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Immigration in the United States - Research Paper Example

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Immigrations since time immemorial has been an important factor in shaping America and its population demographics and has influenced a number of social, political and economic processes of the country. In as much as immigration continues to occur, there have been identified…
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Immigration in the United States
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Insert Immigrations since time immemorial has been an important factor in shaping America and its population demographics and has influenced a number of social, political and economic processes of the country. In as much as immigration continues to occur, there have been identified four large scale immigration periods (including the original colonies peopling, the 19th Century Western expansion and the current and the current peak that started in the 1970s) all of which have coincided with fundamental transformations of the American economy caused by industrialization and globalization. The United States is unable to regularly review its policies on immigration as it is often a thorny political issue especially during the elections (Immigration in the United States, 1).
Initially, immigration in the US was majorly European (due to industrialization) followed by the Chinese who arrived after the discovery of gold in California. Much of the current legislation on immigration in the US is based on family unification and some of the rules that have been put in place to deal with illegal immigration include sanctions, fines and penalties for employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants, stricter border surveillance and enforcement and legalization of unauthorized immigrants who have been residents for five years and over. However, these measures alone are unable to keep out illegal immigrants and so other laws are constantly introduced (such as those that allow arrests, detentions, deportations, stricter penalties for immigration related crimes, barring chances of legal re-entry for illegal immigrants, tracking foreign visitors and denying access to federal public benefits) and the current legislations often amended (Immigration in the United States, 1).
New regulations make it easier for persons with superior US degrees in fields such as science, math and engineering to acquire work visas. Following the 9/11 attacks, units such as the CBP monitor entry and punishes illegal entry at ports, the ICE oversees things such as detentions and removals and the USCIS determines applications, petitions, asylum and refugee requests, among other functions. New stricter rules in the aftermath of these attacks mean tighter border inspections, tracking of foreign born personnel in the US, more stringent visa screening, prohibited issuance of driver’s license to illegal persons and expanded grounds for one to be refused admission, removed or declared fit for asylum/ protection. In addition, collaboration with foreign governments and international agreements that allow sharing of information can ensure that all illegal persons or those who pose threat to national security are prevented from arriving at the US even before bordering a plane (Immigration in the United States, 1).
Compared to 1890 and 1910, the foreign born population currently living in the US has dropped to 13% of the total US population (40.4 million) (this percentage includes both legal and illegal immigrants). 42% of these are naturalized citizens, 31% are permanent residents with green cards and illegal immigrants make up the remaining 27%. As it stands, Mexico, China, Philippines, El Salvador, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea, Dominican Republic and Guatemala are the highest contributors of immigration in the US in that order. Most of these immigrants live in California (25%), Texas (10%), Florida (9%), New Jersey (5%) and Illinois (4%). They are mostly often attracted to particular states and cities due to factors such as presence of job opportunities, depopulation of the said regions due to migrations and aging, and so on (Immigration in the United States, 1).
The principles for immigration into the United States include family (re)unification, satisfaction of labor market requirements, and refugee/ asylum for the needy with work related immigrations restricted to 140,000 persons per year. One can also acquire visa via visa lotteries with not more than 7% of the immigrant visas given to immigrants from the same country. The United States remains the number one provider of asylum and refuge for persons who are fleeing persecution of various sorts. Constitutionally, non-immigrants (given strict terms and conditions with specific stay periods) include tourists, foreign students, religious workers, diplomats, H-1B workers, business visitors, international organizations representatives and intra-company transferees. Citizenship of the foreign born in the US is granted to persons who have lived in the country for 5 or more years (3 years if married to a citizen), are at least 18 years of age, have good moral character, have a command in English and have not committed serious crimes (Immigration in the United States, 1).
The USA does not have federally driven immigrant integration policies that ensure immigrants become part of the US society with schools, churches, employers and community groups left with this task of integrating new members into the society. However, with gauges such as education, living standards, health and income comparisons of foreign and native born persons, integration in the US has been shown to be quite smooth and efficient too. A lot has been allocated towards border enforcement in terms of border agents, cameras, aircraft, drones and ground sensors with the general immigration capacity of the nation largely strengthening. Even with the strengthening of the USD economy, immigration levels are predicted to fall consequently (Immigration in the United States, 1).
Works Cited
"Immigration in the United States: New Economic, Social, Political Landscapes with Legislative Reform on the Horizon." Migrationpolicy.org. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. . Read More
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