The United States laws have had unanticipated changes regarding immigration flows since the 1700s. Everything started in a small island located in the New York Harbor, just off the New Jersey Coast. The now famous Ellis Island, formerly called the oyster Island was habituated only by Native Americans until the beginning of migration. According to the digital collection from the library of congress, more than 70 percent of all immigrants entered through the island territory which was known as the “Golden Door”. During those times, there was no laws that prevented people to migrate to the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Act, passed by the U.S. congress on March 26, 1790 stated that, “Any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a legal citizen on the United States” (Bolger, 2013). This law served as the foundation for the U.S. Immigration policies. Since this important event, the Immigration policies have changed dramatically throughout the years, becoming a big barrier for people wanting to migrate.
The U.S. Immigration policies are complicated and there is a misjudgement as to how it works. The immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), the body of law governing current immigration policy, provides for an annual worldwide limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants (AIC, 2016). There are different types of immigration laws which makes it difficult to understand. Where do some of the different immigration arguments fit in the system? The first category is relatives, the rules under this policy vary depending on whether you are married or not and for how long to a U.S. Citizen. Other immediate family of U.S. Citizen like parents, siblings, or children fall under the same category; however, there is an entry limit every year so it’s first-come first-serve (USCIS, 2018).
The second category if for people who have extraordinary skills, for example people with advanced degrees like PhD, MBAs, MDs, athletic champions or Nobel prize winners (AIC, 2016). The third category are for refugees. Refugee, meaning someone who flees their home country due to reasonable fear of being persecuted for race, religion, political choices or points of view, etc. As there are policies that allow people to legally migrate to U.S., there is also policies that prevents it. For example, being convicted of a serious crime, haven’t been vaccinated or if the officials decide that there is a security risk or a possible burden to the United States economy (AIC, 2016).
Immigrants are driven to come to America by financial security and a better quality of life for their families. For the majority of people, leaving all they have known during the lifetime is extremely difficult; however, for some people is the best choice. Here are some numbers reported in 2016 by the Department of Homeland Security, Nonimmigrant Visa Statistics. From different parts of the world, 1.2M migrated for work, 990K for school, 1.0M to be with family, 250K for safety, 28K unknown reason (DHS, 2016).
Although is a difficult decision to leave everything behind and start a new life, most people benefit from superior education and/or better jobs. In most cases, poverty is the major cause for leaving the homeland behind to find what they call the American Dream. The United States is the county with the greatest opportunities. America is also home to many of the world’s top colleges and Universities (Carey, 2014), a great opportunity to earn education. According to the department of homeland security unaccompanied minors arriving to the U.S. searching for asylum in 2014, came from extremely violent countries. The long risky journey of traveling to America alone was preferable to remain at home (Hiskey, Cordova, Orces, & Malone, 2018).
The high numbers of people migrating to the United States, has raised a debate among nationals. In one side of the economic debate, there is people who believe that illegal immigration is an economic burden to America. According to Michael McDonal, Phd., finance professor at Fairfield University states that illegal immigration reduces wages as those undocumented workers are often underpaid, which keeps lower wages limits. The current U.S. president agrees with the fact that immigration is a burden to American people. The current immigration policy cost as much as $300 billion dollars annually in net fiscal cost on U.S. taxpayers (Trump, 2017). On the other hand, people are in disagreement of president Trump believes.
For example, the former U.S. president Barac Obama, he believes that immigrants help build and strengths U.S. economy. The Small Business Administration is in agreement with Obama. According to the small business records 18 percent of all small business owners are immigrants, which create jobs for American workers. As a nation of immigrants, it could be said that immigrants have helped build cities and pioneer new industries (Furman & Gray, 2012). As the debate continues, it could be said that both sides have suggestive and reasonable points of view.