil.
2.11 Positive Social Influence of Immigration
Buzby (n.p) acknowledges that immigration results to naturalization of aliens who then earn permanent residence in the United States. Once one is naturalized, he enjoys other benefits that any US citizen enjoys. One may, for instance, receive sponsorship of the immediate relatives without any limits by the relevant statutes governing this. Also, mature offspring of the naturalized citizens move into preference category making it easier for them to move to the U.S. Jens and Hopkins (537) expounds that one is granted the right to vote and mainly enjoy public assistance programs. Similarly, immigration facilitates the improvement of the English language to the immigrants who may not be well-versed in the language. Since Americans use English as the official and most used language among all the residents, it becomes easier for immigrants to learn the language. The young immigrants are more advantaged since they learn English as their first language thereby cultivating fluency and competence in the communication at an early stage in their lives.
Significantly, immigration leads to the assimilation of immigrants. Once assimilated, immigrants get acculturated to the American way of life hence an opportunity to learn and acquire the new culture. The labor market favored assimilated citizens since they consider the terms of pay better than from their origins. They readily accept low-paying jobs though to themselves it is advantageous as they believe those to be improved terms compared to the situation in their homes. Importantly, the immigrants children enjoy education privileges and do much better than the citizens who enjoy the comfort zone of their country. Immigrants work relentlessly to proving to the citizens that they are not timid as they are usually regarded. Their hard work makes them outperform their counterparts whose parents are natives. Equally, immigration influences intermarriages between immigrants and the citizens of the U.S. Jens and Hopkins (534-35) argues that the intermarriages between the whites and non-whites have registered significant increase as the number of immigrants increase each day. Intermarriages positively influence the immigrants since one acquires direct citizenship if married to an American spouse.
According to Jens and Hopkins (540), immigration influences demographic data of a country. Immigrants who transit from their original areas to new places of residence include adults with their children, belongings as well as refugees. On arriving in U.S., they add unto the already growing populace in addition to the natives. Initially, America registered a high number of immigrants leading to an increased population growth.
Significantly, immigration influenced the development of American culture. The immigrants and their progenies played a more significant role in American creative arts including directing, producing, writing and acting in American plays and films. Kraal and Steven (np) show that this creation of American arts left many immigrants smiling as they got awarded enormously. The great renowned composers and the lyricists were the immigrant adults and children thus were highly recognized and offered academic awards to explore their skills.
2.12 Negative Social Influence of Immigration
Regardless of one enjoying the social impacts of immigration, some influences challenge and problematize Americas. Firstly, citizenship acquired through naturalization limits one from vying for the presidency of the country. A naturalized citizen is also not allowed to work in some occupations that require security clearance with citizenship as a requirement. Kraal and Steven (7-12) illustrate that if one gets naturalized as a citizen, he may get deported under various circumstances. Secondly, the young immigrants are disadvantaged in language usage once in America. The challenge is because they have already acquired their parents language and their mental capacity is not fully developed to handle bilingual nature of style as well as the environment they get subjected to while in the U.S. The result of this is further disorientation thereby adversely hindering their proficiency in the English language.
Buzby (n.p) claims that immigration leads to the assimilation of the immigrants, therefore, presenting a challenge as they are forced to drop their way of life and mannerisms to adopt the new ones. The dictates also force them to lose their racial identity and language to incorporate a different system. The actions may problematize those immigrants who are conservative and cannot risk dropping their culture to acquiring a new one unknown to them. Slow learners also get challenged as they take a long time to learn and put into practice what they gain from the unique experience and culture.
Conversely, immigrants and natives end up competing for the same job opportunities though employers have access to the steady supply of low wage from foreigners. The employers may, in turn, consider their natives over the aliens thus bringing discrimination. The fact that most immigrants possess low-level skills works against them. The level of immigrant skills and competencies might result in their poor and unhealthy living in the American soil.
Immigration accounts for only a few legal immigrants who are sponsored directly by the administration. The highest percentage is allowed due to their family ties to America. Kraal and Steven (20-26) consider such population as always living in abject poverty. Admission of all these people in America registers a double surplus of low skilled labor leading to the high level of competition of jobs no matter the low wages and the poor working conditions that workers get subjected to on a daily basis. Cyclically, the increased illegal workforce in America creates unconducive environments in the working places to the extent of discouraging Native American from seeking jobs. Justin and Bogdan (1130) refer to the boycott of the American workforce as resulting in employers depending on immigrants who are not skilled in specific areas to substitute the skilled American workforce. At this point, employers are motivated to offer any working conditions as the employees are not likely to complain of the deplorable conditions they get subjected to in their new workplaces.
