Approximately, after the Second World War, the United States has become one of the countries that attract the largest numbers of immigrants. Despite that fact, current immigration policies need to be renewed in order to manage the flow of the newcomers more effectively.
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Even though the United States is considered to be a country of immigrants, its policies in regards to the issue are limited by regulations concerning the criteria and circumstances for admittance.
Since the beginning of this century the U.S. government has allocated a colossal sum to fight with illegal immigration, still as of 2010, the number of undocumented migrants reached approximately 11 million (Ewing, 2012).
In order to show more efficacy, the new immigration reform would need to adapt to contemporary immigration context that has changed over the past decades.
Integration as a critical vector in managing the flow of incomers should become a focal point in modern immigration policies. For instance, more than fifteen years ago, 58 per cent of Mexican immigrants did not graduate from high school, but 83 per cent of their children received high school diplomas (Jiménez, 2007).
Thus, a comprehensive immigration-integration policy would be beneficial for both the immigrants and the receiving communities, resulting in a more cohesive society.
Integration is a process that primarily takes place at the local level (Jiménez, 2007). Even though immigration policies reformation should be lead by the federal government, it is indispensable for local governments to have an opportunity to adopt these policies to their regional peculiarities.
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Another component of effective integration policies are projects aimed to help immigrants acquire the official language of the receiving country. In this way, English-language learning programs remain crucial to ensure the success of integration, as full adaptation and participation in a particular society are hardly possible without mastering its means of communication.
Another essential characteristic of the new immigration system would be an incorporation of democratic and humanitarian values.
Current immigration system allows people to die at the borders, work for indecent wages, live in inhumane conditions, and families to be separated (Immigration Policy Center, 2009). In order to have a properly functioning immigrants community that can be fully integrated, these issues need to be fixed.
Broken families have become one of the most discrediting and disputed consequences of current immigration policies. Family-based immigration would permit these reunions to occur in civilized and sensible conditions and quicken the process of returning close and law-abiding relatives to their families (Immigration Policy Center, 2010). Hence, being a part of a family is advantageous for further social assimilation of new immigrants.
Additionally, newcomers immigrating with their families tend to start businesses more frequently – their contribution to the local economy is more significant than this of individual immigrants (Immigration Policy Center, 2001)
Immigration based on seeking protection within the U.S. borders is limiting by the rigorous rules that it applies to the seekers. A person who escapes persecution in their home country is supposed to go through a complex process making their case and proving that their life is under death threat to be able to qualify for the status. Facilitating the process for obtaining asylum for humanitarian immigrants is another priority for the new immigration reform.
Protecting immigrant workers by ensuring that their wages and labor conditions are proper should become prime concern in reforming immigration. It is not uncommon for employers to abuse undocumented immigrant workforce to economize (Immigration Policy Center, 2001). Discouraging these instances and creating impediments for unscrupulous employers is a task for both local and federal governments.
Employment-based immigration is beneficial to the U.S. economy, and immigrants perform several crucial functions within it. Nevertheless, the current immigration system does not communicate present-day economic demands (Immigration Policy Center, 2001).
The process of human capital flight of the last century has helped to establish the United States as a leader in various scientific domains. Nevertheless, nowadays, new rivals for human capital has emerged, and the benefits proposed by the U. S. government need to be revised to stay competitive.
Study by Kauffman Foundation reports that a significant part of skilled immigrants tends to choose other countries to establish their business (Immigration Policy Center, 2001). Moreover, this trend is accelerating, and the damage caused by the loss of talented workers may be greater than the incentives that could help to warrant their stay.
Unskilled migrant-workers are beneficial for native workers more directly as their employment propels U.S.-born employees towards more high-end jobs since a large number of immigrant workers lack the education necessary to occupy them. Moreover, immigrant workers act as taxpayers and consumers, thus enhancing demand and potentially creating more jobs (Immigration Policy Center, 2001).
The current processes within the U.S. migration indicate lack of efficiency of the current system and thus the need for its reformation. Immigration is a crucial evolutionary force in North American societies, and history demonstrates that it always has been so. Rather than trying to demolish immigration altogether, which seems like a vain affair, acknowledging its importance and applying the “stick and carrot” method would profit both parties involved.
- Ewing, W. A. (2012). Opportunity and exclusion: A brief history of U.S. immigration policy. American Immigration Council,1-7.
- Immigration Policy Center. (2001). Rebooting the American dream: The role of immigration in a 21st century economy.
- Immigration Policy Center. (2009). Breaking down the problems: What’s wrong with our immigration system? Web.
- Immigration Policy Center. (2010). Focusing on the solution: Key principles of comprehensive immigration reform. Web.
- Jiménez, T. R. (2007). From newcomers to Americans: An integration policy for a nation of immigrants. Immigration in Focus, 5(11), 1-12.