Immigration Policies Affecting the Success of Immigrants in United States and Canada

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 15
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Study level: PhD


Immigration is the act of moving from one’s country of birth to another country to settle. Immigration is a great economic aspect that helps in filling openings in the labor market and increasing economic growth in the host countries. Although locals would feel threatened that the skilled immigrants would take away their jobs, immigration plays a great role in meeting regional needs, increasing trade flows, and generating fiscal benefits to the nation (Hum and Wayne 46). Canada and the United States have always employed strategies to attract talented people across the globe to migrate into their nations and contribute to their economic growth. The United States is a first class nation, and almost everyone would want to be associated with it. The contestable labor market in the United States, the vast job opportunities, and its custom of accommodating immigrants attracts talented people from all over the world. It is noteworthy that most people who go to the United States are highly educated. Similarly, Canada struggles to have extemporary immigration policies to tap talent. Its multiculturalism immigrant policy attracts many individuals who do not have to worry about adopting new cultures. In fact, 20% of the Canadian residents are not nationalities by birth, but they reside in the country comfortably given its multicultural tradition.

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However, in spite of all the positive images attracting immigrants into the two nations, the well-being of the immigrants is questionable. Both the immigrant assimilation policy in the United States and the multiculturalism policy in Canada have some effects on the success of the immigrants. Indeed, there is a deficit in the actual effectiveness of the immigration policies. The unchanging public attitudes towards the immigrants prevent real improvements from occurring. Despite the difference in the immigration policies in Canada and the United States, the immigrants are susceptible to earning suboptimal income, which affects their living standards of living. This paper will explore the differences and similarities of the United States and Canada immigration policies, analyze the problems associated with the immigration policies, and identify the possible approaches to address the problems.

Similar characteristics of the immigration policies in the two states

Similar history of racism

The United States has a brutal history of racism that prevented the Blacks from assessing certain rights. The African Americans had different behaviors from those of the Whites, as they had inadequate rights to address their economic and political rights. In America, the Whites could trade and own Black slaves. The Whites could mistreat and degrade salves by denying them enough food and overworking them in the farms. The brutalism was extremely inhuman, as the Whites could manslaughter the Blacks who could not withstand the harsh treatments. Slave trade prevailed in America for decades. The Whites could kidnap the Blacks and force them into slavery. Just as an individual uses a machine and disposes it after depletion, the Whites could sell off their slaves any time they felt like doing it.

Canada had a similar history of segregating the Blacks from the Whites in the ancient days. Underground railroads were the main passageways for the slaves, who were traveling to their workplaces to do menial jobs just like the slaves in the United States. Even after the wane of the slavery era, racism prevailed since the Blacks had unequal rights as the Whites did. There were disparities in the voting rights, schooling rights, and employment rights among others. The Blacks in the United States and Canada had limited freedom of movement, and everything that they did was limited, restricted, or controlled. The Blacks survived at the mercies of the White-commanders.

Although racism has significantly dropped in the recent past, the African Americans still feel some sense of stereotyping in every aspect of their lives. The White juniors feel insecure as they consider the African boys as aggressive, dangerous, and ill minded. Some of the African Americans, especially the recent immigrants, feel intimidated because they consider the Whites as wealthy and powerful. The most common racism aspect that has existed in the United States since the ancient days is the wicked suspicion of some races. Any Muslim with overgrown beards is suspected to be a terrorist, whereas, strong black men are suspected to be thugs.

High GDP per capita

Of the countries with the highest GDP per capita in the world, the United States ranks second after Norway. Canada is at the eighth position and indeed, the two nations are doing great economically. The income per capita is a great tool for measuring the economic well-being of the citizens in a country. A stable GDP per capita is a good, but insufficient measure of the quality of life that the residents of the nations live. Countries with high GPD per capita generate enough income from its citizens, and it is able to set aside some income for developmental purposes. From an economic point of view, an increase in productive people in a nation increases the GPD per capita. This is one of the reasons that the United States and Canada pecks for talent across the globe. The talented immigrants contribute heavily to the economic development of the two nations. The intelligent minds help in improving technology. Moreover, it is noteworthy that the majority of the immigrants in the United States and Canada work very hard to earn a living. Most of the immigrants do the odd jobs mindlessly as they aim at generating some income to sustain their families. The unprotected United States immigrants’ continue increasing the nation’s GPD per capita in spite of all the difficulties that they face in the foreign land.

