Many Americans are concerned about the influx of immigrants into our country. They see new arrivals as a threat to jobs, a drain on over-burdened social services and a threat to cultural traditions. They complain, “There is a limit to how many newcomers can be absorbed, and the rate at which they can be assimilated into the existing system.” “We can’t just tear down the borders and let everyone in (with or without documents).”Over the years the United States has been called a nation of immigrants. The fact that we are a melting pot for so many different cultures, races, and religions makes us unique in the world. It is also what has helped create our national character. For more than 300 years, various ethnic, cultural, and social groups have come to our shores to reunite with their loved ones, to seek economic opportunity, and to find a haven from religious and political persecution. They bring their hopes, their dreams, and in turn, contribute, enrich, and energize America. (Urbanization of America 182)
During the period of mass immigration between 1820 and 1920, urban growth in the United States achieved a new and unparalleled dimensions. By far the largest number of immigrants settled in urban centers and therefore compounded the local concentration of an already growing resident population. The reason for immigration in the period from 1820-1920 is very clear. Land remained plentiful, and fairly cheap. Jobs were plenty and available, and labor was scarce. A decline in the birthrate as well as an increase in industry and urbanization reinforced this situation. (Cities and Immigrants 67)
The United States, in the 19th Century, remained a strong magnet to immigrants, with offers of jobs and land for farms. Glowing reports from earlier arrivals who made good reinforced the notion that in America, the streets were, “paved with gold,” as well as offerings of religious and political freedom. Today less than a million immigrants arrive in the United States each year. Of these, 700,000 enter as lawful permanent residents and another 100,000 to 150,000 enter legally as refugees or others fleeing persecution. Undocumented immigrants constitute only 1% of the total U.S. population and, contrary to popular belief, most of these immigrants do not enter the United States illegally by crossing our border with Canada or Mexico. Instead most immigrants here illegally, 6 out of 10, enter the U.S. legally with a student, tourist, or business visa and become illegal when they stay in the United States after their visas expire.
Today most legal immigrants, about 8 out of 11, come to join close family members. Some enter as either immediate relative, such as spouses, unmarried minor children, parents of U.S. citizens, or through the family preference system, for relatives of permanent residents and siblings of U.S. citizens. While there is unlimited number of visas issued for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, INS data shows that only around 235,000 visas have been issued annually in this category in recent years. The family preference system is far more restrictive and limits the number of visas issued in its four categories to a total of 226,000 per year. In addition, the waiting period for a visa can be very long. For example, a sibling of a U.S. citizen who applies today to immigrate to this country could get a visa 30 years from now. Most of these examples show how important the reuniting of families is. The government thinks of it as strong family unification, which in turn becomes strong communities. (Comptons)
Another Priority of LAS allows employers to bring in relatively small numbers of skilled workers were there are no Americans qualified for the job. Present immigration policy is based on a belief that America faces an impending shortage of workers. Many immigration advocates have argued that more immigrants are needed to eliminate future problems with the federal deficit. Ben Wattenburg, of the American Enterprise Institute, for example, asserts that the deficit can be entirely eliminated with an increase in immigration. “Without immigrant labor, this country will starve,” says immigrant labor advocate, Rocky DeVon. Mr. DeVon owns an apple orchard in the state of Washington and was unable to find enough workers to pick his apples. This is the consistent cry from farmers all across America. They cannot, they say, find citizens to do the backbreaking work of harvesting crops. Should many of these farmers go out of business, the result would be a sell-out to more farm corporations and a hefty increase in produce prices. There is a reality to this complaint. When Congress ended the Braceo program in 1964, it was not as easy for farmers to hire migrant workers. One proposal by Agriculture Committee Chairman, Rep. Bob Smith, would allow, “guest workers” to harvest the crops during “spot shortages.” However, according to Tanton and Lutton, co-authors of Immigration Invasion, the evidence shows that relatively few immigrants are employed in seasonal agriculture. Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers states, “There is no farm labor shortage. There hasn’t been one for decades.”(us-immigration.com)
