Immigration Essay

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In this Immigration essay, we will offer some sample titles, topics, an outline, and structure that you can use to improve your writing. The start of any good essay is an interesting topic statement followed by a succinct and descriptive thesis statement. The Thesis statement acts as the direction from which a reader takes when examining the body and conclusion. Body paragraphs should include a background on the topic and sub topics addressing each part of the thesis statement. The conclusion is a brief recap of what was covered.


Immigration in the United States

Past and Present Immigration Patterns in the United States

Lost and Found: Immigration in the United States

Selected Title: The Birth of a Nation: Immigration


History of Immigration

Immigration Patterns in the United States

Contemporary Immigration

Effects of Immigration


I.  Introduction

II.  Body

     1. Background  

     2. Immigration Patterns

     3. Social: Effects of Illegal Immigration

     4. Political: Trump’s Stand Against Illegals

III.  Conclusion


Immigration to the United States dates all the way back to the 1500’s with Roanoke Island and continued with British colonists, leading up to the South American, Central American, and Mexican waves of immigration that make up most immigration patterns today. Although the waves of immigration have changed throughout the history of the country, most of the same problems occur. From assimilation to a new country, to social pressures, and political reforms, being an immigrant in the United States bring problems. This may be due to how immigrants are seen and the potential effects immigration causes to the American economy.

Essay Hook:

Immigration is a hot-button issue in the United States and always has been since its formation.

Thesis Statement

This essay will cover the roots of American immigration, patterns of immigration, social and political effects of illegal immigration, and the current handling of illegal immigrants by current President, Donald Trump.



Most of the early immigrants to the United States came from Great Britain. Information from the 1980’s United States Census shares that over 49 million Americans or 26.34% of the population claim English ancestry. Such statistics place British Americans as the biggest American ethnic group (Barkan, 2013). The reason why so many British people came to the then colonies was for religious freedom. Some felt persecuted in Great Britain for their religious beliefs and sought out a fresh start elsewhere. They saw the American colonies to begin anew and practice their beliefs without fear or worry (Barkan, 2013).

So many come to the United States now to escape persecution. It is interesting to see how the roots of immigration began with the same sentiments and notion. Although early waves of immigration began with Great Britain, it wasn’t until Roanoke that colonization efforts truly took hold. One of the earlier attempts at immigration, Roanoke, marked the beginning of colonization efforts. “Soon after the failed attempt to colonize Roanoke in 1585, the commercial classes and merchant companies used their growing political voice to promote immigration to America” (Barkan, 2013, p. 19). Companies like the Virginia Company as well as the Massachusetts Bay Company allowed for early colonists to voyage to North America and establish the first permanent English settlements. These settlements then attracted more immigrants, keeping the flow of immigration consistent for centuries. “These business-minded, entrepreneurial, profit-seeking colonies proved suitable for the American environment and perhaps set much of the tone for American culture” (Barkan, 2013, p. 19).

So, what began as a potential business venture, allowed for the expansion and continued growth of the American colonies. These colonies would then rebel against its mother country (Great Britain), and begin the American Revolution. The American Revolution heralded the birth of the United States Constitution and the country it formed thereafter. It also brought changes in immigration patterns that would represent the growing changes of each era in the United States. These eras began with ethnic diversity, then halted, and began again, showing the differences in policy with each change.

Immigration Patterns

Before the American Revolution, the North American colonies experienced a great diversity of immigrants. “…and a number of those communities- German, Dutch, Swedish, Irish Protestants, and the other British, along with the extensive population of Africans- set the stage for the accommodation and acceptance of some populations…” (Barkan, 2013, p. 4). After the American Revolution, immigration to America became limited. This was due to the politics of the Napoleonic Wars (Powell, 2008). 

These limitations prompted some groups to move to Canada. “The immigration of Scots from Scotland itself was redirected to Canada after the American Revolution. By the time the first Canadian census in 1871, Scots totaled 26 percent of the population, compared to 24 percent Irish and 20 percent English” (Powell, 2008, p. 265). What immigrants did make it to the United States were majority British and German. Although some Chinese immigrants made it to the United States thanks to railroad work, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act restricted immigration from China. It was not until the opening of Ellis Island in 1892 that the country saw a greater influx of immigrants. This is because prior to Ellis Island, individual states regulated immigration, creating even tougher hurdles for immigrants of the time (Powell, 2008).

While Ellis Island made it easier for immigrants from Italy, Poland, and Ireland to come to the United States, the Chinese immigrants were excluded for over sixty years from 1882 to 1943. The act showed the level of racial tension in the United States and acted a precursor to future racial tensions in the country because of immigration. The United has had a long history of racial tension. Racial tension that sparked political and social action.

Beginning with the first Africans that were captured and put to work as slaves in the colonies, institutionalized racism remained a dark part of American politics and society for centuries. Americans saw Africans as property and resented the wave of Chinese immigrants that came for the promise of work in gold-rich California. The resentment of these new immigrants became so strong that during the 1850’s, an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant political party formed to severely curb immigration. They succeeded in putting a presidential candidate up for election in 1956 (Millard Filmore) and were able to dominate the political climate of Massachusetts, generating a formidable power there. “Their most spectacular triumph was achieved in Massachusetts. In their very first election, Massachusetts Know-Nothings won the governorship and all state offices, every sear in the state senate, and all but 2 out of the 378 seats in the house of representatives” (Reichley, 2010, p. 188). 

The Know-Nothings were able to plant the seeds from which the Exclusion Act developed and would take decades to break. The Chinese suffered racial injustice and continued restrictions for decades to come. It was not until 1965 that the United States began welcoming new immigrants from Asia and Latin America, sparking the kinds of immigration patterns seen today. The quota system that favored the inclusion of European immigrants to America, ended in 1965 and with it, came migration from Mexico and countries in Central and South America. These immigrants sparked a wave of illegal immigration that would set the stage for the effects felt and culminating during the 2016 presidential election.

Social: Effects of Illegal Immigration

To understand the negative sentiments associated with illegal immigrants, it is important to understand where they come from and how many come from each country. This can perhaps paint a picture of the illegal immigrant and why their presence may bother some American citizens. The main source of undocumented immigrants come from Mexico with an estimated 6.2 million. Guatemala has 723,000 illegal immigrants in the United States. El Salvador comes in at 465,000 and Honduras at 337,000. Other countries with a substantial number of illegal immigrants are China (268,000), India (267,000), Korea (198,000), and the rest (2.1 million) come from other countries (Yee, Davis, & Patel, 2017).

Because so many Mexicans are undocumented immigrants, the stereotypical image of the illegal immigrant is Mexican. Add to that the potential addition of criminals as part of the undocumented immigrant population, and it yields another layer of negative association to the stereotype. “The Migration Policy Institute has estimated that 820,000 of the 11 million unauthorized have been convicted of a crime. About 300,000, or less than 3 percent of the 11 million undocumented, have committed felonies” (Yee, Davis, & Patel, 2017). Criminal activity is associated with illegal immigrants. They managed to sneak into the country illegally and may be capable of other crimes. Many Americans that want illegal immigrants deported, note the identity theft crimes that illegal immigrants participate in each year. “The Social Security Administration estimated that in 2010, 1.8 million undocumented immigrants worked under a number that did not match…

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