Anglo-Saxon based culture

The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) is a common phenomenon in the United States and Canada. WASP comprises of closed groups of high-class people with high financial and social power. The small groups of Protestants obtained their status from their English protestant heritage. The family wealth of such people is enormous and their financial empowerment is extemporary. By default, such people obtain some form of privilege in every aspect of life. Although the WASP culture has waned considerably since the World War II, some elites still portray some arrogance in Canada and United States. The WASPs are still prominent in the Northeast and some parts of Canada. The WASPs take their children to expensive schools and prestigious colleges. The highflying schools and colleges do not offer vacancies to ordinary people as they preserve the positions for specific legacy alumnus. The students in such schools learn the skills, habits, and approaches to ride high in the society. Once students qualify from such colleges, they are connected to work in prominent financial positions, high-flying political positions, or they take the management roles of the eloquent businesses of their parents. With that trend, the Anglo-Saxon culture is not likely to end in the near future.

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Discrimination concerns

Discrimination against the immigrants was a common phenomenon in the United States and Canada in the 1960s. To curb the discrimination issue, the United States came up with the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. The act played a significant role in abolishing discriminatory quota systems and embracing reunion of all the citizens regardless of their basis of citizenship. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act allowed immigrants to gain citizenship after residing for 5 years in America. The Immigration Act was reviewed and improved to triple employment based quotas and continued making pleasant terms and conditions for the H1B Visas. The H1B visa allow United States companies to employ foreigners for six years, and if need be, the foreigners can obtain a green card. Similarly, Canada has employed various strategies to curb discrimination against the immigrants. In 1992, the Modern Immigration Act eliminated all forms of discrimination. The Canadian government pointed out that there was a need to value human capital. In 1976, the immigrants were to get citizenship after 3 years. Currently, it only takes 18 months for an immigrant to obtain citizenship in Canada. The multiculturalism policy also plays a great role in fighting discrimination against the immigrants.

Different characteristics of the immigration policies in the two states

The assimilation policy in the United States

The assimilation policy is the key guide to the United States immigrants. The policy obligates the immigrants to integrate and fit into the American society. Immigrants who successfully integrate with the United States natives are able to succeed in life. They are able to formulate their small communities, strengthen the communities, and build their new lives (Vigdor 5). The United States immigrants assimilate with the American culture and reverse the economic decline aspects in particular areas. The immigrants ought to copy the lifestyles of the local dwellers, breathe new life into the rural communities, urban areas, or even the small towns in which they reside.

From a critical point of view, the immigrants play a critical role in upgrading the United States economy in one way or another. However, there is a deficit in the consideration of the immigrant’s ability to integrate fully into the United States society. Essentially, assimilation necessitates the immigrants to adjust their lives and live according to the lifestyles of the people in the United States. Regardless of how uncomfortable the cultures are, the immigrants have to adopt them. Although different nations have different social aspects, the immigrants have to adjust and interact socially with the native residents on the United States. Regardless of the immigrants’ native languages, they have to find ways of attaining the language proficiency levels of the American natives. The immigrants have to attain and learn to live with the same socioeconomic status of the natives. They have to take part in political matters, and most importantly, they have to live up to the expectations of the residential locale.

In most cases, immigrants are expected to integrate into the United States lifestyle without the intervention of the policy formulators. There is little or no federal funding for the immigrant integration exercise. The strong labor markets are responsible for reinforcing the entire integration process. The high public education has also played a great role in facilitating assimilation. Although it has not been easy for the resistant immigrants to incorporate the American culture fully, recent immigrants into the United States have had an easy time incorporating the American life.

