Questions and debates related to immigration influxes, the role and influence of immigrants in employment as well as benefits and costs of immigration have become parts of public and political debates in the United States of America. As the world progressively becomes globalized in terms of global economies and trade and investments, borders are subsequently becoming more open for ease of goods and services movement. America, as a result, has seen an incursion of immigrants, both legal and illegal. Statistics from the National Migration Policy indicate that in the second quarter of 2015, there were approximately 42.4 million immigrants in the United States, accounting for 13.3% of the total American population. This increase has sparked debates on the impact of immigrants on the countrys society, economy, education systems, and culture. Analysis indicates that though immigration may result to some short-term displacements in the labor market, it has led to economic growth, enriched the American culture, and, to some extent, lowered the status of the American education.
The Impact of Immigration to the American Society
Current trends indicate that there has been a shift in immigration. The past decade recorded a significant increase in the number of foreign-born population. Between 2000 and 2012, Costa, Cooper, and Shierholz report that the number of foreign-born immigrants increased by 31.2%. Research also shows that todays immigrants are more diversified regarding their origin countries compared to thirty years ago. By then, a majority of immigrants were from Europe. This has changed as immigrants come from all over the world, with the largest numbers being from Mexico, China, and India. Research also shows that todays immigrants have more diverse education backgrounds. In 2012, about 11.6% of immigrants, had masters, professional or a doctorate degrees. The illegal immigrants also have higher education standards today compared to ten years ago. The number of those who have high-school diplomas has continued to increase. More immigrants have also become homeowners today than was the case in the past. Lastly, immigrants in America can work in different employments since they are more learned. This is also informed by the fact that the immigration peak period which continues today since 1970 has concurred with ultimate revolutions of the nations economy. Todays immigration has coincided with globalization as well as with the last stages of transformation and shift from an industrialized to a knowledge-based economy. Changes in both the immigrant characteristics and the economy into which they migrate into have had positive and negative effects.
Economically, immigration has presented positive opportunities. It has been established that immigration promotes innovation as most immigrants are at the forefront of inventions and creativity, accounting for an impressive high share of patent filings, science, and technical graduates. A substantial number of immigrants also occupy top positions in capital venture firms. Friedman argues that immigrants are Americas real dream team. He observed during an awards dinner that a majority of the finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search were immigrants with inspiring ideas for innovation. This demonstrates that America does benefit from innovative ideas from immigrants. Research also shows that unlike the contrary belief on the negative impact on ages, when immigration increases labor availability, firms increase their funding and investments in a bid to equipoise any decrease in capital per worker. This prevents wages from declining in the long term. Immigration also helps in the improvement of government policies as immigrants contribute more in taxes over their lifetime compared to what they consume in government services. They immigrants work and contribute to the social security, hence reduce the level of burden to the government. Immigration also contributes to better skills which match with the jobs available.
Immigration also affects the education in America. With the increasing number of immigrants in school, the amount of resources available are usually strained to accommodate the needs of all. In many cases, immigrant students have English as a second language. To ensure that international students keep up with the rest, more resources are veered towards them. This has negatively affected education. Further, if immigrant and native children are taught in the same class, the progress of natives may be slowed down by the need to accommodate the immigrants. Chin established that when non-Spanish English students characterized by limited English proficiency were placed in a different class with non-English speakers, the former performed better. However, Freeman and Mirilovic note that there are also benefits of immigration on education. With the increasing population of immigrant children attending school, natives are encouraged to complete their high school to effectively compete with immigrants in the labor market.
Immigration has also enriched the American culture. As such, it does not serve to undercut the American experiment but has, rather, has become an integral part of it. Through immigration of people from all backgrounds, America is kept democratically sound. The acculturation and assimilation of immigrants in the society has provided America with new dimensions to culture, linguistic skills, and ideas. Since immigrants are from all over the world, America boasts as being the country with the highest integration of cultures. This has subsequently enriched the nation culturally. Also, companies today are keen to hire multilingual employees, especially with the increased international expansion. Immigration has thus been beneficial to organizations by providing multilingual employees. The language capacity of many Americans has also expanded, owing to the extensive interaction of cultures. Lastly, the integration of cultures has helped to promote diversity thinking as well as increase tolerance for difference.
In overall, immigration has affected the American society. The demand for goods and services has increased, and the more Americans have become more tolerant of differences in lifestyles, views, and opinions. Considered a national interest, immigration has permitted individuals to better themselves and subsequently strengthened the society. From the analysis above, economic growth and cultural integration have positively affected the society. Both natives and immigrants are both born with creative talents. By incorporating and accommodating immigrants, America has grown in almost all aspects. Except in the unfortunate occurrences of increased violence and terrorism, America has, arguably, benefited from immigration.
The US policy on immigration has, to a great extent, contributed to the increase in immigrants as well as the effects discussed. The Immigration and Naturalization Act allows for an estimate 675,000 permanent immigrants. This has encouraged more people to relocate to the United States. Policies in health, however, continuously segregate immigrants, placing them in the lower income bracket. When they spend on medical care, they cannot afford to provide for their children needs in school, hence cause a subsequent strain or resources. However, laws requiring that all children, including those of immigrant status, receive public education have further promoted the trends and developments seen in immigrants today.
From the above discussion, it is evident that immigration does not pose any threat to America as some critics argue. Investing all resources to secure the borders might not be the solution to immigration. The issue has sharply divided the country into two. I believe the best approach would be to provide more pathways and avenues to providing citizenship for those in the country without legal status. Immigrants are not a burden to the American economy. They are a source of affordable labor, innovations, and help in the improvement of government policies. Rather than compete, immigrants complement the natives in their productivity. As Friedman asserts, maybe we should not close the doors. Comprehensive reforms to address the entry into the country, however, should also be put in place. The numbers should be controlled to ensure that the county is not eventually affected through the oversupply of labor, increased terrorism, and insecurity as well as in the provision of social amenities.
In conclusion, the issue of immigration has become a major issue of debate. Today, it is easier for people from all over the world to live and work in America. The policies in place have played a huge role in influencing the trends evident today. This paper has demonstrated that immigration has positive benefits to the economy of the country. Further, immigrants have helped enrich the American culture and promote tolerance. Immigration, however, has negatively affected education as resources become increasingly strained. Since immigration has provided positive benefits, the best approach to the immigration issue would be to generate ways to provide citizenship for those already in. Comprehensive reforms and changes should also be made to control the number of immigrants who come to America every year.
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