Current Immigration Debate in the United States
Immigration has many implications to the host countries and the world at large, not only in terms of economics, but also in the change of social structures because of the cultural and social practices. Card (30) observes that immigration is a precipitation for institutional and social changes because of the intermingling of people from different social and cultural settings. With the recent globalization, a number of factors force people to move from one country to the other, including the search for jobs, economic and political freedom. However, this presents a challenge in many developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, especially with immigration control policies that are aimed at limiting the number of people moving to those countries. The opponents of immigration have cited a number of reasons why developed countries should not allow free emigration of people from one region to the other. More specifically, they argue that host countries are left with a burden to provide job opportunities to migrants, thus getting affected not only in terms of economic development but also in the change of social structures because of different cultural and social practices. For instance, Huntington (21) and Massey et al (16) have argued that immigration implies that the people are intermingling and therefore there is a need for institutional and social changes. This presents the dilemma in terms of utilitarian approach, since the immigrants are supposed to fit in the institutional and cultural structures of the host countries. This is not always the case, as some countries fear that migrants are likely to swamp the locals and cause severe social disruptions.
Statistics indicate that immigration controls are tools used only by racists with the claim of defending their national identity (Card 40). Given the recent archeological evidences, humanity migrated from one region in East Africa, making almost everyone in the rest of the world to qualify as a migrant. Thus the issue of maintaining national identity and autonomy in terms of cultural and social structures should not be a reason to limit the freedom of movement to people who want to move to other countries for various reasons. In fact, history has proved that migrants contribute more to the social and cultural development of the countries where they settle than they use the resources within that country. A good example is the massive agricultural sector in the United States which is dependent on the migrants, without whom the sector would not be as vibrant.
In the United States, the question of border security, possible path to citizenship for unauthorized workers residing in the country, and special status for temporary agricultural workers continue to elicit a lot of interests from politicians and the general population. These are the issues that are at the heart of millions of immigrants who feel that they equally have a right to stay and work in the country (Huntington 21). The reason for selection of this topic is that the debate surrounding immigration is the United States has far reaching implications not only on the economic standing of the country but also on the millions of people in the country who are classified as immigrants. Any step that is taken thereafter will impact the lives of people in and outside of the US boundaries in one way or the other. Furthermore, this is likely to form a precedent in the countries like United Kingdom where millions of immigrants are also facing the same challenges of citizenship status. Are the proposed legislations by the Congress to impose immigration policies in the United States justified, given the historical background of the country?
I. Historical background of immigrants in the US
II. Justification for the immigration control in the US
III. Impact of immigration control policies on the socio-economic and political foundations in the country
IV. Proposed way forward from an immigrant’s point of view
Bowden, Charles. "Exodus" in Mother Jones. September/October, 2006.
Card, David. Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration. Journal of Labor Economics, vol.19, no.1, pp. 22-64.
Huntington, Samuel. Who are We? New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.
Massey, Douglass et al. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors. Mexican Immigration in the Era of Economic Integration. New York: Sage Foundation, 2005.