Immigration in the United States is a major issue of discussion. Immigration is the unofficial move into a different state or country for better prospect, or to escape violence and war at home. The U.S receives countless number of immigrants annually. These immigrants are from different countries, of different races and even speak different languages. Some of these immigrants are legal and documented, while some of them are illegal immigrants. It is these illegal immigrants who build the myths and misconceptions on immigrants. Illegal immigrants usually involve themselves in acts of crime such as drug and illegal weapon trafficking, theft, rape among others. They cost the host government a lot of money in finding them and deporting them.
Immigrations lead to increased wages for the African Americans in Pennsylvania with increase in their number (American Immigration Council). Legal immigrants have been able to further improve the economic state of Pennsylvania as they have been able to start their own successful businesses and in turn pay taxes to the government. Some of them even employ the Native Americans in their business, therefore, decreasing the rate of unemployment in the state (American Immigration Council). By taking their children to school, they allow them to be educated and work in well-paying jobs in future and at the same time improving the economy with the school fees paid.
Problems have arisen from immigration. African Americans feel like they are the most affected by immigrants, whose employment, they believe, has resulted in them receiving reduced wages. Rights of immigrants are not always respected even by the police. Some of the immigrants do not even know their rights and are often vulnerable to abuse. Another problem that immigrants face is the association of crime with immigration in Pennsylvania. This factor has been facilitated by the crimes committed by illegal immigrants (American Immigration Council). These crimes are often blamed on immigrants, irrespective of whether they are documented or undocumented immigrants. There is hope, however, for illegal immigrants, as reports have shown that there is reduced rate of crimes that has come about with increased immigration. More good news is seen with the increased number of New Americans allowed to vote, especially in areas like California. Immigration serves Pennsylvania and the rest of United States more positively than negatively.
Pennsylvania is a state in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Immigration has been a subject of debate in Pennsylvania. It has led to cultural change and population growth in the state. Immigration in Pennsylvania, has, however, brought about many issues that have been subject to debate over the past few years (Singer and Audrey). These issues include the push over the rights for the immigrants, increased and unplanned population growth, conflicts between African-Americans and immigrants and association of crime with immigrants among others. However, immigration has more benefits than misfits to the United States such as increased wages, less crime rates among others (American Immigration Council). It is crucial that American citizens overlook the common myths about immigrants and treat them as their counterparts on this earth, trying to get by with life.
Read also National Immigration Forum – Summary
Immigration in Pennsylvania began in the 17th Century with the earliest coming in as indentured servants. It attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. In 1882 law was passed which restricted immigrants with mental problems, minors with company, and diseases, among others (Ancestry). Philadelphia has the fastest growing population of immigrants. They comprise 9% of the total population, standing at over 500,000 (American Immigration Council). The immigrant population grew by 113,000 between 2000 and 2006 (Ancestry). These immigrants are from Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe, occupying 39%, 28%, 8%, and 23% respectively (Ancestry). Close to 60% of immigrants living in the city came after 1990.
Underemployment of Native Americans
Native American citizens of Pennsylvania feel like the immigrants are taking over their jobs. There is a big number of underemployment, unemployment and drop out of the labor force of the least skilled American workers, while the number of employed immigrants still keeps increasing (American Immigration Council). As a result, conflicts have risen, with the natives blaming their unemployment on the ever increasing number of immigrants in Pennsylvania. These conflicts are, however, wrongly formulated as reports have shown that immigrants do very well in their education and as a result, have access to well-paying jobs. Native Americans need to realize that they have to earn the positions they want to work in, just as the immigrants have.
African – Americans and immigrants
Common myths suggest that immigrants negatively impact African Americans in Pennsylvania. These myths arise from rumors that Latino immigrants and African Americans compete ruinously for the same jobs leading to low wages and increased unemployment rates for the African Americans (American Immigration Council). The truth of this, however, is that the two groups of people complement each other, other than being substitutes for the each other in the labor market. Latino immigrants facilitate higher wages for African Americans. The median and mean wages for African Americans increase by 3% for every 1% increase in the population of Latinos in Pennsylvania (American Immigration Council). This increase also leads to decrease in the number of poor African Americans. Black immigrants are also a source of tension and suspicion, elevated by the employment of black immigrants in professional jobs. Such conflicts between black immigrants and African Americans are what led to the formation of the Coalition of African communities in Philadelphia with the aim of strengthening the relationship between the two groups.
Immigration and crime
Immigration has often been linked with crime. President Donald Trump recently created the Office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, only serving to demonize immigrants. Creation of this office will only lead to more crime and dehumanization of immigrants (American Immigration Council). It has been made a common belief that immigrants are part of the reason why crime occurs. Immigrants have been made the scapegoats when indeed it is they who are victims of violence and crime, especially women immigrants. Data shows that there is drop in the rate of crime in Pennsylvania with the increase in the rate of immigration. The same is echoed in national reports and findings.