The harmful social influence of immigration also gets felt in the U.S. reports on reforms of immigration in the mid-1990s. The reforms recommendations got fully embraced by President Clinton though they got ignored since he left office, and instead the conditions of immigrants continue to deteriorate due to legal and illegal migration. Justin and Bogdan (1129) admit that the reform got geared towards assuring that it does not harm all the citizens who did not ensure foreigners got equity and equality in America. Instead of checking on the improvement of the social status of the immigrants in America, socialist are campaigning towards eliminating immigration in America. They want an end to family lineage immigration as well as unskilled legal immigration claiming that employers should be held accountable for employing immigrants in the U.S. who are lowly skilled.
2.2 Economic Realm
Considerably, the United States houses the most significant immigrants population in the world. The immigration policy is a bone of contention in the United States yet can either help or limit the ability of the immigrants to assimilate faster compared to developed European nations. Immigration influences the American economy positively and negatively as discussed below.
2.21 Positive Economic Influence of Immigration
According to Malhotra, Margalit, and Cecilia (380-83), immigration leads to an upsurge in the population of the United States. Consequently, this results in increased availability of labor force resulting in more increased firm investment as the average wages are kept constant for a long time. The availability of labor force is a benefit to the American economy as the Gross Domestic Income (GDI) keeps increasing as people get to work. Frequently, immigrants are known for innovation accounting for the highest percentage of technology and science graduates in the U.S. Their presence in the states motivates the natives to specialize in their areas to create avenues for the immigrants to attend to the less-skilled opportunities, a fact that further increases productivity.
Additionally, Malhotra, Margalit, and Cecilia (392) generalize that immigration supplies many individuals who pay more taxes than they utilize the government services leading to an increase in governments fiscal condition. Occasionally, the immigrants are advantaged since they are considered less-educated by the natives who sacrifice to pay more taxes so that the immigrants may access education services in the state.
Immigration widely influences the market commodities and activities. As the U.S. population continues to grow, the need for goods and services increase resulting in the expansion of the market sectors to offer and distribute products needed by the growing population. Such extension is of great importance to the market sectors that had not developed well due to the lack of potential customers. They are at an advantage of improving to becoming trade centers within a specific period.
Immigrants are at a disadvantage of seeking employment in America. Comparably, immigrant parents are forced to settle and do menial jobs and occupations below their expectations. These services are meant for providing to their children as well as developing the economy of the US. On the other hand, parents believe that their children will acquire best skills after education which is provided indiscriminately and at a subsidized fee. In the end, Malhotra, Margalit, and Cecilia (398) exemplify that children can disseminate their skills to various economic sectors either in America or their original homeland if they decide to leave resulting in the improvement of industries and economy at large.
2.22 Negative Economic Influence of Immigration
Despite the several positive influences presented by immigration on the American economy, it also shows some adverse effects. For instance, it curtails support from the foreign investors due to the belief that as immigrants increase, the labor suppliers in the farms increases hence no need for external labor inflow. Justin and Bogdan (1125) illustrate that the stoppage of labor inflow dramatically affects the economic sector as the immigrants may not be in a position to offer all that which the foreign labor would offer. Besides, some immigrants may be unwilling to provide their labor as they fear to be slaves in America.
Arguably, immigrants act as imperfect substitutes for the American natives. Such reduces competition of jobs, but acts against the immigrants as the harsh and dehumanizing jobs offered under poor working conditions are left to the immigrants. Most immigrants do not interpret this lightly but equate it to torture and abuse.
Malhotra, Margalit, and Cecilia (405) hold the view that a case where more immigrants diffuse into the state leads to the competition of the available jobs for the immigrants leading to a reduction in wages which translates to seeking other ways of earning a living even if it negatively impacts on other peoples lives. Naturally, some industries prefer skills from low-cost immigrant workers to replace the native citizen workers. If the immigrants comply with the request of such countries, the natives are disadvantaged. Furthermore, once an immigrant is hired in some sectors like in agriculture to harvest fruits and vegetables, he is likely to remain there learning more skills hence becoming skilled workers to replace the natives as Malhotra, Margalit completely, and Cecilia (407) cites.
