A National Identity Crisis- Research Paper
A National Identity Crisis? Humans from various parts of the globe, including the Western hemisphere, arrived tens of thousands of years ago. These people belonged to different cultures, different groups, and spoke different languages. They settled in places where they could find water and food. It’s often thought that migration and immigration are the same and immigration came out of migration, which is NOT true. During seasons, birds migrate from one place to another. Once the season is over, they come back to their home.
People from Mexico get into the United States during the harvest season and once their job is complete, they return home. If these Mexicans did not go back, but established a residence in the United States, then they become immigrants. Initially when the United States was being formed, most of the people were only settlers. As a result, there were no stringent rules to prevent any illegal immigration. People who inhibited and occupied a certain area became the owners of that area. The most prominent of them, either by wealth or power, was proclaimed as the leader of the group.
These descendants were so powerful that when new migrants were seen, they could capture them and convert them to slavery. Moreover, they invaded nearby islands and open lands and by force captured the native people to be used as slaves to work in the fields and the homes. At one point, when the settlers had to fight for their rights against the British, they formed reasonable colonies and tried to establish a united society. Their primary aim was to get the country freed from the British, excluding people, who they deemed undesirable and regulate the flow of new people in the nearby future.
These people, who freed the country, called themselves as citizens of America and they saw all newcomers as immigrants. The slaves who toiled during the American Revolution were granted freedom as a token of gratitude. These slaves were the first recognized immigrants. Most of the migrants who came in did not return to their homeland, as their homeland was not rich enough to provide farming land and other natural resources. As these migrants came from different sectors of the globe, various industries and farming started to flourish in the United States.
Rapid growth in the rate of these migrants raised concerns within people who called themselves as citizens as they thought that these more skilled migrants would rob their chances. As these migrants came from different societies, there was always one animosity or another between them, which often led to violence. This also made the citizens really think about bringing in some discipline in the form of rules and regulations on migrating to the United States. Basically, all the people were subject to some sort of examination.
Most of these immigrants have come to the United States in the hopes of improvising their lifestyle, and none wanted to stoop down unless it was really required. As most of the people were attached to some popular religions, sectors based on religion were also formed. During the early 19th century, the basic rules for immigration were developed, which described the process of processing migrants as immigrants and also limit the size of annual migrations. Immigration, in the United States, has been a precarious issue for a long time.
The first people to settle the colonies, the colonists, came to this country for many of the same reasons people today immigrate here. However, the issue of identity has been a highly debated issue. While the immigrants can help to boost the economy and give back to the country, should they be allowed the privilege to call themselves Americans? The two major sides in this debate are one side being that ONLY legal immigrants should be allowed this honor, while the other side is that no immigrant should be given this honor.
The truth, though tactless, is that America would not be where it is today if immigrants had not legally come to this country. Most of the entry points into this country were being guarded and all migrants were strictly screened through a laborious process. As the migration patterns reflected economic, social, and political development, the regulations for the number of immigrants and various types of immigrants were being strictly formulated. Most of the least attractive jobs in the country are being manned by illegal immigrants as they work at very low wages, sometimes even below the stipulated minimum wage.
The employers try to exploit the situation of these laborers and make their personal pockets bulge with profits. Moreover, these illegal immigrants, as they are not legally attached to any payroll, they do not pay any taxes or any fee to the government. Illegal immigrants do not have proper health coverage, and thereby could not get medical attention when needed. So, they tend to land up in emergency room, which finally falls on legal taxpayers to bear the burden. Also, diseases which are not quite common in this country get into the country via the illegal immigrants posing a gigantic health threat.
Another pile of cost to the taxpayers is children born to these illegal immigrants in this country. Taxpayers are left to scramble the rummages out of the ruin, while these parents quietly sit and watch. One of the main reasons why people illegally cross the border is that to get in legally, it is very difficult unless otherwise highly qualified. Despite all the unwanted situations that occur for an illegal immigrant, if caught, they are still cutting to the front of the line before many hopeful, qualified legal immigrants.
Also the United States government exercises a lottery system whereby fifty-thousand people are selected to settle permanently in the US. This encourages the illegal immigrant to overextend their welcome period of stay and try their luck. Illegal immigrants also tend to have a greater hand on crime and other offenses. It is a substantial economic burden for a state and country to house all these offenders in prison, which in turn will be borne by the taxpayers. Big US companies embrace undocumented workers which has helped them grow immensely.
There are no stringent laws against these cases of hiring illegal immigrants. Most of the farming and low-paid jobs are being handled by illegal immigrants as per a recent Census Bureau survey. “As the U. S. developed into a welfare state, poor illegal immigrants increasingly used a larger percentage of taxpayer dollars through reliance on government programs and use of other government resources, such as law enforcement and deportation. Further, since many U. S. employers illegally hire these workers at substandard wages, they avoid collecting social security taxes from them in order to hide their existence.
This results in less tax paid by illegal immigrants for the government services they disproportionately use. ” (Haerens, 39). Most of these illegal immigrants are cynically attached to their religion and culture. This instigates them to revolt in various fashions whenever something happens in the US which goes against their ideologies. This is one of the root causes of terrorism. Stronger measures are required to curb illegal immigration and more vigilant patrolling will be required. This has been clearly emphasized as we come to know that at least two of the 9/11 hijackers were illegally staying in the United States. One of the worst aspects of our government’s open borders policy is the repeated re-entry of alien criminals who were previously deported but easily return to commit more crimes” (Gerdes, 92). “The group that has borne the brunt of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 crackdown is immigrants” (Haerens, 90). As the legal immigrants were highly knowledgeable, skilled, respected, experienced in their field, they brought in good technological, economic, and social growth to the United States. Added to this, they paid taxes, sometimes greater than residing citizens with fewer benefits.
