An immigrant is a term used to refer to individuals who move from distant lands to new settlements and consequently establishing permanent residency there (Alesina, Miano, & Stantcheva, 2018). Immigrants are found all around the globe. The movement of these individuals from one region to another is triggered by political, environmental and social factors, among others. Some of these factors include lack of adequate security, poverty, war, drought, and high crime rates (Richter, Taylor, & Yúnez-Naude, 2018). Immigration results in positive impacts on the economy where the establishment of permanent residencies has occurred and the individuals since there is an evident improvement of their living standards. The migration of immigrants from one locality to another is attributed to various difficulties in the movement and settlement processes as shifting to new lands requires adoption to unfamiliar environments and foreign individuals. In this essay, a comprehensive analysis of the presentation titled ‘The Immigrant Experience’ shall be done, and a critique perspective of it presented.
The Immigrant Experience
The Immigrant Experience is a video that begins with the elaboration of the political viewpoints of immigration. The United States presidents have had very different views on this conception based on the commencement of the video. President Obama attempted to completely reform the country’s immigration system (Coleman, 2018). He had vowed to change the system if he won the presidency seat completely. In 2014, he addressed the sovereign state and came up with executive actions to repair the country’s broken immigration network.
On the other hand, Donald Trump came up with an immigration policy where he enlisted his different viewpoints on the immigration conception. According to him, individuals involved in illicit immigration are criminals (Feinberg, 2017). In 2018, he came up with a particular outline that stated his stands for immigration reformation. Hillary Clinton fully encouraged immigration reformation leading to the acquisition of full citizenship. She did not support the deportation of immigrants who moved into the country illegally from other lands. Additionally, she supported President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (Volpp, 2019).
The Immigrant Experience promotes more in-depth and innovative thoughts of how different immigrants attempt to create a valid identity in their settlement countries. In the video, individuals of varying age groups are portrayed to be immigrants. Their display of despair and sadness is shown on their faces. This illustration arises from the fact that immigrants move from their original settlements due to negative reasons. Therefore, no experience of happiness lies from the entire process. The Immigrant Experience attempts to explore the history of American immigration from pieces of evidence presented in historical documentation, from published literature, movies and the culture. Ellis Island, an immigration locality that opened within the New York Harbor in the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, is also mentioned in the video (Cannato, 2018). It was the most occupied immigration centre in the United States during the times. During its operation time, which was between 1892 to 1954, roughly 12 million individuals arrived at the centre (Cannato, 2018). The Immigration Experience also states how relocation to new lands could be a very disorienting experience. For instance, the video gives an example of individuals who moved from lands without buildings to fully constructed lands feeling unfamiliar due to the new surroundings. Immigrants tend to occupy lands with new rules, unfamiliar languages and new people, making their experiences more challenging.
Critique of the Immigrant Experience
According to the video, Donald Trump is seen to have been a non-supporter of immigration. He even stated that immigration results in an increment of the republic’s crime rates. This notion is false as immigration has not been linked to any form of crime. Immigration has been presented as an act resulting in more economic improvement due to increased labour (Cattaneo, 2020). Additionally, an increment in the number of potential entrepreneurs taking part in business activities is observed, positively impacting the country’s economic system.
Also, the video illustrates the treatment that individuals who came from native lands faced. They awaited processing, where they were questioned on behalf of themselves and their children. The individuals asking the questions would then assess these provided responses and later provide directives for the immigrants. In some cases, the individuals were told to proceed to the railway, others were directed to the ferry, and some were detained (Young, 2017). Some excluded persons either had infectious diseases, were not seen as good or industrious workers or were destined to be poor. This practice was very unjust as individuals who may have had potential could be mistaken for those who might not. Another disadvantage of this practice was the separation of children and other family members from their relatives. Those who did not have appropriate answers as per the posed questions were detained, and their family members were told to proceed, resulting in separation. With the hostile conditions the immigrants had fled from, this experience was unjust as it only resulted in more suffering instead of relief.
Despite the sustenance of immigration themes such as assimilation, separation, commercial issues and racism, among others, there has been a great reformation of the immigration experience in this current era. Immigrants do not go through these customary processes of inquiry. They are only required to perform the legal work and present their documentation to the respective parties. This new reformation has created simplicity and efficiency in dealing with immigration processes.
Alesina, A., Miano, A., & Stantcheva, S. (2018). Immigration and redistribution. doi:10.3386/w24733
Cannato, V. J. (2018). Ellis Island immigration station. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.548
Cattaneo, C. (2020). Turning opposition into support to immigration: The role of social norms. AEA Randomized Controlled Trials. doi:10.1257/rct.5754
Coleman, S. R. (2018). A promise unfulfilled, an imperfect legacy:. The Presidency of Barack Obama, 179-194. doi:10.2307/j.ctvc777dh.16
Feinberg, M. (2017). President Trump issues immigration orders. Historic Documents of 2017, 42-87. doi:10.4135/9781544300726.n5
Richter, S. M., Taylor, J. E., & Yúnez-Naude, A. (2018). Impacts of policy reforms on labor migration from rural Mexico to the United States. Mexican Immigration to the United States, 269-288. doi:10.7208/Chicago/9780226066684.003.0009
Volpp, L. (2019). DACA, DAPA, and discretionary executive power: Immigrants outside the law. California Journal of Politics and Policy, 11(2). doi:10.5070/p2cjpp11243092
Young, J. G. (2017). Making America 1920 again? Nativism and US immigration, past and present. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5(1), 217-235. doi:10.14240/jmhs.v5i1.81
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