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Immigration in United States

Essay by   •  August 19, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,904 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,515 Views

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United States of America is often addressed as a "nation of immigrants" or "melting pot" of the world due to its open-door policy towards accommodating foreigners pursuing their vision of the American Dream. According to Xinhua.com, "As of 2006, the United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined". However, since not too long ago, there has been constant insist by some politicians and citizens toward creating a mainly closed-door policy on immigration, arguing that immigrants "threaten" American life by resulting in unemployment since they take jobs from American citizens which also results in using much-needed social services, and encroaching on the "American way of life." While these arguments may seem valid to many, they are almost extremely false, and more than likely confused with the subject of illegal immigration. In fact, immigrants actually enhance American life by creating, not taking jobs, sustain social service funds through tax payments, and bring valuable technical knowledge and skills to our country. We will be able to continue to excel as a nation, only if the traditionalists who fear an encroachment of foreign-born Americans. We as a nation must learn to accept that we achieved our greatness as a result of being a nation of immigrants.

According to Hg.org Immigration law is defined as, "national government policies which control the methods, processes and practices associated with immigrants coming into their country. It is associated with nationality law, which governs a person's legal status with regards to citizenship and nationality". Immigration laws of United States reflect a various goals. Firstly it serves to reunite family by admitting immigrants who have family members living in Unites States. Secondly it seeks to admit workers with specific skills and to fill position who wants an occupation in regard as an experienced labor shortage, and finally, it attempts to provide refuge for people who face the risk of political, racial, or religious discrimination in their country.

The history of immigration law in the United States provides an appealing background from which to examine this country's observation of class and race, which are time and again reflected in laws with reference to immigration (Vellos, 1997). One illustration of this relationship is the laws relating to denial of remuneration to undocumented people in the United States. Such laws began captivating form when people of color started immigrating to the United States in large numbers from other developing and under-developing nations. During the resolution of the settlement, immigrants came freely, inadequate only by the expenditure of travel, diseases, and the unsympathetic environment found in the colonies. In the years prior to the American Revolution, immigrants came to the colonies from other European countries like France, Holland, England, Spain, Germany and Portugal. During this era, major migration was from Africa where people were forcefully brought into United States from Africa in the form of slaves. The restrictions were only on immigrants who had criminal background and this restriction demonstrates the antagonism towards newcomers by colonists who have only presently arrived themselves by their own effort.

As it is significant to note down that wide-ranging federal legislation dealing with immigration was not endorsed for some time. The reasons might be the fact that, it was uncertain situation whether the federal government had the authority to standardize immigration being in terms of constitution or not. In addition, in most of the cases, unhindered immigration was still preferred as a means for obtaining labor and accomplishing growth as a nation. When we look back at the beginning tracking down the first immigrants, we can find that between 1820 and 1880, over 2.8 million Irish immigrants entered inside United States because of political and economic conditions in their native nation. During 1840s German Catholics also immigrated into United States however, the American society did not acknowledge the Irish Catholics and Germans openly and as a result, actions to limit immigration began to establish.

After the Civil War, federal law embarked on to address the mounting desire to confine immigration of convinced groups and as a result, Congress passed the first restrictive statute for immigration, barring convicts and prostitutes from admission in 1875 (Vellos, 1997). The 1875 Act was also endeavored to deal with the trouble of Chinese labor in the West where imported Chinese labor had been used since 1850 and the nervousness among the Chinese workers and the colonizers of European descent ran high. Congress accepted a law prohibiting so-called "coolie- labor" agreement and colonization for coarse and immoral reasons. In 1882, Congress even took strapping actions in the Chinese Exclusion Act, the nation's first racist, restraining immigration law. As a result, the Act suspended all immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years and forbade any court to admit Chinese people for citizenship (Vellos, 1997) and finally the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943. Immigration was now seen as a threat to the United States economy, and Congress began expanding the list of "undesirable classes" hoping to upgrade the quality of immigrants and to limit overall entry.

Despite numerous efforts to reduce the flow of immigrants, immigration continued to prosper in the United States. By 1920 almost 14 million out of the total of 105 million people living in the United States were foreigners. From this wave, Japanese immigrants had to suffer the worst state and federal opposition. In 1907, an accord between the United States and Japan was signed to restrict Japanese migration that would effectively end the influx of Japanese nationals to the United States which was popularly known as The Gentleman's Agreement. As a result, even inside United States, California state law reinforced this anti-Japanese feeling by eliminating Japanese immigrants from owning property or leasing farmland in United States. Subsequent to World War I, Congress enforced the Quota Act that narrowed the number of immigrants permitted to enter the United States to 3 percent of their nationality previously residing in the country. After three years, Congress decided to lower the quota to 2 percent. In 1942, California created the "Bracero Program," which is a Mexican labor program that permitted California agricultural employers to contract approximately two million Mexican nationals in temporarily terms for their labor in the fields. The agricultural industry in United States was highly benefited from this cheap labor until 1964. Later regardless of the Bracero Program, between 1939 and

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