What to Do About Immigration

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By: Lena Peschmann

What To Do About Immigration The concern about the impact that immigration impose on American society is not a new one. Since the discovery of the New World immigrants from all over the world moved to American continent in search of a better life, that this vast and rich in sources, yet scarce in population land had promised them. Soon the immigrants outnumbered the native population. They came from England, Europe and Asia. In addition, millions of Africans were imported as slaves. By 1700 the United States became a country of immigrants and more were still to come. At that time America welcomed everybody who ventured to settle in the new country. At the end of the last century, however, not all immigrants were gladly received. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 shut the door for Chines immigrants. It was followed by Quota Act of 1921 and Immigration Act of 1924 which restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Finally, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 restricted the number of immigrants from every nation. Today, as the United States experience "the fourth wave" of immigration, the debate about what to do about it heats up. According to Linda Chavez, "In 1993 […],over 800,000 legal immigrants were admitted to the United States and an estimated 300,000 illegal aliens settled here, more or less permanently. Over the last decade, as many as ten million legal and illegal immigrants established permanent residence…" (327). However, as Kenney David remarks the numbers by themselves, may not be so disturbing, for the foreign-born people represent only 8.7 percent of entire population of the United States (311). What bothers many Americans is the fact that the majority of immigrants comes from Latin America, predominately Mexico. The main objective of so-called "nativists", to whom one can refer Nicolaus Mills, is that the growing ratio of Hispanics leads to disintegration of the American nation as a union. In his article called "Lifeboat Ethics and Immigration Fears" he explores the issue of immigration and the problems it causes. Mills sees immigration as a threat to American nation as an ethnic group. He expresses his concern that high birth rates and liberal immigration laws allowing to bring relatives result in a high percentage of Mexican population in some areas. In his article Mills agrees with Peter Brimelow saying that "the current mass immigration from predominantly non-European countries threatens not ‘only racial hegemony of white Americans' but the ethnic balance responsible for our social cohesion as a nation"(339). The next issue that Mills rises in his article is the economic effect of immigration. Here, he agrees with many nativists that due to the character of the modern immigration which according to them consists mainly from undereducated and unskilled people and due to the liberal immigration laws, the society takes upon itself additional expenses to take care of their children and elderly relatives. And yet the illegal immigration is even bigger issue. He gives an example of California where "the cost to taxpayers of illegal aliens and their U.S. born children [is] at $3 billion annually" (340). Many of them receive the same aid from the government as the citizens do. According to Mills, "[m]ore than a quarter of all immigrants over the age of sixty-five now receive SSI, at a cost of $2 billion annually", he points out and goes on to say that "it cost the seven states with the highest number of immigrants $3.1 billion to educate 641,000 undocumented children" (344). Mills insist the government should stop giving out favors to immigrants. Therefore, he supports the Proposition 187, which was "designed to cut virtually all state aid" to illegal immigrants (340). In addition, he is against the law granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants and their mothers. Mills calls this law a loophole and an invitation for exploitation (343). However, not only...
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