In addition, healthcare does cost them more compared to citizens. In a way, they were directly or indirectly contributing to the making of America into a superpower. “I say the class of immigrants coming to the shores of the United States at this time is the kind of people we want as citizens of this country” (Congressman Boren, 27). The immigrants being bilingual and from different societies spread their wings far and wide within America and Americans could learn scores of first-rate things being habituated in the immigrant lifestyles.
For example, a lot of God-fearing concepts and life after death, reincarnation were learnt from the Hindu religion of South Asia, to govern and have a single organized government from China, exploiting available resources to grow from the Gulf countries, technologically improving existing conditions and making life better from Singapore, streamlined and smarter working tactics from Japan, etc. The legal immigrants could adapt themselves quickly to the environment and be productive. Sometimes, this was being thrust upon them for their self-survival.
For, if they did not perform up to the expectations, there was a possibility that their immigration status could be cancelled. Most of these legal immigrants tried to settle down with their families around the country, which in turn provided surplus funds to county and state budgets. These immigrants had their children educated in US school systems and most of these kids would excel in their academic curriculums, thereby bringing morale to the schools they are in. As these immigrants are highly qualified and are able to adapt to new environments quickly, they become a great asset to the country.
Not only in terms of money, by form of tax, but also technologically academically, economically, socially, they have contributed a lot to what America is today. Not all of these legal immigrants or temporary workers wish to live continuously here. Most of them are attached to their country and wish to go back to live with their kith and kin. For all these cases, the taxes paid, the social security paid, the Medicare tax paid are all retained by the government which somewhat boosts our economy. There are various types of legal immigrants, categorized as religious, skilled, etc.
America has got a rich mixture of legal immigrants who governed in high technological positions. There are many scientists, research scholars, teachers, and doctors who are academically qualified and experienced and are in legal immigration status. Most of the nurses working in various hospitals are from different countries with legal status to work in the United States. The United States needs a hoard of qualified, skilled people in different sectors and different industries, in different aspects and cannot augment that requirement from the local resources.
So every year, many immigrants come in to the States legally to perform these yeoman services. Unlike the illegal immigrants, the legal immigrants have to be paid the stipulated minimum wage. But many-a-times, they are not on par with the wages given to a citizen, even though their qualification is better compared to the citizen. The legal immigrants, in order to maintain their legal status, would not indulge in any crime or unwanted activities. Most of them fear for losing their immigration status and abide by the law, strictly as much as possible.
This in turn, provides one less worry for the cops, state, Big Brother. Since all of these immigrants have to be employed to maintain a status, the taxes are more or less assured. Illegal immigration has been a long-growing problem for the United States, and there have been heated debates regarding this issue. The first and foremost thing would be these illegal immigrants, if they were to become legal, would cost heavily-additional dollars to the country. For example, they would be eligible for welfare programs, like Earned Income Credit, food stamps, Medicare, etc.
The tax they would pay as legal immigrants will not compensate for half of what needs to be spent for their welfare. Also, once these illegal immigrants become legal, they will be free to choose the type pf job they will work, they place, and their wages which in turn would leave unpleasant jobs vacant and will give rise to another batch of illegal immigration. It would also increase drastically the nation’s population which would have dire consequences for everyone already living in the country. In addition, these newly legalized aliens will have the right to bring their close family members from their home country into he United States, which will affect the economy in a negative way. As per the Census Bureau, 90% of the illegal immigrants lack proper healthcare and more than half of them have not completed high school as they could not afford it. If legal status is provided to these people, it will bring in a spike of uneducated future citizens. As America is competing to maintain and retain it supremacy, it definitely needs technological knowledge to be parted to all its future generations. The legal immigrants who come to America want to work and build a better life.
They have risked many things, left their kith and kin, and their country with a heavy heart to live the “American dream” to lawfully enter into the United States. By their adaptation and growth, they not only help themselves, but also help the country to grow in various aspects. These immigrant children, because of their love, affection, and family surroundings bring in a lot of added values to the country. These values have been long forgotten due to our so-called Westernized habits. There have been heated debates that all illegal immigrants must be sent back.
But there is a risk involved in that too, as most of the unwanted and unpleasant jobs are handled by the illegal aliens. These immigrants, drawn from various corners of the earth, provide a forged, cultural, unified millions of strong, so-called Americans, which, has helped American gain the superpower status it wields today. So many reforms made in immigration laws by Congress have helped the country to come a long way from what it was in the early 19th century. Now all legal immigrants are required to be literate and have special skills, skills that are not available locally in the United States.
The history and credentials are scrutinized to a larger extent to ensure that only qualified people can legally enter into the United States. This also makes it very difficult for unskilled, unqualified resources who want to come into the United States, forcing them to look for illegal means to enter the country. All of these low-paying, unpleasant job workers currently working should be given a temporary fixed legal status. Once their status period expires, they should be returned back to their country.
Strict rules to adhere to this principal should be laid by the federal government which will help to curb the illegal immigration racket. Works Cited Current Controversies: Immigration. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Michigan: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Print. Farnam, Julie. U. S. Immigration Laws under the threat of Terrorism. Algora Publishing, 2005. Print. Hewitt, Valerie. “Immigration: Legal vs. Illegal. ” Associated Content. Associated Content, 2010. Web. 20, Feb. 2010. Illegal Immigration. Ed. Margaret Haerens. Michigan: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Print. Immigration. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff.
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