Immigrating to America contains a unique set of circumstances that are individual to each person and their home country of origin. In an effort to better understand these migration patterns it is useful to analyze the specific cases of immigration. The purpose of this essay is to examine the policies regarding immigration on three different countries. The three countries in question are Mexico, China and India. The essay will compare and contrast each country as they are described. In these descriptions the essay will argue for reasons as to why citizens of these countries are motivated to immigrate to America. Also included in this analysis will be the reaction from the collective forces of America and the specific impact that each country's immigrants create and sustain. Finally, a brief overview of how immigration effects the economy of the hosting America and whether it is necessary to enforce or create new immigration laws to regulate this phenomenon.
Mexican immigration trends have shifted in recent years causing new ways of analyzing their effect on America. Preston (2012) reported that "for the first time in at least two decades, the population of illegal immigrants from Mexico living in this country significantly decreased. In 2011, about 6.1 million Mexicans were living here illegally, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007." Legal immigration from Mexico has also decreased as well as this is being discovered as a new trend.
Even though less Mexicans are crossing the border, it does not mean that their influence is not felt. Immigration affects many generations that follow the actual move. In America, the law that provides citizenship to any child born within the borders of America allows many illegal immigrants to instantly legalize their children as natural born citizens. Using this understanding it is very beneficial, from a racial or ethnic point-of-view, for Mexican immigrants to have children while living in the United States, illegally or not.
There appears to be little to no advantage for Mexican's to document their migration status and become in line with American federal policies. Passel (2004) made the point clear when he reported that "migration from Mexico to the United States has accelerated rapidly to the point where about nine percent of the population born in Mexico is now living in the United States. While a large majority (around 80%) of all newly arrived immigrants from Mexico are undocumented, only about half of all Mexicans in the United States are undocumented." While these statistics are important to help contextualize the issue, it leaves some question about how the documentation process works and the means in which immigrants are classified into these categories.
Mexican immigrants present interesting economic debates that put certain past preconceptions under question. Many Mexican immigrants will work very hard doing laborious tasks for cheaper labor rates than many native born Americans. This discrepancy in pay has created a market for Mexican-specific labor pools within large urban areas. Many Mexican immigrants flock to these large cities for many protective reasons.
In places like Los Angeles and Chicago immigration systems are in constant operation providing labor opportunities to Mexicans used to a lower standard of living. To some this may seem unfair, but America was built by immigrants, and the native people that these immigrants dishonorably removed with violence and war are ancestors to many of the Mexicans. In some ways this is a cycle come full circle as the more native and seemingly primitive culture is invading a civilized European-bred society that United States has become on some level.
New legislation dealing with Mexican immigration usually deals with the issue of securing the border with Mexico. While this strategy has failed at many levels, its symbolic allegiance to the letter of the law must still be presented to the world out of self-respect for its own rules. Immigration amnesty appears to be the best and most just way of correcting some of the discrepancies within the law and reality. Citizenship for many Mexicans is not advantageous as it used to be due to increasing taxes and a slow growing quality of life America has experienced in the past five years. Eventually the economy will bloom again and the Mexican immigrants will receive their fair contributions towards this re-growth with newer and larger opportunities to enter a more diverse, but mainstream segment of the population.
The history of the Chinese immigration story is quite different from that of the Mexican in some ways but also very similar in other ways. The Chinese immigrant has been coming over to America since the middle of the 19th century for economic advancement and adventure. The issue of Chinese immigration from that starting point to now in current times has changed quite drastically. In a twist of events, today's American landscape has been immigrating towards China as seen in the corporate development that has sprung there in the last two decades.
The United States currently contains nearly 2 million Chinese immigrants and is the fourth largest immigration group in America. Since the history of Chinese immigration dates back to over one hundred and fifty years, there are almost as many native born U.S. citizens who claim Chinese ancestry as there are Chinese immigrants. American culture has assimilated both Mexican and Chinese culture into their own, and along with others, creating a unique swirl of a new flavor of ethnicity. Both the inclusions of Chinese foods and Mexican foods within American diets supports the breadth of this infusion.
According to Terrazas (2010), over half of the Chinese born in America resided in California and New York. He also claimed that "on average, Chinese immigrants were older than other immigrant groups in the United States. Of the Chinese immigrants residing in the United States in 2008, 7.7% were minors (under age 18), 62.5% were adults of working age (between 18 and 54), and 29.8% were seniors (age 55 and older)." This age difference contributes to the goals and aims of these types of immigrants. Chinese immigrants appear to have more eligible workers amongst their immigrants making them welcome in most communities. This would also speak to their overall success in assimilation.
Unfortunately times were not always this good for Chinese immigration and caused many social problems that contributed to America's growing pains in the are aof race relations and human rights. In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which stopped all immigration originating from China for ten years. This act also required that every Chinese person traveling must carry identification that certified their status as a laborer, scholar, diplomat or merchant. Taken in today's context this could be considered an classic case of civil rights abuse. America was not built on fairness in many instances and the Chinese suffered discrimination at a very appalling level.
Chinese immigrants did not lay low and take this discrimination without a struggle. In 1905 many Chinese merchants organized a boycott after the Exclusion act received another ten-year extension. President Teddy Roosevelt soon squashed this boycott and further alienated relations with both the immigrants and China as a nation. The Chinese Exclusion Acts which called for the blatant discrimination on citizens of Chinese descent did not get repealed until 1943.
Mexican and Chinese immigrant populations are similar in that they both are highly concentrated populations. Immigrants tend to gather in large urban scenarios as this presents the best way to assimilate into American culture. As a result more rural and distant communities, due to a lack of exposure, are more inclined to fear foreign cultures and a xenophobic culture can periodically arise in certain contained areas of the country. This is not unique to any specific culture as the waning European-American traditions of the past are quickly morphing into new cultural combinations that include Mexican and Chinese influences.
According to some reports there are nearly 1.5 million Indian immigrants living in the United States making them the fourth largest group behind Mexicans, Chinese and Filipino. Like the Mexican and Chinese immigration populations, the Indian immigrants also form in high density areas. More than half of Indian immigrants live in just five states.
Indian immigrants are typically more educated than other populations of immigrants and make significant contributions to the labor force. Nearly 75% of all Indian foreign born adults had earned a bachelor's or higher degree. Illegal immigration does not seem to a problem as the legal issues are impossible to ignore in both the Chinese and Mexican cases. No acts of congress have been implemented to keep Indian born immigrants out of the country. This cultural welcoming suggests that whatever attitudes that have motivated these immigrants to come over to America is very appealing to the institutions that create such rules and regulations that affect immigration.
Indian immigrants are different in many ways from the other segments of the population discussed in this essay to this point. Lahiri (2012) suggested that these differences are social in nature. He declared that "the Indians…