U.S. Immigration Into the United States Essay

Pages: 5 (1442 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

U.S. Immigration

Immigration into the United States: Ongoing Controversy in the Political and Public Spheres

Immigration has always been a controversial issue in the United States, even before this nation was formed on the North American continent. Different groups of settlers arriving in successive waves sought different opportunities and different freedoms, and the idea of the immigrant outsider quickly developed among some of the first groups and their descendants. After the formation of the United States subsequent to the colonies' declaration of independence, the immigration issue did not die down but instead became even more controversial, with a mistrust of all outside interests -- especially European ones -- becoming a highly prevalent feature of politics and public opinion in the country and yet with a need for a growing population to fill and make productive the ever-expanding collection of territories and states that made up this nation throughout most of its history.

These opposing forces have continued to define the immigration issue in modern political rhetoric and public opinion, with the need for workers of all stripes fueling both legal and illegal immigration, and yet with many complaining -- with a large degree of justification -- that the United States is not in an economic or security position to offer its natural-born citizens adequate protections and security, and that increasing levels of immigrants place a further strain on limited resources. Neither side is wholly right nor wholly wrong, and this is perhaps the reason that the same issues continue to be debated in regards to immigration.

This paper will examine both sides of the issue as they are played out in modern times, citing several recent examples of major challenges to immigration policy both form those that believe such policies should be made more lenient, encouraging legal immigration, and those that wish to see further and stricter limitations on allowing immigrants into the country, and cracking down on those that are here illegally. The immigration issue took on a new significance in the twentieth century as increasing waves of illegal immigrants coming from and impoverished Mexico and other places in Latin America sought jobs in the United States. The need for these workers in many American industries as well as the need of jobs that these workers have clashes with principles many hold regarding the nature of American society and the protection of American infrastructure, and this creates the ongoing debate and controversy surrounding the immigration issue.

Current Issues in Immigration

The controversy over immigration has periods of being more sharply pitched and more relaxed and less present in the media, and though there is a definite and observable trend in the relationship between immigration prevalence in the media and as an issue of public controversy and the overall situation of the economy. The Great Depression, for instance, saw a massive expulsion of those identified as ethnically Mexican, many of whom had been born in what had once been Mexico but was now the Southwestern United States. Not all cases of extreme immigration conflicts are so clearly tied to economic issues, however.

In 2006, during a period of relative economic prosperity -- near the peak of the "bubble" that was to burst in mid-2008, causing the current economic downturn and uncertainty -- immigration reform was already becoming a hot-button topic. On Monday, May 1st of 2006, a national protest was organized and called "A Day Without Immigrants," and all immigrants and those supporting them were encouraged to boycott all forms of commerce and institutional interactions -- from school to work to shopping and almost every activity imaginable other than taking to the streets to join rallies and protests (CNN 2006). In rallies across the country, hundreds of thousands of immigrants took part in the protest and boycott, demonstrating how vital the functions served by immigrants both legal and illegal are to the country, in terms of the direct functions they fill through employment and the more indirect assets they provide by engaging in commerce and helping the economy to expand (CNN 2006).

Others saw the rallies as primarily focused on illegal immigrants and a recognition of their contributions, and a demand for rights for these individuals even though they are in this country illegally (AP 2006). For these people, the rallies were seen as a direct response to legislation passed in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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U.S. Immigration Into the United States.  (2010, June 12).  Retrieved December 11, 2018, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/us-immigration-united-states-ongoing/47123

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"U.S. Immigration Into the United States."  Essaytown.com.  June 12, 2010.  Accessed December 11, 2018.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/us-immigration-united-states-ongoing/47123.