Immigration to the United States and New Americans
Immigration in the early 1900s had tremendous impacts on the civilizations in Europe and in the United States. Immigration in any country can affect the economy and society. Domestically, there can be detrimental effects on the economy caused by the increasing number of immigrants. Also, nationally there have been problems in society with immigrants. But there are other views on immigration, stating that multiculturalism is increased and it strengthens society. Immigration has many different effects on a country, some good and some bad.
Therefore, one may argue whether immigration has negative or positive effects within a country. Immigration has effected the United States socially and economically, significantly in the late 1900s some of the effects for the good and some for bad. Americans’ standard ways of thinking contain worries that the large numbers of immigrants are affecting the economy. In the source “The Case Against Immigration” Roy H. Beck states “an honest look at major trends during the recent mass immigration shows that ordinary Americans’ concerns can hardly be dismissed as narrow and unenlightened.”1
He is stating that with the recent incline of immigration, people are not going to change their views on what they think of immigration. The large increase in immigration started in the 1970s and since then there has been a 5.6% increase in the total percentage of immigrants that make up the population in the year 2000.2 The recent incline in immigration has had significant negative effects in the economy. Many citizens believe that the large number of immigrants is conflicting with the job market.
In source 98, Roy Beck states that the majority of people suffering from immigration are “poor children, lower skilled workers, residents of declining urban communities, and large numbers of African Americans.”3 These people are affected by immigration because of job competition. With more immigrants competing for the same jobs as the people effected, it diminishes the opportunities for citizens of the United States to get jobs at the wages they want. The group of people affected by immigrants makes up a large portion of the population.
The text “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration” backs up the statement made by Beck with a statement about unskilled workers. It states, “many immigrants are unskilled laborers, the strong presumption is that immigrants are substitutes for domestic unskilled labor. Therefore, an increase in the number of immigrants will generally decrease the wages of domestic unskilled workers.”4 This shows that immigrants are affecting many Americans that are unskilled workers, and with the large amounts of immigrants there is a much greater effect. The theory is simple but it is proven with statistics from the text. The text proves that immigrants are having effects on Americans. From 1970 to 1990 there was a large increase in population. The competition for jobs also went up.
Native born citizens that are unskilled workers had their wages increased from $37,212 in 1970 to $37,551 in 1990.5 We must take inflation into account too. If the wages were not affected by immigration, we would have expected them to increase more significantly due to inflation. Over 20 years the wages only increased by about $300, this shows a direct relation between the number of immigrants and the salaries of native citizens. Many citizens believe that immigration has different effects on a nation.
According to Paul Scheffer “world wide migration produces multifarious societies, then there is little to be said against it.”6 He also states that society must “create space” for everyone. He is saying that society does not have to adopt the traditions and beliefs of immigrants; we just need to accept that they are present and we must share the community with those of other cultures. It may cause problems if we are forced to make room for immigrants because not everyone believes in the traditions of other cultures. Those who have strong nationalistic beliefs usually have the most conflict.
One who takes pride in the traditions of their country may not agree with an immigrants view. This can lead to corruption in a community. In the source “The Stasi Report” there is a scenario that displays the negative effects on a society by different cultural views. The source states, “wearing this symbol of their religious affiliation disrupted instruction and violated the cherished French principle of secularity.”7 This is a key example in showing how people cannot simply “make room” for those of different cultures because not everyone in a community agrees with their tradition and beliefs.
The text “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration” states that as Hispanic and Asian immigrants improve their economic well being, they tend to move to better areas. Where African Americans “even is the have higher economic status- have continued to live in segregated neighborhoods.”8 This can show that there is a cause in discrimination against certain groups because of their choice to segregate themselves. As they segregate themselves it causes a barrier with other ethnic groups. But as the new generations form, there is less segregation. Immigration is a leading problem in the segregation by choice.
Not all opinions in an economical standpoint on immigration are negative. In source 98, Roy Beck states that that there are people who benefit from immigrants. He states the people that benefits are “business owners who have followed a low-wage labor strategy. Land developers, real estate agents, home mortgage officials, and others who tend to profit from population growth are winners.”9 This is stating that with the mass amounts of new immigrants, there is a large demand for housing. All of the jobs Beck lists are jobs that benefit from larger populations. In the text “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration” there is proof that there can be benefits from immigration.
The text states “Immigration increases the supply of labor in the economy. More labor means more goods and services being produced so that national output rises.”10(137) The author is saying that goods can be produced more cost efficiently because the immigrants are willing to work at a lower rate than the citizens. When there are low wage labor strategies being implemented it helps the economy because producing products will cost less. Without immigrants offering to work for low wages, there would be a lot less workers in big production companies. With fewer workers there will be a smaller output on goods, which causes the price of goods to increase. Immigrants can affect the economy in positive ways as well.
Socially immigrants have positive influence in a community. In source 99, Scheffer states that multiculturalists have a viewpoint that “immigrants enriched and strengthened society.”11 Immigrants have had many cultural influences that citizens have adopted. For example in the United States there has been an accumulation of different types of food, music, dancing, and many more things. These influences have been significant parts of most of our everyday lives. Immigrants bring education and talent to America. In the text “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration” there is reference to the many awards that immigrants have received in the United States.
The text states that “the percentage of U.S. prizewinners who are immigrants includes 26 percent for chemistry, 32 percent for physics 31 percent for physiology or medicine, 31 percent for economics, and, perhaps surprisingly, 27 percent for literature.”12 This shows that there should be no stereotypes in society against immigrants because many have achieved greatness in this country.
There are many influences on countries immigrants have settled in. Immigrants provide benefits and disadvantages to cultures and economies. Immigrants cause competition for jobs with many citizens; they also cause conflict with those who do not agree with their culture. They also have positive influences, they provide low costing labor rates, and they help provide cultural diffusion that allows us to be more diverse as humans. Depending on the way one looks at the influences, they may have a complete different opinion than someone else on how immigrants affect a community or on a larger scale, a whole country.