There has been endless protests and cries for the rights of immigrants in Pennsylvania. In the years before, immigrants were not even allowed to own their own businesses. Now, however, they are entitled to more rights some of which include: Rights to Public benefits and other basic rights (ACLU). Public benefits programs consists of medicals programs, food stamps, and security. These immigrants’ rights are more than overlooked, as there have been cases of abuse of rights against the immigrants such as forceful arrest by police, denial of access to medical services among others (Community Legal Services). The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania however, allows immigrants to be able to know what their rights are in the streets, in their cars and even at home.
Majority of immigrants are legal and law abiding people who want to live in peace without disturbing the people or the local authorities in Pennsylvania. Their peaceful status and good nature is however soiled by illegal immigrants who pose a threat to security. Illegal immigrants are immigrants who have entered the country illegally. Illegal immigrants are the reason why immigrants are associated with crime (American Immigration Council). They influence the people’s negative thinking towards other law abiding immigrant. Reports show that the rate of illegal immigration is growing at a rate of 700, 000 annually (American Immigration Council). This only goes to show that the problem with illegal immigrants is yet to be solved, and innocent legal immigrants will continue to be scapegoats of crime in Pennsylvania. Mass deportation of these immigrants is costly to the local population.
Unsustainable Population Growth
There has been massive increase in the population Pennsylvania (Singer and Audrey). This massive growth is sometimes unsustainable for the government. Increase in population is facilitated by immigration (American Immigration Council). These immigrants are mostly illegal migrants who drain the budget. Population influx has also led to overcrowding in cities and towns in Pennsylvania, and the United States as a whole. Uncontrolled population growth results in increase in social crimes and violence in the towns.
Effect on countries of origin
When people move into the United State to find better prospects for the future, the country of origin is usually affected, as it loses its workers, especially the young ones. It loses the people who are highly trained who would have served the country very well. The families of the immigrant are sometimes left without care or protection (Singer and Audrey). Women and children are usually affected. As a result, relatives of these emigrants are left in a situation where they are forced to follow their own into the country or state where he/she has settled, leading to increased number of illegal immigrants.
Continued immigration of people from different and international countries puts Philadelphia at risk of a terrorist attack, as a country that’s an enemy to the United States might send one of their own to spy on the state and give information back. The state is placed in a vulnerable position as it my attacked at any time, and in any part of it. It is hard to identify who is a terrorist and who is not. A terrorist does not have to be an illegal immigrant; it might be a well-documented immigrant who has come to Pennsylvania to find work to act as an alibi for his evil intentions. These terrorist immigrants may even end up radicalizing other law abiding, peace loving legal immigrants into joining their workforce (Lindsay and Andrew 2). It is important for the government to stamp out these terrorist immigrants as soon as they are identified.The positive effects of Immigration are many and should not be overlooked. These benefits are economic, social and even political. They lead to positive growth of Pennsylvania and other states in the U.S., and are even more than the demerits of immigration.
The labor force growth of Philadelphia is attributed to the immigrants covering close to 75% of the workforce (American Immigration Council). Immigrants in Pennsylvania wield about $36.3 billion. Their businesses had receipts and sales of $14.8 billion in the last count. Immigrants have also been able to employ close to 73,000 people. It is clear that immigrants play an important role in the economic growth of Pennsylvania and the U.S as a whole, both as workers and as taxpayers (American Immigration Council). Unskilled immigrants do the work that American citizens would rather not do. These include small and dangerous work. This is not to say that immigrants do the small, unwanted jobs. Skilled immigrants are on demand in industries that required highly skilled professionals, such as scientists, doctors, and engineers.
Immigration allows for people from different countries and cultures to meet and share their different cultural experiences (American Immigration Council). People are able to overlook ethnicity and racism and live together in one culture that comprises of all the cultures put together. Immigrants and the natives are able to live together in harmony for the development of the state. Pennsylvania, for example, consists of immigrants from different countries and different races, who have all come together to li9ve in one place in peace, allowing each one of them to reach their respective goals.
New American citizens now have a say on who will lead them, as more and more immigrants are now eligible to vote. The immigrant communities are gaining more electoral power with every passing. In 2012, the number of New Americans eligible to vote was 18.1 million. This number was 11.8% of all registered voters that year (American Immigration Council). In places such as California and New York, new Americans constitute a large part of the registered voter.
Immigration in Pennsylvania has led to positive political, economic and social growth. It has allowed the state and other states in the U.S to grow and advance while other powerful countries in the world are declining as a result of not opening its doors to immigrants. Immigration, does, however, have its own demerits that should be well handle without harming the legal immigrants in place. People should try and learn more about immigration in order to put aside their insecurities which end up affecting innocent documented immigrants.