Furthermore, transportation has dramatically reduced thus impacting on the immigrants decisions. Seemingly, some decide to spend a little time in the U.S. before embarking on their original roots. Such decisions impact negatively on the United States economy as the departing immigrants often carry their resources with them by sending back their remittances to their countries of birth. Alternatively, some immigrants may decide to stay in America until they acquire the necessary skills and education at a subsidized cost. When they are thoroughly equipped with those skills and decide to leave, they disadvantage the economy at large as the money used to educate them would have gotten invested in other sectors thus growth.
2.3 Political Realm
Immigration as a powerful concept can shape not just the outlook of society but also influences how society responds to the public policy needs. It extensively divides the United States of America along ethnic, racial as well as political lines. Nunn, Nancy, and Sandra (n,p) clarify that with such division especially on political lines felt in America, the negative and positive influence of the immigration get enjoyed politically by some whereas the political influence directly or indirectly influences others. Justin and Bogdan (1105) outline that the political scientists divided immigration in America into three main waves. These were early migration which occurred up to 1850s, the second wave which continued up to the 1970s and the last wave called the recent immigration which is from the 1970s to date impacting the United States political realm. The section below examines the political positive and negative influence of immigration on America.
2.21 Positive Political Influence of Immigration
Immigration has mainly influenced the modern American politics thus assisting in the formation of the Roosevelt Coalition established in the 1930s and later in the 1960s under Kennedy John. Justin and Bogdan (1108) argue that an Irish-American Catholic instigated the establishment of such a coalition from the New York City who attracted many immigrants to vote for the Democratic Party. The coalitions establishment was a political change that saw immigrants exercising their voting rights freely, and their decision of a leader respected to the letter.
Noticeably, the partisanship and the turnout of the urban ethnic votes increased due to the mass immigration. Consequently, this led to a shift in the form of government in the U.S. from Republican to the Democratic way that ensured all people from the state irrespective of their status got the right to vote. As this was of help to the immigrants, it added value to the native as they would democratically choose their leaders whom they trusted to be effective in leadership.
Arnold (20-24) asserts that the American government has in the past passed some protection acts in favor of young immigrants thus protecting them from deportation. For instance, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) announced in June 2012 under the Obama presidency that it had granted freedom from deportation to young illegal children immigrants who after settling in the U.S. pursue an education without committing any serious crime or posing any threat to national security. Nunn, Nancy and Sandra (np) describes that these Immigrants continuously enjoys their presence in the United States which is deemed lawful as well as being eligible for other benefits granted by the government.
2.22 Negative Political Influence of Immigration
Politically, immigration worked against the immigrant interests and hopes. In 1882, for example, the Chinese exclusion act got enacted to keep away undesired immigrants from the American soil. Jens and Hopkins (239) write that this campaign got triggered by different political movements including the Ku Klux Klan under the claim that immigrants of the inferior race should not be allowed in the U.S. Such actions prevented those from Asia and Africa from migrating to America unless under strict checks and supervision.
In addition, immigration negatively influences the immigrants as they may not immediately get the voting rights. Jens and Hopkins (230) specify that such rights get tied to the full citizenship which the immigrants are not eligible. Moreover, temporary workers are not even qualified to be near consideration of citizenship. All in all, as the period of stay, lengthens, immigrants are at a position of affecting the nature of the political landscape.
Remarkably, those immigrants who acquires citizenship and are eligible for voting show low turnouts during the material day as they find it harder to participate in political decisions of United States of America. Nunn, Nancy and Sandra (28-31) point that immigrants have the power to influence the politics by use of their time and money in the political campaigns, but do not exploit them fully as they deem themselves as inferior in a state like America.
3.0 Importance of Immigration
The cultural, religious and the ethnic differences brought by the immigrant has reshaped American socially, economically and politically. Gold (410) comments that a nation that shuns immigration suffers significantly as compared to one that welcomes immigrant like in the case of the United States of America. America considers the fundamental issues instead of the legal aspects of immigration thus benefitting more from immigration. The permission to allow the immigrant into the states is not only granted by the president but also the Supreme Court. Such leads to high inflow as they do not depend on authorization from one side. Arnold (45) suggests that the importance of immigration in America is two-way, that is, it is important to Americans and also to the immigrants. Since America is a nation of immigrants, its success would not be possible without immigrants who help in building the country economically, socially, politically as well as culturally. Below is a validation of why immigration is significant in the United States.
