Several factors that prevent the development of effective strategic decisions in this area influence the U.S. immigration policy. Such factors include the influence of changeable public attitudes, misunderstanding of the social and economic nature of immigration, and the established practice of favoring the country’s indigenous population to the detriment of visiting foreigners. There are several reasons for immigration to the United States: social networks that promote migration, the lack of jobs in the homeland of immigrants, and the need for cheap labor in the American economy. Immigration has a significant impact on the economic and social life of the United States.
Prerequisites for Immigration
From the very moment of its formation, the United States of America has been interested in immigrants. European missionaries have built this country, so America has become a universal source of natural resources, wealth, and work. For most of U.S. history, immigration has been a significant source of population growth and cultural change (Abramitzky & Boustan, 2017). The problem of immigration to the United States, both legal and illegal, is highly complex. The relatively prosperous state of the American economy currently allows it to attract more foreign workers, regardless of those who are afraid of losing their jobs because of immigrants.
Indeed, representatives of the business community are demanding new economic and political measures to replenish the labor market. Mexican workers are granted temporary permits to work in the United States in the service sector (McCorkle, 2018). They are needed in the hotel business, in agriculture, in the service sector of penitentiary institutions. To summarize, it is possible to say that during periods of economic stability, politicians more radically solve issues related to immigration.
Many illegal immigrants become such precisely due to the presence of an expired visa, according to which they entered as tourists during the validity period. Migration from Mexico to the United States attracts a lot of attention from all American services. Another problem of the development of illegal migration in the United States is the high cost of expelling persons staying in the country illegally. Official statistics show that the main reason for migration to the United States is the wealth and developed level of the country. According to sociologists, it is here that people from different countries of the world strive to find the most acceptable conditions for their lives.
Consequences of Immigration
As a result of the expansion of trade and the liberalization of legislation, the ties between Mexico and the border states have become much closer. The development of the American economic presence has led to millions of Mexicans, who were not affected by financial restructuring, wanted to move to the United States (Reny, 2017). The social and economic consequences of such demographic changes have been documented and may be unexpected for the general public. Thus, studies have shown that the very participation of immigrants in the country’s economy leads to an increase in tax revenues at the federal and local levels and a rise in consumer spending.
In addition, immigrants create jobs for Americans and do not cause an increase in unemployment. Estimates of the economic consequences of immigration are pretty contradictory. The financial “return” of second-wave immigrants is decreasing, mainly due to a decrease in their average qualification level. It delays wage growth and creates a severe burden on the labor market, financial systems, and social services of the leading states regarding the number of immigrants. And yet, in the long term, immigration will continue to play a significant role both as a factor of population growth and as a stimulator of economic activity. It provides the economy with low-paid labor and highly qualified specialists, which means significant savings on their training.
The large-scale rates of immigration that have been observed in recent decades and which are expected soon are noticeably changing the racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population. Minorities are increasingly increasing their presence in the country while preserving their language, culture, and traditions, which will also affect the change in the confessional structure of society (Tucker, 2019). It is already becoming evident that Christian immigrants are decreasing, unlike Muslims and Hindus, whose community is gradually increasing. Undoubtedly, such changes lead to an increase in unrest among the white Christian population. It is believed that representatives of the confessions mentioned above, especially Muslims, can enter the country under the guise of refugees and spread extremist views.
The Impact of Immigration on the United States
Nevertheless, there is no denying that, as already mentioned, immigrants also have a positive impact on various public institutions in the United States. For example, the business community increasingly relies on Latinos as entrepreneurs, employees, investors, and consumers. The higher education system is increasingly targeting Asians as potential students and teachers. Immigrants are playing an increasingly important role in the election process, both as voters and as candidates for political office (Mayda et al., 2018). In addition, the healthcare system is increasingly considering people who have recently arrived in the United States as recipients and providers of medical services. Religious institutions also see immigrants as their potential supporters and even leaders. Thus, immigrants and their descendants will stimulate the growth of the US population over the next half-century, turning this country into a place where no racial or ethnic group will be in the absolute majority.
In general, three main factors primarily determine the importance of immigration:
- The influx of highly qualified specialists is easing the burden on the United States’ educational system and reducing the cost of their training.
- The influx of low-skilled and low-paid labor ensures the filling of unattractive jobs for Americans and reduces production costs and prices, especially in construction, agriculture, and services.
- Large-scale training of international students in American universities allows the selection of the best personnel to provide them with work and residence in the United States. This training enables stimulating the formation of carriers of a new political culture and ideology among those who will then return home.
The latter aspect of immigration is essential because it expands American political, economic, and cultural influence in emigration countries. Immigration is also crucial in changing the demographic structure of the population because the American people are aging noticeably, although not as fast as it is happening in Europe. Immigration from Latin America contributes to economic stabilization in States south of the United States.
It is necessary to look for new forms of immigration policy. On the one hand, immigration carries a huge positive charge. On the other hand, it is practically impossible to stop the flow of illegal immigrants democratically, mainly when a relatively prosperous country borders on much poorer and labor-surplus states. This process, stimulated by both market and technological factors, leads to the intensification of the international movement of goods and services and labor. Along with changes in the attitude of the world community to human rights and state sovereignty, this process forces many countries, including the United States, to reconsider their views on migration and methods of migration policy.
Abramitzky, R., & Boustan, L. (2017). Immigration in American economic history. Journal of economic literature, 55(4), 1311-45. doi: 10.1257/jel.20151189
Mayda, A. M., Peri, G., & Steingress, W. (2018). The political impact of immigration: Evidence from the United States (No. w24510). National Bureau of Economic Research.
McCorkle, W. D. (2018). Using history to inform the modern immigration debate in the United States. Journal of International Social Studies, 8(1), 149-167.
Reny, T. (2017). Demographic change, Latino countermobilization, and the politics of immigration in US senate campaigns. Political Research Quarterly, 70(4), 735-748.
Tucker, R. W. (2019). Immigration and US foreign policy. Routledge.