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Immigration characterized by the movement of people from one geographical region to permanently or temporarily settle in another country. The United States (U.S.) is a country that has experienced the immigration of people seeking asylum and opportunities since its establishment. Immigration influences the U.S. economy, labor market, social policy, homeland security, and culture. Recent migration laws and proposals that were passed by President Trump and his administration affect or may influence millions of people, including Muslims, Mexicans, and citizens of Central America countries. Immigration to the U.S. has outlined benefits such as the arrival of foreign specialists in the workforce, cultural diversity, and drawbacks such as high unemployment rates, a decline of minimum wages and an increased risk of terrorism.
Positive Effects of Immigration to the U.S
Immigration has positive benefits to the economy of the U.S. Immigrants contribute to the labor workforce of the U.S. by filling important positions and contributing to the economic development of the country (Amadeo, 2019). Immigrants consist of highly skilled professional workers and also unskilled manual laborers who enter the U.S. in search of greener pastures and better education. These immigrants move into the U.S. and take up jobs that the local Americans are either not qualified for or have refused to take due to poor working conditions or low payments (Amadeo, 2019). The immigrants who are manual workers fill up industries such as fast-food restaurants and other areas that employ workers on a minimum wage basis. The professional immigrants such as nurses, doctors, and engineers provide professional labor to compensate for the deficiencies of professional labor in these sectors in the U.S. The contribution of these professionals aids in the growth of the infrastructural and service delivery sectors in the country and this increases the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and economic value of the country.
Immigrants also contribute to the economic development of the U.S. by investing in businesses in the country (Amadeo, 2019). These businesses can be small businesses such as food trucks selling snacks in a city or a multinational enterprise such as a road construction corporation. Businesses such as export and import trade, hotel industry, and even agriculture are also done by immigrants who pay billions of taxes to the U.S. government and also create employment for the locals. The contribution of the investing immigrants to the collected tax and the creation of employment raise the economic ability of the U.S. and also improve the way of life of the employed Americans.
One social benefit of immigration into the U.S. is the rise of cultural and racial diversity. The people immigrating into the U.S. come from different racial and cultural societies bringing their different ways of life into the U.S. (Hirschman, 2014). Cultural diversity is important to the development of service provision in areas such as healthcare and also in the generation of new ideas in different work environments. The difference in culture brings different perspectives in terms of approaches to solving problems, which creates opportunities to invest in the best available options. Currently, the U.S. is the most culturally diverse country in the world due to the increased rate of immigration (Amadeo, 2019). Cultural diversity facilitates improved social coherence promoting teamwork and performance as a result of a broadened knowledge base as well as experience. Cultural diversity also improved flexibility as well as creativity, which are essential for a progressing nation.
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Social diversity is also important for increased tolerance and less radical views on other races and laws of the U.S. Tolerance is important to create an environment where people respect each other’s beliefs and are willing to come up with ideas that accommodate other cultures. The ability and willingness to formulate legislation that supports marginalized, discriminated, and minority groups is as a result of cultural tolerance. This is to imply that social tolerance is important as it encourages the rights and freedom of every human being regardless of his or her racial or social affiliation (Hirschman, 2014). Immigration is also beneficial in the long run in the sense that the children of the immigrants play their role in economic contribution when they become adults (Amadeo, 2019). These children benefit from education in the U.S. and also have the potential to achieve academic and career success. These children can turn out to be leaders such as President Obama and bring new policies in leadership that are aimed at sustaining the social diversity of the U.S. These children can also continue to contribute to American diversity through future cases of interracial marriages.
Immigration also presents with some positive political outcomes. Immigration results in the improvement of the international image of the U.S. (Mayda & Peri, 2018). The U.S. is a recognized global leader of freedom of its civilians due to social tolerance, a factor that has been improved by immigration. The U.S. is home to people from across the planet, making it a destination for individuals of any race. Immigration enhances the political image of the U.S. as it portrays it as a country that is willing to accommodate refugees from different parts of the world (Mayda & Peri, 2018). The ability and willingness of the U.S. to accommodate refugees from other countries has improved the country’s relationship with the countries in need. Data from the immigration department reveals that the U.S. accepts approximately 90,000 refugees from different parts of the world annually (Mayda & Peri, 2018). These refugees are from countries that have been affected by war such as Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Venezuela, and Yemen (Mayda & Peri, 2018). The U.S. also provides asylum to refugees from neighboring countries fleeing from bad weather such as the hurricane in Haiti in the year 2010. The decision of the U.S. to assist these refugees has raised its international image and encouraged more people and governments to seek asylum for their civilians.
