Higher Modern Studies
Immigration and the USA
Keir Lynch 5W1
Every year, 700,000 immigrants move to the United States of America in search of a better life with the hope of one day living the American Dream. It is not hard to see why the US is so appealing. As US citizen’s, immigrants can earn more and are protected with the rights of the constitution, they are less likely to be living in poverty and there are endless opportunities. Often, these pull factors exceed anything compared to what they would have in their native country. For example in Mexico roughly half of the population live on less than $5 a day. As a US citizen, you are protected by law with the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Some believe that immigrants are damaging to the US and are worried that in 2043, whites will be a minority in their own country. In 1990, the US Immigration Act (IMMACT) became law. This increased the limit of legal immigrants moving to the US each year from 500,000 to 700,000 and has family reunification as its main priority. This is on top 50,000 diversity visas for immigrants from countries from which few were emigrating, as well as 40,000 permanent job-related workers to benefit the US economy and 65,000 temporary worker visas. The temporary worker visas are seen to be controversial due to over ½ of those granted temporary admission failing to return to their native country or seek asylum once their period is over. The act also allows those with AID’s to immigrate to the US and increased work on maintaining the US border fence making it spread further into the deserts. This causes illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border greater risks which will be discussed later on. This shows that the US government see immigration beneficial. The Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) followed soon after the World Trade Centre and Oklahoma City bombings. This act aims to deter extremist attacks and to provide justice to the families of victims of terrorist actions. It also allows immigrants (including green card holders – US Visa’s) to be deported or placed into custody if they commit acts of crime. Both of these acts are said to be controversial in the US. This is especially due to the estimated 7.5 illegal alien workers in over 12 million households. In the 2000 census there were 8.5 million unauthorised (illegal) workers in the US. This figure grew to 11.8 million in 2007 but was then found to have fallen to 11.4 million in 2012. It is estimated that there are another 700,000 – 850,000 illegal aliens moving to the US each year undetected. In 1990, there were over 8 million estimated illegals in the US from Mexico alone and it is estimated that 1 in 10 Mexicans in the world live in the US. Although the number of Mexican immigrants has been seen to decrease over the last 14 years it is estimated that between 2000 and 2008, 11 states saw their Mexican-born population grow by at least 50,000. In four US states, Mexican immigrants accounted for around one-fifth or more of total population growth between those 8 years. In 2009, 62% of all illegal immigrants in the United States were originally from Mexico and the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico increased 42%. It is also estimated that more than ½ of all Mexican immigrants in the United States were alien’s. In 1990, almost half of Mexican immigrants lived in California. This is due to its close location in relation to the border and the fact that there are lots of work opportunities on farms. It is often the case that illegal immigrants will end up working long hours and for low wages to try and make ends meet. This is due to the fact that they are not US citizens so cannot highlight to the authorities that they are being paid under the legal rate due to fear of deportation. Even though the California’s illegal population had grown from 1.48 million to 2.45 million the state’s share of immigrants dropped to around...
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