In many cases, full integration into the economic and social aspects takes at least one generation. While the immigrants are resistant to some of the cultures, their children embrace the American culture from their tender ages. The immigrants’ children are able to obtain quality education, they obtain quality educational status, they gather wealth, and own their own homes in America. The children who are born in America are able to obtain language proficiency levels in their early ages. Although it is impossible to wipe out residential completely, the differences reduce considerably in the second generation. At that point, there is a possibility of experiencing intermarriages between the natives and the immigrants’ children. Full integration takes place once the natives and the immigrants are in full support of intermarriages between the American natives and the immigrants’ descendants.

However, a gap still exists in the progress of the native US citizens and the immigrants, more especially the resistant immigrants. The authorization policies that could sometimes take a considerably long period act as barriers to full social and economic integration. The laissez-faire integration policy is significantly deteriorating the state of public education, which affects the immigrants considerably. Indeed, the immigration assimilation policy of the United States has some negativity and positivity associated, where, the negatives outweigh the positives, and the helpless immigrants have to live with it.

Multiculturalism policy in Canada

Canada adopted the multiculturalism policy with an aim of portraying some form of dignity to all its immigrants. The Canadian immigrants are treated with utmost respect regardless of their race, gender, language, or their religion (Berry 668). Unlike the assimilation policy that requires immigrants to drop their cultures and adopt new ones, the multiculturalism policy encourages immigrants to keep their culture and identities, and it enables them to have some sense of belonging. Immigrants into Canada have always felt some form of confidence as the native Canadians accept them the way they are. The choice to change one’s religion, culture, or identity lies in the hands of the immigrant. Since there is enough freedom for the Canadian immigrants, new immigrants are able to respect and adhere to the legal procedures without much difficulty. They are able to take part in any form of social or cultural function without restrictions.

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The diverse races and cultural heritages in Canada embrace people of different ancestries, where, men and women share their thoughts and opinions. Multiculturalism brings naturalism, and a third party cannot differentiate a native Canadian from an immigrant. Although the nation has decided to have two national languages, English and French, the citizens have the privilege of choosing the native language to speak. Moreover, the citizens have the freedom to choose the specific group to assimilate themselves. The greatest advantage of the diversified Canadian cultures is the ability to fit into many nations across the globe. A Canadian can easily trade or school in various learning institutions across the globe without much difficulty. Secondly, the multiculturalism policy equates the human rights regardless of the nationality of origin. Canadian immigrants obtain citizenship fast and easier than the United States immigrants do. Thereafter, every Canadian who has obtained citizenship has a right to take part in civic affairs. This factor brings a sense of democracy amongst all the citizens. The citizens acquire natural integration into the Canadian inheritance as they recognize their aboriginal rights. Whereas some discrimination still prevails in the United States, the Canadian immigrants enjoy equal rights regardless of their color, religion, or their countries of origin.

Problems associated with the assimilation and multiculturalism policies

The assimilation policy in the United States disables immigrants completely. The immigrants have difficulties in adopting new cultures and they rarely practice what they studied in their home countries. The United States immigrants have no choice but to experience the initial entry gap. The immigrants have to adopt the to the United States lifestyle and finally catch up with the native’s culture. However, there is a complex story of the well-being of the immigrants in US. The truth is that the immigrants encounter challenges in their daily life. Majority of them cannot access varying opportunities, and they end up obtaining precarious employment opportunities (Pedace and DuBois 4725). There is an overtly population of the non-Whites in the least desirable jobs, therefore, they are economically disenabled. Moreover, the employers have a way of making the immigrants to earn much less than the natives.

In the United States, an employed immigrant can take more than 5 years before getting a US green card to enjoy the privileges as the native residents. Over the five years, the employed immigrants have some inadequacies in the assessment of some employment opportunities. On the other hand, a skilled worker can obtain a permanent residency within 18 months in Canada. From this perspective, the Canadian immigrant policy to offer citizenship rights is superior to that in the United States. It is worth noting that majority of the immigrants in United States work in low-to mid prestigious sectors, whereas, the native residents have the opportunities to work in highly prestigious companies. Essentially, there is absolutely no chance for the immigrants to work in public administration sectors. The immigrants are highly identifiable from their native counterparts because of the distinguishable treatments. The employment slots in the urban hierarchy, the different economic structures, and the integration policies always affect the immigrants in one way or another.