Economically, immigrants who have permanently settled in America and have gotten naturalized, start business opportunities which creates jobs for the American workers. Camarota (n.p) refers to the current research which has found that almost four million workers have gotten employed by the immigrants who own small businesses in the United States. Interestingly, immigrants are known as the people with different business ideas which they want to make practical making them capable of owning many businesses in American thereby contributing positively to the economic development of the country.
Reasonably, as immigrants provide job opportunities to others they turn out to be self-employed owning to the fact that they created their own jobs. Gold (411) affirms that America registers high number of independent foreigners compared to the natives born in America. Again, immigrants are seen as the innovators and the engineers of the Americans. As they continue staying in U.S., they adopt education policies that permit the offering of education to all and in the process venture into different areas coming out as scientists in different sectors. The natives may not be motivated to pursue further studies thus leaving foreigners to achieve their dreams.
Immigration is essential for the U.S. economy as it boosts American workers earnings. The reason behind this is that foreigners arrive with different needs that must be attended to so that they can feel comfortable while in the states. Malhotra, Margalit, and Cecilia (395) cite that immigrants are attended by the American workers who demand more pay due to the increased duty they should perform.
Comprehensively, immigration increases the Americas GDP. Camarota (n.p) assumes that once immigrants have been naturalized, they become full citizens who should pay tax and enjoy the benefits and rights as enjoyed by other natives. Their remuneration is deductible in aid of paying tax consequently increasing the GDP of the country. Steil (1110-15) argues that some immigrants are counted as the capital investors as they get well equipped with technological skills which enable them own companies and run them efficiently as they enjoy profits and pay taxes.
Socially, immigration is beneficial as it leads to increased population in the U.S. Arnold (57-65) refers to the traditional belief that the higher the population, the easier work is exploited. The division of labor become evident as everyone concentrates on his or her area of specialization.
Gold (411) contrasts this by exemplifying that as the division of labor is socially necessary, it is also economically important as since the productivity increases leading to improvement in industrial, agricultural, health and other sectors within the country. Jens and Hopkins (542) note that immigration brings about people of different races, cultures and backgrounds together. The sole purpose of their coming together is to live together as a team learning and working for the betterment of their lives. Once they get together they are subjected to collective sharing of language and culture, which culminates to togetherness, unity, peace as well as harmony since everyone is concerned with the welfare of the other. The ill-feelings that may exist in the individuals is wiped out as they acquire a friendly and sisterly living.
Commonly, immigration brings about the development of a language to be shared by all the immigrants. Malhotra, Margalit, and Cecilia (401) highlight that immigrants can acquire the language used by the American residents or develop theirs which act as an added advantage. For instance, the immigrants in U.S. who were not well-versed in English language had an opportunity of learning it and in the process improve their fluency as well as enhance their comfortable living in America. Markedly, language facilitates identity of the citizens as it enhances interaction among people within the same geographical setting.
Politically, immigration has shaped American politics by giving the United States a unique political culture. Political parties, for example, welcomed the immigrants by giving them homes and jobs as they solicited for their support in politics and voting process. The actions resulted in an urban-political machine used by politicians to hunt for votes. Camarota (n.p) affirms that politicians requesting immigrants to vote for them was significant as it demonstrated their participation in the politics.
Arnold (12) expounds that the high population resulting from the immigration policy is used as a tool for achieving political interest in America. Being a multiparty system, America works towards having many citizens represent and support the two main political parties. Immigrants form a certain percentage needed for the political representation by the politicians. Such actions add meaning to the political party system in the U.S. as all the parties have followers even if not in equal proportions.
Conclusively, immigration is one of the many aspects that has influenced America. It has enabled restructuring of America in different dimensions including socially, economically and politically as enumerated in the discussion above. America has been enjoying the services of immigrants all which get geared to its developments and improvements. Jens and Hopkins (546) hold that due to Americas welcoming nature, it cannot get compared with other countries that do not support house immigrants in their soil. The latter registers underdevelopment of several sectors as well as the nation at large as the population remains relatively constant all through. The comparison sums the discussion that immigration is significant in America as it has influenced its different social, economic and political realms.
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