As a result of immigration and the accommodation of refugees, the U.S. benefits by improving its ability and status to bargain for its international policies. The United Nations and other states recognize the willingness of the U.S. to spend resources to accommodate refugees, and this improves the moral standpoint of the American free world internationally (Mayda & Peri, 2018). As a global economic and military superpower, other countries look up to the U.S. to provide solutions in moments of crisis. This trust that has been bestowed on the American government is a result of the history of the U.S., helping refugees and neighboring countries during times of economic or political distress. During the 2nd World war, the U.S. provided asylum to Jews such as Albert Einstein and many others (Mayda & Peri, 2018). The U.S. foreign policy on interventionism demands that the U.S. be involved in providing aid to countries and people in need (Mayda & Peri, 2018). The primary goal of this interventionist stance is to ensure that the U.S. remains the most dominant state and most relied upon to protect its international interests.
Immigration facilitates enrichment of culture. Enrichment of culture refers to the social aspect where new cultural practices, beliefs, and ways of life are added to a society. There is a diversity of culture in the U.S. such as the African-American culture, Hispanic culture, Native American cultures, and also Asian cultures (Hirschman, 2014). The U.S. is a tourist hub due to this cultural diversity. Chinatown remains an attractive tourist destination and represents the depth of American cultural diversity which began as early as 1800s (Hirschman, 2014). Cultural diversity is accompanied by diverse choices in every aspect of life, such as food, worship, and even cultural practices.
Immigration and cultural diversity has played a key role in the growth of the multibillion showbiz industry in Hollywood (Benedict, 2018). Hollywood produces more than 10 billion U.S. dollars a year due to its ability to produce films that satisfy consumers all over the globe (Benedict, 2018). This is because there are actors and actresses from different cultural backgrounds in Hollywood that represent diverse cultural perspectives. The music industry in Hollywood has seen musicins from different parts of the world prosper with music that represents different ethnical and cultural backgrounds. The diversity of American art is also as a result of the cultural diversity which brings together artists with different ideas to compete on the same platform (Benedict, 2018). This has encouraged the growth of the art industry, which also presents with economic benefits. Diversity in music, film, and art has also encouraged education in these areas in the U.S., and this has helped in the nurturing of talents (Benedict, 2018). Education in arts is more beneficial to the learner if a multicultural approach is considered in the process of dissemination of this information.
The other cultural outcome of immigration is that it encourages creativity and innovation in a country. Immigrants move from their country with their different ideas in their own level with the intention of making money in the U.S. It is these ideas that bring about an ideal environment for competition, and this fosters room for innovation. A good example of beneficial innovation from immigration is the role of Albert Einstein in the first nuclear fission program in the U.S. Albert Einstein, an immigrant from Germany, became a U.S. citizen in 1940 and brought about the innovation of nuclear fission helping the U.S. to win the Second World War (Mayda & Peri, 2018). Einstein used his research that he had conducted in Europe and together with other scientists, led the Manhattan project that produced the world’s first atomic bombs.
The historical perspective of immigration in the U.S. is that the U.S. nation was formed as a result of immigration. In the 1600s, Christian puritans from England migrated to America to find new land to live and establish their church and preferred form of worship (Brooks, 2017). The puritans had decided to migrate from England to escape religious persecution. On arrival in the new land, they named it New England with the intention of returning to England to spread their gospel (Brooks, 2017). This settlement later grew to civilization with a set of diverse rules in comparison to the strict religious rules in England.
One of the historical or long-term impacts of immigration is cultural conversion and the emergence of a new culture. Cultural conversion is where cultural diversity brings about new behavior that was previously absent in a community. This new behavior becomes a trend and eventually becomes a cultural practice. A good example of cultural conversion is the emergence of the gay culture in the U.S. This new practice of gay sim has become synonymous with the American culture and is now an option of sexual orientation. The melting pot theory postulates that in a given diverse population setting, small subcultures merge to form one dominant culture common for most people in that given setting (Amadeo, 2019). The U.S. has different cultural groups such as the Hispanics, the African-Americans, the Asians, and people from Europe and the Middle East. All these racial groups experience the melting of culture to have a way of life that is similar to a majority of the Americans. It is, therefore, evident that immigration results in further enrichment of the American nation.
Negative Effects of Immigration
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Impact on Labor Market
Immigration also poses several negative effects on the labor market. One of the negative effects is that it grounds drastic changes that cause instability. Immigration sources instability by causing changes in the trend of laborers who enter the market, making it unpredictable and difficult to plan for future strategies (Abramitzky & Boustan, 2017). Immigration also makes it impossible for the government to set rates on minimum wage and payment of workers per hour. This is because there is availability of labor that is cheap, and there is also room for agreement on even lower rates and longer working hours. This means that employers in various industries can choose to employ desperate immigrants for low salaries causing unpredictability in hiring and remuneration trends (Abramitzky & Boustan, 2017). The other form of instability in the labor market is the changes in protocols of employment and dismissal of workers. There is a high influx of workers from other countries and organizations, and companies have gone out of their normal recruiting protocols to take advantage of this cheap labor (Abramitzky & Boustan, 2017). This behavior causes instability in organizations as far as the composition of employees is concerned, resulting in the unpredictability of performances.
