Conflict Theory on Immigration

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The base of The Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” –Emma Lazarus, 1883. This has established the base of The United States of America. Not only does this enforce ideals such as freedom of religion, but also equality of race and ethnicity. As a country formed on such ideals that support immigration, it would be hypocritical to turn against accepting others.

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The reasons many have immigrated to the “land of opportunity” or America, are simple, the country offered jobs, land, and freedom. A place where anyone can come with an equal chance to make a home for themselves. Not only this, but America offers new job opportunities that allow foreigners the ability to flourish. In today’s age, with no clear immigration enforcement, that is not so certain. Not everyone is welcome to the United States anymore. This issue affects immigrants coming from unstable countries, mainly Mexico. “Other immigrants are coming from are India, China, and Cuba” (Lopez). The issue most people have with immigration is the sense that it is overpopulating the country, people are taking advantage of resources and others are creating an upset in wages. As a country which originated solely through immigration, it is hypocritical of America to stop accepting others. In addition to this, American values that citizens take pride in- such as equality and opportunity- will be abandoned if immigration secedes. To act so hypocritically as a country, America would lose dignity in not standing behind its original values (McConnell). Immigrants should be given a more efficient guest worker program so we are able to properly and legally manage foreign workers that come into the country.

During the 19th century, most immigrants came from Europe. Throughout the years, there have been waves of different people moving to the United States, such as the Irish and Chinese in the mid 19th century. Following the Spanish-American war, mass controversy concerning American borders arose. More recently, immigrants traveling to the United States mostly come from India, Mexico, China, and Cuba. The Rule of Naturalization, created in 1970, allowed ‘any alien, being a free white person’ and ‘of good character’ who had resided in the United States for two years to become a ‘citizen of the United States’ by taking an oath in court ‘to support the constitution of the United States” (Salvato, 7). This law is a social contract, in theory, that is an agreement of individuals to live under a certain government that will make and enforce the laws. As our country expanded, groups of people were naturalized as a result of land given up. Legislation was passed that denied entry to anyone with diseases, crimes and many other specific criteria. “The 1924 Immigration Act was more restrictive, allowing around 150,000 to enter the United States. Those of Anglo-Saxon origin made up over two-thirds of the quota and no Japanese were allowed entry (as had been true of the Chinese since 1880). Those of Southern or Eastern European origin were extremely limited. (Salvato, 13). In 2004, President Bush proposed a temporary guest-worker program in which, ‘Immigrants willing to work in jobs for which U.S. workers are scarce may be granted a three-year work visa, which could be renewed once for an additional three years. After those six years, the workers would be required to return home.’ (Salvato, 29). This promoted a larger and stronger workforce, while at the same time helping new immigrants make a living. In addition to this, Bush’s statement supported more immigration into The United States of America.

One reason immigration is such a focal point in our elections and even on everyday’s news channels is because of its effects on the entirety of America, not just the immigrants. Mass immigration changes the workforce, economy, and diversity of a country. Unsurprisingly, in America specifically, the migrant count is significantly higher than other countries; “Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2016“ (Lopez). This is not dubious considering that America was formed by immigrants, for immigrants. However, immigrant families also suffer not only in adapting to a new country and culture but the economy. Societal traditions are less accepted, which ostracizes migrant families from other Americans. Living situations are too often less than ideal, being unsupportive by in ideal paychecks; “One might conceive of this as a stable system–after all, there are many jobs for low-skilled immigrants. But of course immigrants have children, at rates far higher than the native-born, and the children of lower-skilled immigrants make up a continually growing share of Americans at or near the poverty level” (Aguilar). Both Immigrants and former Americans are affected through immigration, seeing as the economy changes and the workforce cannot always support such importation, although that does not conclude that immigrants do not also boost the workforce as well.

The immigration questions raised during recent elections have raised controversy. Jeff Faux, a writer for The Gale Encyclopedia, notes that different parties propose alternate solutions. For one, Republicans advocate for deportation of illegal immigrants. On the other hand, Faux says, “In contrast, the Democratic bumper-sticker solution to illegal immigration is to legalize those who are here. This is certainly a sensible proposal since wholesale deportation is impractical. But it doesn’t deal with the future.” This has led some Democrats such as Ted Kennedy to endorse “guest worker” proposals, but most oppose these legislations. The sharp contrast of plans helps an everyday news-watcher better understand the uncertainty of a complete immigration solution. Sooner or later, the United States will have to join with Mexico and put in the serious effort needed to control illegal immigration. As the continuous war for a clear answer wages on, political parties blame the other for the lack of success. However, oppositions of this theory propose that the Mexican government could be supporting citizens to migrate. In regards to this, Faux states, “‘If the Americans seal off the border,’ the wife of a high-ranking Mexican official told me at a dinner recently, ‘there will be a revolution here.’’ Faux later alludes to the official that Mexico is, in fact, supporting illegal immigration; the official failed to respond. The surplus of failed governmental immigration tactics display the extent of controversy surrounding the issue of immigration.

The part of the immigration system that needs to be focused on would be the guest worker programs. A guest worker program such as The Red Card solution, introduced by Helen Krieble in 2010, would allow immigrants the opportunity to come to the United States for work. “Rather than debating how many workers an artificial quota should allow, Republicans should reclaim the high ground and create a dynamic, market-based guest-worker program, which, in the end, is a uniquely conservative proposal” (Aguilar). This type of program would fill the need for foreign workers and discourage illegal immigration. Low-skilled guest workers do not earn enough to be net taxpayers, yet they qualify for benefits in many states. If guest workers obtain green cards, they will qualify for all federal programs, such as Social Security and Medicare (Talking Points). The program would help the government focus more on major issues such as security threats, trafficking, and terrorist threats. Having a legitimate and supported program such as this would have many benefits and hopefully strengthen the two countries ties with each other.    

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Conflict Theory On Immigration. (2021, Jul 01). Retrieved July 1, 2022 , from
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