Who are the New Immigrants in the US?
Nowadays, immigration is one of the most important issues in American society. For many years, the land was a target for people from all over the world, seeking more opportunities and a better future. However, popular subject to the various researches is that not all immigrants can expect the same treatment and people of different races are likely to reach the different level of success in the United States. Particularly, the inequality inside the American society and the various racial prejudices can be seen even among immigrants, when people of color can expect worse results in comparison to the white population.
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A hundred years ago the typical immigrant coming to the United States was a poor white person from Europe willing to get work and provide themselves and their families with better conditions. People arriving in the new country often settled not far from those who came to the United States earlier. As a result, in many cities, there were Italian, Irish, Chinese or even Russian neighborhoods where people from the same nations lived together. In such neighborhoods, individuals were often using their native language as well as English. Moreover, most people got work in factories, shops or other places outside their communities. Therefore, they had the relatively slow, but gradual process of assimilation, anticipating more and more American traditions, but also introducing some customs, typical for their cultures, to the American ones.
The process was beneficial for all parties concerned. People from other regions got working places and opportunities to promote themselves and ensure better living to their families. On the other hand, American businessmen got access to the new workforce composed of the young and middle-aged males and females having some specific skills or at least inspired to learn and to work hard to fulfill their dreams. Moreover, migrants, their children, and grandchildren were entering into marriages with American people, so, in general, their assimilation process was smooth and mutually beneficial.
However, in the second half of the 20th century, the majority of migrants were from Spanishand people of color who came from Mexico as well as South American or African countries. Those people were poor, just like the immigrants from Europe, but they also had different complexion and cultures differing from the American or European ones. Moreover, those immigrants were facing higher discrimination in comparison to white immigrants. It means that they were more difficult to find good jobs, enter educational institutions or even to purchase the property. On the other hand, those migrants were more detached to their cultures and communities being rather nuclear. As a result, they started forming the kinds of enclaves with their own cultures and languages more closed in comparison to Irish or Italian neighborhoods. It ledto a situation when people were able to born in the culture not highly differing from those in the home state of their parents, grow up and become adults in that environment having the relatively low level of integration into American culture. It could be due to the factors why current immigrants are less probable to succeed in American society.
In its turn, American society was also afraid of its new members and tented to further discriminate people of color. For example, even today, a lot of people clearly link the Latino person with illegal immigrants having the low educational level, incomes, and poor socialization. In this case, when the person does not meet such stereotypes it becomes his or her burden to prove the difference, making lives of those people more problematic. According to the survey of Matthew Painter and Zhenchao Qian, the average net worth of a new migrant is 63,000, but the white immigrants worth 92,965, Asian 83,500, Latino 40,073 and black 34,318 (Campbell, 2016). When removing all factors expect race, the same correlation remains in force, so Asian, Latino and black immigrants are worthless in comparison to the white ones. It means that migrants who belong to the various minorities are likely to become less successful due to the color of their skin. On the other hand, it only empowers the myths that exist in American society and leads to further marginalization of migrants, making some anti-migrant campaigns possible.
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At the same time, one must also consider the fact that not all people of color equally anticipate the problem of discrimination and are ready to mutually work on its resolution. For example, the significant share of Latino immigrants got working places on the various plants and factories that used to be the sources of employment for the black population for many years (Suro, 1998). One of the factors that contributed to such situation is that Latino people usually highly support each other. Therefore, when one gets the working place on a certain plant, he or she will work hard to promote his or her relatives also in order to obtain employment. As a result, many factories became mainly occupied by Latino immigrants. Consequently, it caused the negative attitude to Latino immigrants among the black population, including both migrants and people who were born in the United States. Furthermore, it leads to the situation when people who are subjected to the various forms of discrimination do not act together, but consider each other as rivals. In this case, they cannot focus on the problem of removal of discrimination due to such inner conflicts.
Nevertheless, the current situation with inequality among migrants can lead to much worse social outcomes for the whole American society. Primarily, the share of immigrants from the total population in 2016 was already 13.5 percent, reproaching to the historic high. Among 43.7 million people who born outside the United States, 11.6 million are people from Mexico, 2.7 million from China, 2.4 million from India, 1.9 million from the Philippines and 1.4 million from Ecuador. At the same time, in 2016, 31 percent of new migrants were Hispanic, while 37.1 were Asians. Furthermore, by 2065, it is projected that totally 78.2 million of people living in the United States will have been foreign-born individuals, while immigrants and their descendants account for 88% of the US population increase through 2065. All those figures clearly show that regardless of any temporary political measures, immigration is likely to become the ever-intense phenomenon. However, unlike a hundred years ago, today, migrants have much lower chances to succeed, get high-paying jobs and integrate into the society to the discrimination of people of color and Asians, who represent the majority of migrants.
Consequently, it could lead to the overall decline of satisfaction of migrants with their lives. Furthermore, it can cause more negative attitude towards migrants from the side of people born in the United States, because they will be afraid of the large groups of individuals speaking the other languages, sharing different cultures, but having the low level of wellbeing and dissatisfaction with their position. To remove prerequisites of such problems, the society must work on the further decrease of discrimination on the basis of race, to facilitate the integration of migrants into the American society. For sure, some politically erected barriers cannot be enough measured to deal with all the problems associated with migration. Instead, the government must focus on the development of mechanisms to let people who are willing to work, to get into the United States, obtain working places and receive decent pay for their efforts. Under such conditions, immigration can turn from being one of the American problems to its strengths and lead to further economic development.
The high extent of inequality among immigrants can lead to the overall decline of the level of satisfaction of people coming to the United States and become one of the reasons for social conflicts. In this case, the most effective approache to deal with the problem is to make sure that all migrants coming to the United States will get the working places and the decent pay. Due to such mechanism, immigrants and American citizens will benefit, while the risk of social tensions will greatly decline.