This idea is not new though. Throughout our history we have relied on the strength, expertise, and special skills of foreign workers and immigrants to build this country. As early as 1610 Italian craftsmen were brought to the New World by the Virginia Colony to start the glass trade. In the mid- 1800s American manufacturers advertised in European newspapers offering free passage to any man willing to come to the United States to work for them. Immigrant workers have altered American life and their contributions were, and still are, significant to the economic growth of our nation. (Urbanization of America 225)
One of the myths, and I say myths because it is not true is that immigrants take job opportunities from Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth. Studies have actually shown that quite the opposite is true: Immigrants create jobs; specifically various recent studies have shown that Immigrants are more likely to be self-employed and start new businesses. Small businesses, 18 percent of which are started by immigrants, account for up to 80 percent of the new jobs available in the United States each year. Which means immigrants dont take Americans jobs, they actually create them for us. Also, foreign companies doing business in the United States employ Slightly more than 10 percent of the U.S. industrial workforce, or roughly 2.2 million Americans. Another Myth is that immigrants are overrunning America this is also not true. The number of immigrants living in the United States is larger than ever before, but these numbers are relatively small as a percentage of the population. More importantly, the percentage of immigrants in the total population has decreased. So far, no single decade has topped 1901-1910 for immigration admissions. Immigrants are a drain on the U.S economy, this is also a myth, new immigrants must prove that they won’t be a burden before they are allowed to enter the United States. Compared to the native-born population, immigrants are more likely to be employed, save more of their earnings, and are more likely to start new businesses. One of the last myths being that Immigrants Contribute very little to American society, this is also just a myth. Immigrants, for the most part, are firm believers in family unity. They are more likely than natives to live in families, 76% verses 70%. Immigrants recognize the value of an education. While many lack a high school education, they are just as likely as natives to hold a college degree also they are less likely than natives to be confined to a state prison.
One of the main reasons today why immigrants want to come to the United States is because of money, they feel as if they can make a lot more money here and make a much better living for themselves. Another reason they come to the United States is too make money so they can move back to their home country, but the money the made here will get them much further in there country.
Some of the problems today are illegal immigration. Illegal immigration usually takes place because people feel as if they can get jobs here a lot easier, make more money and live a better life than they can in there home country, which in many cases is true. In Mexico, its hard to get a job and here you get it fast.-Angelica Berrmenn. (lawcom.com)
Another topic that came up among the United States border control was”Whichever candidate wins the electoral vote in Florida and goes on to become President of the United States will have been put over the top by the votes of non-citizens and illegal aliens voting in mass numbers in south Florida,” charged Ed Nelson, President, U.S. Border Control.” This is a topic that seems very important to me, if the U.S. president ends up being elected by illegal immigrants, I feel as if something should be done about that. Everything that can be done is right now by the U.S. border control to stop illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. On the other hand, we are all immigrants. At one point or another one of our ancestors came to America from somewhere in the world whether it be Mexico, or Asia, Africa Greece or Italy, we are all in a way an immigrant. For that matter, what is the definition of an American?
Finally, American immigration policy fulfills our commitment to religious and political freedom. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is not rhetoric, it is America’s pledge to ensure that those brave men and women who face the prospect of ethnic cleansing, religious oppression, torture, and even death have a haven. Because those who fled various kinds of political and religious persecution founded this country in large part, it has become of our historical responsibility to serve as an advocate for human rights. Asian-American, Cuban-American, European-American, African-American, Mexican-American, Greek-American, Italian-American . . . different backgrounds, different cultures, but all united by the fact that when the hyphen is eliminated we are all Americans. So, who are these people we call immigrants? They could be your parents, your grandparents, your teachers, your friends, your doctors, your policemen, your grocer, your waiter, your cook, your babysitter, your gardener, your lawyer, your favorite actor, actress, or sports hero, your mayor, your congressman or senator, your shopkeeper. Immigrants permeate the fabric of America. They are an integral and important part of our society, its goals and its values. They are the backbone that helps make this country great. They are what set us apart from every nation in this world; they are what make us unique. In short, they are us.