Between 1880 and 1920, almost 24 million immigrants arrived to the United States, primarily from southern and eastern Europe. All of these “new immigrants” underwent numerous troubles suffering separation from family, disease, and even the news that they were not welcome. Low wages, unemployment, and religious persecution pushed all of these men and women out of their homeland to travel to a new place which was known as “The Land of Liberty”. Many were welcome, but that was if you were deemed “fit” for this country. Although most of the immigrants could not speak English because they came from Russia, Greece, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, Croatia, Italy, China, and even Asia, they were able to conjugate ethnic communities where their culture was preserved. But even these small communities would not be able to withstand any of the discrimination they would be faced with later on.
In this time period however, life for a native-born American was hard enough, but now with all of the new able bodies ready to work for such a low wage, the Americans would have to settle for what they could get their hands on. This Industrial Age brought many new jobs though, so finding work was not the issue. In fact, the big businesses needed the labor, which meant using non-U.S. Citizens to fill the void. So the problem presents itself within the hands of the corrupt corporation not giving the amount of pay needed to survive under the costs of living (as I have mentioned before in a previous editorial). These big business men “controlled the people through their own money” as Louis Brandeis said in his book Other People’s Money. Inevitably, power took over the weak, not just with this issue, but for one unparticular.
Racism has always been around, and always will be. You and I may question its existence, but it is one thing that is unavoidable no matter where you go. And for the Chinese immigrants at this time could not have been more seclusive. Congress passed the “Chinese Exclusion Act” in 1882, “which prohibited any Chinese laborer from entering the country”, but this act did not last long in the eyes of big businessmen. Although this Act was not repealed until 1943, the United States was still “collecting” these excluded human beings. But to top that off, the Japanese were restricted which violated a treaty in 1894 which gave Japanese citizens the right to enter this country freely. So, what is known as the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” was established between Theodore Roosevelt and Japanese officials in 1907, which was a compromise to this situation. This “compromise” however did not solve all problems though, for many unions fought to diminish this newly acquired race.
As for the immigrants themselves, they were not tied up in all the politics of things, rather just the simple life that they had to endure. Slums, ghettos, sick ways of living one might say was the life they were granted when coming to America. Many immigrants were forced to live in close courters with other families making it impossible to have any privacy, and even spread the filth of the area. Open sewers, and freshly tossed out trash mixed with the weeks old trash made the air almost unbreathable. But even with all of these complications, anything was better than a life back home.
So now we reach today’s society where immigration is a huge influence in society, especially since we live so close to the border. Immigration has its processes of legalization, and I believe they are fit for this day in age. A person should not be allowed into a country and bottom feed off of the ones who do work. Scottie argues that there are many “lazy” Americans, but he did not think to consider the number of hardworking ones. These “illegal immigrants” that sneak their way in do in fact “steal” money from these citizens, from just a simple car accident they had while on U.S. soil. Just because businesses need them so they do not have to pay as much for human labor, does not mean it is right. Legal immigrants are given a fair chance here, if they are able to meet certain requirements (which all Americans have to meet). Today, now more than ever, the population of the United States is becoming a major problem especially with the decline in jobs, so I think that there should be a stronger action put against protecting the country against illegal immigrants. The ones who work to get here, deserve to the work nonetheless. If they cheat their way through the system, then I believe they should be sent back and given a shot to take the citizenship test.