Immigration the United States Is Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Even European immigrants experienced discrimination in the 19th century. As Vellos (1997) points out, "American society did not accept the Irish Catholics and Germans, and movements to limit immigration began to form." The Chinese Exclusion Act established anti-Asian sentiments and was not repealed until as late as 1943. For the first time in American history, immigration was "seen as a threat to the United States economy, and Congress began expanding the list of 'undesirable classes' hoping to upgrade the quality of immigrants and to limit overall entry," (Vellos 1997).

In spite of having to live in squalid inner city tenement buildings, new waves of immigrants relished the idea of the American Dream. The American Dream provides the ideological and psychological incentive for new immigrants to a pursue a path of upward social mobility. Upward social mobility was most likely unavailable in the home country, whereas the United States has been portrayed as the "land of opportunity." In some cases, immigrants to the United States escaped dire poverty. In other cases, immigrants to the United States were college graduates and white collar professionals who contended with an overly competitive labor market. In any case, the American Dream promised immigrants the possibility of self-employment or viable work that would enable financial stability. Moreover, the American Dream promised freedom and liberty. Political and economic motivations have continually driven the American immigrant experience, especially since Ellis Island. The United States government continues to peddle the myth of the American Dream. For example, Washington recently claimed that "Immigrants to the United States continue to find a land of opportunity both for themselves and for their children," (Thomas 2007). While many immigrants do find fulfillment in accordance with the American Dream, many do not.

The American government is fully in charge of which immigrants qualify for residence status. Doors have opened or closed in response mainly to labor market needs. In 1990, a reformed Immigration Act increased the overall quota for immigrants to the United States (Center for Immigration Studies). However, "newly enacted immigration legislation has been motivated by rising anti-immigrant sentiments in the United States," (Vellos 1997). Anti-immigrant sentiments are as old as the American Dream; both discrimination and false hope unite immigrants regardless of their personal backgrounds.

Reference

"A Historical Look at U.S. Immigration Policy." (1995). Retrieved online: http://web.missouri.edu/~brente/immigr.htm

Center for Immigration Studies (n.d.). Immigration history. Retrieved online: http://www.cis.org/ImmigrationHistory

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (2010). U.S. Population and Immigration Data, Projections and Graphs. Retrieved online: http://www.cairco.org/data/data_us.html

Diner, H. (2008). Immigration and U.S. History. America.gov. Retrieved online: http://www.america.gov/st/peopleplace-english/2008/February/20080307112004ebyessedo0.1716272.html

"The History of Ellis Island." Retrieved online: http://library.thinkquest.org/20619/Eihist.html

Thomas, J. (2007). American Dream Still Alive and Well for Immigrants, Report Says. America.gov. Retrieved online: http://www.america.gov/st/peopleplace-english/2007/July/200707261445221CJsamohT0.1857721.html

Vellos, D. (1997). A History of Immigration Law Regarding People of Color. A History of Immigration. Retrieved online: http://academic.udayton.edu/race/02rights/immigr01.htm

Sources Used in Document:

Reference

"A Historical Look at U.S. Immigration Policy." (1995). Retrieved online: http://web.missouri.edu/~brente/immigr.htm

Center for Immigration Studies (n.d.). Immigration history. Retrieved online: http://www.cis.org/ImmigrationHistory

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (2010). U.S. Population and Immigration Data, Projections and Graphs. Retrieved online: http://www.cairco.org/data/data_us.html

Diner, H. (2008). Immigration and U.S. History. America.gov. Retrieved online: http://www.america.gov/st/peopleplace-english/2008/February/20080307112004ebyessedo0.1716272.html

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