Immigration has negative consequences on the availability of job opportunities for native locals no matter how negligible. Immigrants arrive in the U.S. and bring competition in getting the available jobs in professional and manual labor environments (Amadeo, 2019). Some immigrants take up low paying jobs and even work overtime without pay to be able to establish a form of livelihood in the U.S. no matter how meager. This makes it difficult for local Americans to take up jobs as employers prefer cheap manual labor that is best provided by immigrants. Industries such as fast food entities employ immigrants because they are able to provide the restaurants with the desired profit margin by accepting low payment. In the professional arena, professional Americans such as engineers could be turned away in preference for more trained and skilled immigrants (Abramitzky & Boustan, 2017). Immigration has also caused a general decline in the rates of payment for laborers in the U.S. This is because the labor market is flooded with workers yet there are very few working positions to be filled (Amadeo, 2019). The employers have the advantage of setting lower rates of payment due to the high influx of available workers willing to take up jobs.
Homeland Security Issues
Immigration also results in several homeland security issues. One of the issues is the burden of the population on the healthcare system. Immigrants who are refugees are unable to afford healthcare services (Martinez et al., 2015). This means that the respective caregiving centers have to provide uncompensated care to these patients, which overwhelms the ability of the hospitals to sustain themselves. It is for this overload that the health budget is experiencing shortfalls every financial year. When budget shortfalls happen, it becomes impossible to cater for all the health needs of the population, and this could increase the burden of disease. Immigrants, being from different parts of the world, present a different kind of threat in terms of public health. There is a risk of emergence of communicable diseases in areas inhabited by refugees due to the living conditions and crowding in these areas. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and food poisoning are common in these environments due to the high risk of food and water contamination. Immigrants can also bring about emergence of new diseases that are uncommon in the U.S. Immigrants with geographically endemic diseases can spread these diseases upon their migration. A good example is an illegal immigrant crossing into the U.S. with yellow fever disease. The possibility of the disease spreading to the local population is high, and this is a danger to the public health system.
Immigrants move to the U.S. and form social connections and intermarriages, which are interracial in most instances. These genetic combinations could bring forth genetic diseases in the infants. Genetic diseases such as German syndrome which is common in Europe can easily have increased incidence in the U.S. in the event of intermarriages. This means that the U.S. health system would experience an emergence of new and uncommon diseases, increasing the challenges in disease management. This would also increase the health budget of the U.S., resulting in an increased burden on the taxpayers (Abramitzky & Boustan, 2017). The education system also becomes overwhelmed by an increased load of students who need education following immigration. Immigrants arriving in the U.S. with their children represent an influx of learners in an education system that has not been provided with additional resources. One notable challenge of immigration on education is in the refugee schools within the U.S. These schools are not sufficiently equipped to cater for the needs of the learners due to an insufficiency of resources experienced by the hosting local government.
An increase in the rate of crime in the U.S. is the other negative impact of immigration. Illegal immigrants experience difficult situations in the U.S., such as homelessness or an inabilityy to afford healthcare for their families (Hirschman, 2014). This leads a majority of them to a life of crime. Activities such as drug trafficking and violent robberies are on the rise as there are many unemployed individuals who need to make a living. Research illustrates that an immigrant is twice more likely to engage in criminal activities compared to a Native American citizen (Hirschman, 2014). This is attributed to the difficult life circumstances that immigrants face. An increase in the crime rate is a negative social aspect as it reduces social income due to reduced local and international investment in the high crime area (Hirschman, 2014). This reduces the economic productivity of the community. Crime also reduces the satisfaction of life as members of the community live in fear of being victimized by gang violence.
Immigration also brings the potential threat of terrorism to the U.S. Many refugees, professional and manual labor immigrants are from the Middle East, where there are cases of radical Islam (Hirschman, 2014). These individuals could gain entry into the U.S. as refugees to assist in the planning and execution of terrorism. Many terrorist activities have been thwarted by law enforcement in the process of planning by individuals who had gained access into the U.S. through the immigration process. People living and working within the U.S. could be used to pass information to radical jihadist, and this can endanger the lives of American troops in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
Trump’s Administration Migration Laws and Asylum Ban
In January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned the migration of people from a number of Islamic states (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). This executive order came after the San Bernardino attack in December 2015, where 14 people were killed and at least 20 others seriously injured (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). Trump sought to reduce the risk America faces through the process of immigration as far as terrorism is concerned. This executive order lasted 3 months whereby Homeland security was expected to come up with more strict parameters of awarding visas to the immigrants. This executive order sought to reduce the number of refugees entering the U.S. in the year 2017 to a maximum of 50,000 (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). The order also suspended the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely. The countries that were given a travel ban into the U.S. were Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Libya (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). According to homeland security, these countries are the breeding grounds for terrorism and do not meet the standards for adjudication on U.S. immigration.