The United States labor market policies disadvantage the immigrants. Cases have occurred where the disappointed immigrants have to do dirty jobs that are despised by the locals. It is extremely depressing to encounter incidences of highly qualified nurses working as baby sitters. The underlying reason is the structural and skill requirement differences between the original homes and the foreign home. Some learned professionals have had to enroll to study some units to be accepted into the labor market, whereas, others find their degrees null and void in the labor markets. Therefore, the people who are unable to obtain the necessary employment requirements end up unemployed. Essentially, unemployment rates amongst the immigrants who are not ready to do odd jobs are very high in the United States. The aggressive immigrants are able to invest in self-employment opportunities instead of handling the peculiar jobs. The worst part of the entrepreneurial people is the difficulties they face in obtaining the required licensing for their enterprises. Essentially, the unfriendly business environments, the different economic structures, and the strict regulatory regimes are inhospitable to the immigrants. Under the above-mentioned conditions, recent immigrants are in worse financial conditions in spite of their high level of education. The immigrants experience distinctive immigrant experiences.

Canada is a nation that seems to have friendly immigration policies. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) program works towards ensuring that Canadian immigrants settle and adapt the Canadian lifestyle comfortably. The CIC program aims at informing the immigrants that they are indeed in a country that would fulfill their dreams. The Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) is one of the programs that facilitate social and cultural integration of the immigrants (Hum and Wayne 55). Similarly, the Host program and the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) facilitate the economic empowerment of the Canadian immigrants. The main approach of the three programs is the provision of English and French language instructions.

In spite of the efforts of the Canadian government to orientate the immigrants into their lifestyles, some of the immigrants complain of the inconveniences associated with the programs. Some immigrants have complained of the inadequate of the language instructions. The complainants feel that the teachings are not comprehensive enough to enable them to recall the teachings and apply them in the daily errands. Adults with vast responsibilities would end up attending classes partially as they are overwhelmed with the parenting role. Therefore, the allegedly brief discussions that are prone to interferences are difficult to remember. Another complaint with regard to the training programs is the timeliness issue, where, some immigrants have to wait for a considerably long period before they can obtain the trainings. Cases have occurred where some immigrants who desire to train in organizations close to their homes have to register to a waiting list. The waiting time brings inconveniences, as some of the immigrants have to hang around for long periods before their time comes (Driedger 221). The waiting lists are specifically long for those institutions that offer special child-care services and some immigrants can even opt to wait for six months before they obtain the chance to train.

It is worth noting that the LINC, ISAP, and host programs have played a great role in improving the immigrants’ status in Canada. However, they have had limited improvements because of the associated inefficiencies. Therefore, the Canadian immigrants are forced to hustle their way out as the immigrants do. The immigrants have to learn how to adopt the Canadian cultures on their own, and they have to find ways of assimilating into the Canadian job markets. Therefore, the efforts of the multiculturalism immigration policy have failed considerably to the extent of having similar outcomes as those of the assimilation policies in the United States.

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Possible approaches to address the problems

In spite of the associated drawbacks, the CIC programs are advantageous to the Canadian immigrants. The instructors will only have to adjust on the ways of training the immigrants. Firstly, there will be a need to separate the immigrants depending on their native language, IQ levels, and their age. Immigrants who had some Basic English literacy would find it easy to understand the English language instructions. Therefore, combining all the immigrants and instructing them jointly would disadvantage the slow learners, and especially the immigrants encountering the new language for the first time. Moreover, the elderly people with slow grasping capabilities will have difficulties in learning the new language as compared to the young adults. It is also worth noting that immigrants with Basic English or French skills would outshine the rest and coerce their learning. After separating the immigrants according to their understanding capacities, the instructors can determine and allocate enough time for every learner to gain the required language.

The Canadian government can combat the issue of prolonged waiting by introducing the special treatments in all their training institutions. The suitable childcare issues are solvable if every learning institution had a pediatric centre that would take care of the infants. The Service Provider Organizations (SPOs) should address all issue to do with flexibility of time, offering of childcare services to children of certain ages and discriminating others, and the discrimination of disabled persons. They should ensure that there is efficiency and effectiveness of their language training services for the success of their programs.

