Future Legal Immigration to the United States

Social Movements

Illegal residents’ mistreatment in the US is a widely underreported human rights concern. Due to their immigration status, the vast numbers or more undocumented immigrants residing in the country are denied fundamental labor rights, movement, education, and public services. Immigrants working in low-wage sectors, including agricultural work, hotels, restaurants, and cleaning services, are exposed to labor exploitation and live in constant fear of being dismissed or deported. In the US, a robust social movement has been formed to shield these immigrants from persecution and numerous examples of overly harsh immigration policies, as well as to campaign for reform that could give undocumented immigrants a road to citizenship.

Since the previous round of immigration legislation in the 1980s, the organization has expanded and proved its strength via a series of rallies and peaceful activities that have captivated national media coverage since 2004. Anti-immigration laws introduced by the Republican-controlled Congress in the US House of Representatives sparked a surge in movement activities in the spring of 2006. If this bill had passed the Senate and become law, it would have enhanced enforcement of harsh immigration policies, reduced social assistance and academic possibilities for illegal immigrants, and penalized service providers that helped them (Bolter, 2022). About two million individuals came to the streets in several of the greatest mass protests in American history to oppose the measure.

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A number of media reports state that over a million people marched for miles in the greatest demonstration in the history of Los Angeles. Students staged strikes in which tens of thousands of students walked out of high schools and colleges to express their dissatisfaction with immigration policies. Millions of others also took part in a one-day walkout, refusing to go to work, school, or shop in stores as part of a larger strike attempt. The Bush Administration’s continuous oppressive action against immigrant populations, including workplace raids, workplace verification, and municipal enforcement agreements, resulted in a substantial change in voting trends amongst Latinos in the US.

During the presidency of Obama, the immigration sphere was regulated by presidential executive orders. Thus, in 2012, according to a presidential decree, the deportation of children who entered illegally with their parents was not allowed for two years. In November 2014, by presidential decree, the deferment of children from deportation was extended for another three years. Immigration has become one of the main topics of President Donald Trump’s election promises. They came down to all sorts of bans on entry into the United States, including a ban on the entry of Muslims, an increase in the number of border guards, and the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico (Jawets, 2019). Since his election, Trump has issued several executive orders, including banning citizens from seven countries – Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela – from entering the country.

In 2018, Congress attempted to pass new legislation that would preserve B. Obama’s decision to ban the deportation of children. According to it, more than 2 million illegal migrants were subject to amnesty, but the law was not adopted. In his election program, the new president, Biden, gave a significant place to the problems of immigration. After his election, he canceled the decrees adopted by Trump banning citizens of a number of Muslim and African countries from entering the United States. In 2021, he instructed the Domestic Policy Council to develop a naturalization program and restore confidence in the legal immigration system (Krogstat & Gonzalez-Barrera, 2022).

The construction of a wall on the border with Mexico was also canceled. A working group was set up to deal with the problem of the reunification of children of immigrants separated from their parents. Another initiative of Biden is to increase the quota for refugees from 22.4 thousand to 125 thousand people a year. The proposed Citizenship Act would modernize the country’s entire immigration system.

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In the American political arena, there are different views, approaches, positions regarding the future of legal immigration to the United States. If some argue that Americans should remain a nation of immigrants, then others are sure that the level of legal immigration should be minimized, and illegal should be fought. Underlying these approaches are vastly different concepts of American national unity and nationhood. Disputes also continue about whether immigration is an economic boom and a condition for socio-economic growth or, conversely, a heavy economic burden, contributing to the preservation and expansion of welfare.

If some American conservatives consider the USA as a “universal nation” open to all who share certain political and philosophical principles, then another part of them believe that the American nation is united around a certain ethnic culture-historical tradition (Felter, et al., 2021). Recently, arguments from the ethnocultural field have increasingly been present in the disputes of conservatives on the immigration issue.

The economy class immigration policy speaks of the goal of increasing the number of foreigners who can contribute to the socio-economic, political, scientific, and cultural development of the country. The admission of outstanding scientists ensures scientific and technological progress and affects the growth in the number of patents registered in the United States. The influx of investors has a positive effect on economic development, increasing the number of jobs for US citizens and lowering the unemployment rate. This method, based on the preference of immigrants who contribute to all-around progress, makes it possible to use immigration as one of the development resources.

Sociological Theory

In the end, it should be noted that immigrant affairs may be viewed from the perspective of structural functionalism. According to the latter, “the institutions, relationships, roles, and norms that together constitute a society serves a purpose, and each is indispensable for the continued existence of the others and of society as a whole” (Britannica, 2022, para. 1). It was said that immigrants – if approached properly – can serve as a significant element of the US economic development, bringing benefits to society.

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References

Bolter, J. (2022). Immigration has been a defining, often contentious, element throughout U.S. history. Migration Policy Institute. Web.

Britannica. (2022). Structural functionalism. Web.

Felter, C., Renwick, D., & Cheatham, A. (2021). The U.S. immigration debate. Council on Foreign Relations. Web.

Jawets, T. (2019). Restoring the rule of law through a fair, humane, and workable immigration system. CAP. Web.

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Krogstat, J. M., & Gonzalez-Barrera, A. (2022). Key facts about U.S. immigration policies and Biden’s proposed changes. Pew Research Center. Web.

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