After the 3 months, President Trump signed another executive order 13780 affirming the decision of the U.S. government to limit admission of citizens from 7 countries (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). The countries include North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen, and Venezuela (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). The decision of the U.S. government to ban these countries was based on the fact that these countries experience significant instability and that the outcome of the vetting process would be unreliable. The decision of the president to sign this executive order has been challenged in the courts only to be upheld as the court recognized the threat of terrorism as potential. Trump’s strong stance against Islamic states that are tolerant to terrorism and terrorist activities created a level of stigmatization towards Muslims in the U.S. Statistics reveal that at least 65 % of Muslims in the U.S. have experienced discrimination at one point within the last 12 months (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). Discrimination, in this context, refers to direct verbal attacks or physical violence towards a person perceived to be a Muslim or from the Middle East. Discrimination also refers to the denial of an opportunity or a service that is deserved or one that is being paid for. This is because the American media has portrayed the Islam faith as responsible for the attacks and the deaths of American soldiers fighting in the Middle East (Hirschman, 2014). This has reduced the tolerance of the local Americans towards the Islam faith.
President Trump’s campaign to build the wall separating Mexico and the U.S. began in 2016 during his presidential campaign (Sullivan, 2018). Trump promised voters that he would construct a wall that would improve the security of the Americans, a radical idea that took the center stage of his campaign. Trump proposed a 5.7 billion budget to build the wall, a proposal that was strongly opposed by a significant number of leaders triggering a partial government shutdown (Sullivan, 2018). The U.S. customs and border protection mediated upon the repair of 60 miles of the existing border wall. The U.S. government recently redirected funds, approximately 2.5 billion dollars, to begin the construction of the wall with a feasibility of covering 700 kilometers by the year 2020 (Sullivan, 2018). One of the most controversial and costly migration initiatives in the U.S. history is Trump’s proposal to build the wall on the America-Mexico border. Trump believes that illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin America countries are the primary reason for insecurity and drug trafficking in America. The proposed wall is estimated to cost about 6 billion U.S. dollars (Sullivan, 2018). This proposal is controversial because Trump expects the Mexican government to cover the costs of the wall, a position the Mexican government has rejected repeatedly.
Donald Trump’s administration also effected a ban on people seeking asylum into the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. Countries such as Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico El Salvador, and Honduras have their citizens seeking refuge in the U.S. due to reasons such as political instability, hunger and bad weather in their respective countries (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). Donald Trump brought a policy to bar America from providing refuge to people who have an alternative option other than the U.S. The passing of this declaration means that more than 40,000 immigrants were stranded at the U.S. border at a time unable to gain access (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). Trump’s reason for this ban on asylum seekers is to reduce the burden on America and to encourage asylum seekers to seek asylum in the first stable country they encounter. Reporters refer to Trump’s approach as ‘remain in Mexico policy’ as Trump argues that Mexico could be a good alternative to provide asylum other than the US.
Trump’s Administration laws have increased the suffering of asylum seekers and caused the separation of families. At any given time, more than 10,000 asylum seekers wait at the southern border of the U.S. awaiting to be granted entry (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). The living conditions at the established shelters are less than ideal. This is because there is insufficient food, beddings, and clothing for the families, causing a high level of discomfort. Children are exposed to diseases, and there is a high level of crime. There have been reported cases of assault, rape, kidnappings and even murder while the asylum seekers are waiting to gain entry into the U.S. Children have also been separated from their parents in the struggle of seeking refuge, and this has increased the amount of stress on the children and their families. Political tension in the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras has caused the high spike of families seeking asylum in the neighboring countries and the U.S. The political tension has caused an increase of criminal activities and corruption in the government. This has caused a humanitarian crisis as these governments are unable to address the needs of their citizens, such as the need for clean water and food. The humanitarian crisis has led these citizens to seek asylum in the U.S. in order to access these basic needs for their families.
Trump’s administration has brought about policies that have been referred to as xenophobic and discriminatory of other races (Montoya-Galvez, 2019). The policy on restriction of asylum seekers from Latin America and the selected countries from the Middle East portrays Trump as a president who seeks to close American borders to groups considered minority groups in the U.S (Hirschman, 2014). Trump reiterated that immigrants from Latin America bring nothing but drugs, rape, and murder into the U.S. This statement was considered racist by many critics who demanded that Trump change his approach of speech (Hirschman, 2014). The executive order to bar these immigrants portrays him as a xenophobic nationalist with the primary goal of establishing a white supremacist mentality for the rest of America to emulate.
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