United States Immigration Policy

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More than any other country in the world, the United States has the largest number of immigrants. The United States has an estimated 35 million immigrants, far above the second rank Russia at 13 million (Sarin 1).

The United States was built on immigration when Christopher Columbus landed in Plymouth. The United States has always had a strong history concerning immigration. Not until the United States was declared a free country did immigration start to increase. For this reason the constitution was forced to place laws on who could enter, how long they may stay, and when they must leave (Immigration Law 1).

During 1901-1910 the first big peak of immigration came from Europe with 8.7 million immigrants, then in 1981-1990 the last big peak of with 7.3 million (Duignan and Lewis 104). Throughout the history of immigration to America there have been extreme peaks and lows.

The role that we will assume is a person in the working class that is concerned with immigration and its impact on society. The organizational role that the reader will assume will be the head of Congress of Immigration and Nationality. The secondary audience will be the other congress members of Immigration and Nationality.

Purpose, Scope, Limitations, and Significance

The purpose of the study is to recommend the current United State's immigration policies need to be changed.

The analysis will determine (1) whether immigrants have higher levels of poverty and welfare than native citizens, (2) if the naturalization process is too simple or too firm, (3) if the crime rates of immigrants are higher than native citizens, and (4) if more immigrants are unemployed and what kind of jobs they are taking.

The significance of the report is to determine if the current immigration laws need to be changed. The report is limited to how the United States will change the immigration laws.

Sources and Methods

Various types of books concerning current and existing laws of immigration policy were consulted for specific facts and examples to help explain various laws intact in the present as well as in the past. In addition, electronic databases containing articles from countless national and specialty periodicals were explored to uncover information and opinions concerning the current issue of immigration in the United States.

A questionnaire survey (shown in the appendix) of students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was conducted to gain knowledge of their views about the United States immigration policy, and to determine what types of opinions the majority felt.

Dated sources, older than three years old, were used in the study to compare and contrast the past and present. Also, numerous web sources were consulted because the study required more information than two web sites provided.


The results of this study will be represented by four categories: the immigration poverty and welfare levels, the naturalization process of the United States, immigration crime rates, and immigrant jobs and unemployment.

Poverty and Welfare Levels of Immigrants

A major finding in the report of importing poverty states that immigration is the major cause of poverty over the last 20 years (Camarota 1). According to diagram 1, over the 1994-2000 period, poverty rates fell much more quickly for immigrants than for natives. The national poverty rates of recent immigrants (those here for 10 or fewer years) fell about four times as fast as that of natives (11.6 percentage points, compared with 2.9 points); the rate for all immigrants fell 2.7 times as fast as that of United States that of United States natives (Chapman and Bernstein 11). Other examples can be further explained in diagram 2.

Diagram 1

Diagram 2

Source: Chapman, Jeff and Jared Bernstein. "Immigration and Poverty: How are they linked?" Monthly Labor Review...
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