The other approach that would work perfectly to combat the language training programs is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). This program accepts immigrants who are ready to secure employment opportunities without the need for training. The FSWP program aims at capturing youths who have language literacy skills as well as the necessary trainings to handle a given job. The immigrants who enter Canada through the FWSP program readily integrate into the Canadian economy, and they easily succeed in all their actions. They will free the government from undergoing the challenging training process.

Another very efficient method of having skilled and competent immigrants into Canada is using the Provincial Nominee Program. Essentially, provincial nominees will comprise of people will the necessary skills, education, and the relevant work experience needed to serve in a given position in a particular province in Canada. Individuals who intend to be considered for the provincial nominee program ought to apply to the province in which they desire to settle in Canada. The necessary stakeholders nominate the eligible applicants who would then proceed to process their applications.

The immigrant assimilation policy is really harming some immigrants who cannot cope up with some American cultures. There are those immigrants who desire to go back to their homes but they are restricted. Although the Guest Worker Program is similarly inefficient, it would be better off as it offers the immigrants a chance to return to their native homes when they desire. Essentially, the guest worker program authorizes employers to import unskilled laborers to work in agricultural farms and highly vulnerable areas for a period of less than one year. Thereafter, the employers arrange to have the unskilled employees returned to their native homes at the end of their employment contract. Many scholars have disregarded the guest work program by equating it to slavery. However, it would be better to have the immigrants returned to their homes instead of holding them and subjecting them to undesirable living conditions.

Essentially, the immigration policy needs some reformation to administer justice to all its immigrants. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744) and the Immigration Court Reform bill would help greatly in amending the immigration policies. S.744 is a bill proposed by eight senators. The senators formulated their bill to voice their concerns regarding the mistreatments of some of the United States immigrants. The bill proposes the amendments of the various visas that have inhuman restrictions for the immigrants. It addresses the issue of the immigrants who have no documents to operate freely in the United States economy. If the S.744 bill happens, the United States immigrants will have a reason to smile, as the proposed reformations will favor the depressed United States immigrants. Similarly, the immigration reform proposal will work towards increasing legal immigration into the United States. The immigration reformations will consider reviewing the deportation policies and other policies that are faulty and abusive. The United States is a first class nation that ought to adopt policies that would reform the negative insights across the globe, and administer justice to all immigrants who contribute highly to the economic growth of the nation.


From the discussions, it is evident that people depart from their counties to go to the United States with very high expectations. However, there are those who survive to achieve their expectations and those who never realize their dreams. The painful truth about the United States is that in spite of its high level of income per capita, it has high poverty rates. Although not commonly mentioned, the United States has had numerous cases of homicides, and generally, the life expectancy rates of some individuals are considerably low. The Canadian government that appears to offer excellent immigration policies has its weaknesses too. Some immigrants into the two powerful nations are not getting exactly what they anticipated as they experience adverse conditions. Cases have occurred where people who forwent their highflying careers to go to the United States and other developed nations regret for the better part of their lives. These scenarios should act as a wakeup call for the United States government that still dreams of pecking talents. The government ought to reform its immigration policies before the world becomes enlightened to reject its immigration offers. The multiculturalism immigration policy is admirable, and the Canadian government should adopt the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Provincial Nominee Program among other programs that would facilitate their multicultural spirit.

Works Cited

Berry, John “Research on Multiculturalism in Canada.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 37.6 (2013): 663-675. Print.

Driedger, Leo. “Multiculturalism: Sorting Identities, Rights, and Conflicts.” Canadian Ethnic Studies 43.2 (2011): 221. Print.

Hum, Derek, and Simpson Wayne. “Economic Integration of Immigrants to Canada: A Short Survey.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 1.1 (2003). 46-61. Print.

Pedace, Roberto, and Christine DuBois. “Immigration Policy and Employment Assimilation in the United States.” Applied Economics 44.36 (2012): 4721-4730. Print.

Vigdor, Jacob. Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America. Manhattan Institute. 2013. Web.