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Immigration has become a hot topic in the United States due to Donald Trump's rethinking of foreign policy. It continues to pique the interest of all people because of the various ways in which they believe they have been impacted. Because of the ethnic diversity of its population, sensitive concerns such as xenophobia and racial prejudice have been raised. For this study of foreign policy and immigration into the United States, nationalism is also discussed as a political agenda. Furthermore, the IS has a variety of relationships with each nation, especially with its southern neighbor, Mexico. It knows that the country relied on immigration for labor and constructed itself from the ground up, making it an even more sensitive topic to review, albeit a most important one (Ellison 68). The US has for the longest time, valued and benefited from labor through immigration and can therefore not simply cut off such resources immediately.
It must all the same find means to manage the same in order to maintain healthy relationships with other nations and retain its beneficial immigrant population in the nation. Such management allows it to control illegal immigration and social economic structures favorable for its population. It is also through these relationships that the USA preserves its good relationships with other nations. Listening to all the debates and arguments on television and in public triggers so many thoughts especially when immigration is made to appear as America’s biggest problem.
It is clearly not on top of the list and may just be a hindrance to proper governance by the new government. In all fairness, it is not right to simply call out every immigrant claiming that they take up jobs from citizens. While this is true, it requires understanding of the benefits of such immigration in ways that would otherwise be impossible for USA (Merithew 263). The agriculture sector for instance, is the one place that citizens prefer not to work in and having illegal or legal immigrants only makes it possible to have a proper agriculture sector and food security. This essay thus, finds immigration to be something requiring a very pragmatic approach and not in support of deporting all immigrants legal or illegal. It does not find this to be a necessary move in solving USA's economic and political problems even though it still encourages proper management of the same.
According to Professor Huntington, the issue of immigration is not entirely a matter of labor and the lack of income for native born citizens taken up by immigrant population. It is more of the foundation upon which the nation was build which he says was ‘overwhelmingly white,’ (Huntington 1). He sets his readers on a journey to the past trying to convince them just how the nation was built upon an Anglo Protestant, rule of law and city on the hill focus. He admits however to changes over the years in religion and ethnicity but appears to defend the we against them mentality by mentioning the Hispanic lack of assimilation. Now that is a highly controversial perspective and one that, according to Edward Telles holds no water given the simple fact that America is extremely multiethnic.
Moreover, Professor Huntington presents only perceptions that are not backed by statistics (Telles 165). He makes fatal assumptions on the labor market failing to realize the contribution of Hispanic populations to America in real percentages. It is necessary to understand that the portion of Hispanic populations engaging in low wage employment is insignificant to the American population and that the job market is not static but dynamic and has since the nineties changed. Moreover, the participation of Hispanic populations in American life implies that they need not speak English to be considered American. The October 7, 2005 New York Times headlines on San Antonio army recruitment is proof enough of this population’s commitment to the nation (Telles 165).
To be fair, Hispanic groups in America may not speak English but they have been in touch with the nation so long that cities such as the majority of California have names connoting Latino affiliation. To say that their lack of assimilation is grounds for lack of loyalty to the American system just implies xenophobia. It brings out the fear of what is different. Assimilation is not the standard despite its past successes, to ensure loyalty to a nation.
Immigration into America must be viewed in terms of the benefits against disadvantages caused by increased populations. It is from such a point that America can once again redefine immigration through ensuring maximum benefits and less disadvantages. Firstly, the American economy would be worse off without both legal and illegal immigrants (Hanmueller et al 543). Surprising, America would be so much worse off without illegal immigrants as compared to its state with legal ones. Illegal immigrants bring in cheap labor and cause a fall in prices of goods and services following the fall in production costs. On the other hand, legal immigration may not have the same impact as workers demand to be paid in accordance with minimum wage provisions. It is important to acknowledge workers of the agriculture and hospitality sectors that most Americans would rather not work in. To provide these with legal status ought to be a priority for the USA (Schildkraut 453). Where citizenship is not possible, then short term work permits for these particular sectors would be a proper move to make.
Immigration into any country requires legal enforcement and ought to be implemented as such. It is evident that supporting immigration is not a matter of the law in the American case but that of the facts at hand. Those in support of deportation of illegal immigrants so portray a bit of hypocrisy seeing as most of the sectors and jobs undertaken by illegal immigrants are not choice employment and are mostly not what citizens of host nations normally pursue. It means that immigration does not affect the US negatively, at least not economically. In any case, illegal immigration benefits America economically but becomes a political issue and may raise social problems in terms of crime. Politically speaking, USA must encourage its government to address more urgent issues rather than use the issue of immigration as a diversion. This is not to say that immigration is not an issue but that it is constantly blown out of proportion seeing as the solving of it can easily be achieved by reinforcing relationships with other nations. Moreover, after such solutions, the deeper issues of the American society will still remain (Schildkraut 459). It is therefore more important to solve these and deal with all matters from a root point.
In considering the impact of immigration on America, there is need to consider citizens welfare and their concern in every way. Should these voice concerns regarding security and economic disadvantages caused by immigrants, then the government ought to take such favors into consideration. Nevertheless, such factors must be backed by proper evidence to be sure that policies favor the interests of nation as a whole and not individual political agendas. In the case of Mexican immigration for instance, economic disadvantages exist when laborers take up jobs that would otherwise benefit citizens of the nation. Nonetheless, these immigrants do work in sectors such as the agriculture and hospitality Industries where most Americans show the least interest in. In such a case, there is realization of an important role to be played by immigrants in the nation whether these are illegal or not (Schildkraut 447). According to the Social Security Fund reports, illegal immigrants also contribute to the economy through paying undocumented returns.
While immigration may be viewed from the point of legality, it is evident that such a perspective is not enough in dealing with the situation and requires to be upgraded. The nation ought to encourage regard for its law and sovereignty through endorsing policies that cooperate with Mexico for instance to ensure that its employers are well rewarded in Mexico. The US can easily use its position in NAFTA to influence positive economic change in Mexico as means of reducing illegal immigration. Nonetheless it must also maintain proper structures for those working in the South as workers in the agriculture and hospitality sectors.
Ellison, Christopher G., and W. Allen Martin, eds. Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States: Readings for the 21st Century. Roxbury Publishing Company, 1999.
Huntington, Samuel. The Hispanic Challenge. March/April 2004.The Foreign Policy.www.foreignpolocy.com
Merithew, Caroline. "Ellis Island Nation: Immigration Policy and American Identity in the Twentieth Century. By Robert L. Fleeglar. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. 270 pages. $49.95." (2016).
Schildkraut, Deborah J. "Boundaries of American identity: evolving understandings of “Us”." Annual review of political science 17 (2014): 441-460.
Telles, Edward. "Mexican-Americans and the American nation: a response to professor Huntington." Tempo Social 18.2 (2006): 167-184.
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