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The immigration is repidly increasing since 1965 which influence America in different fields such as soicially, economically and culturally. Various theories are existed about the effects of immigration on america. Some researchers argue that the mass migration is giving negative impact on American economy and some argue that it is very beneficial to the america. However, the American policy is continuously pro-immigration and mostly absorbs many immigrants, refugees in various times. However, in recent times, concerns are grown rapidly due to mass influx of illegal immigration. The main aspects of the impact of immigration on America are economy and job market and crime. These issues are briefly discussed in order to have basic understanding about the impact of immigration on the U.S.
Economy and Job Market
As the influx of mass migration to the U.S. began since 1965, variuos researchers studied the impact of econmy on america. Some argued that the mass immigration is positive while some argue that it gives negative impact. For example, the economists Davis and Weinstein, from Columbian University estimated by using a trade theory approach that the losses from immigration to the U.S. natives at 0.8 % of the GDP. This means that average loss for each native worker is more than 800 $. (Davis and Weinstein, 2002, p. 27 ).Borjas has stated that the immigrants impacting the wages of all native born workers including the recent native college graduates (Borjas, 2003, p. 1370). The Brookings Institution finds a 2.3% depression of wages from immigration from 1980 to 2007 (Burtless, 2009, p. 2). However, the Cato Institute finds little or no effect of immigration on income of native born (Simon, 1995,p. 25).
The new immigrants who are mainly coming from Asia, Latin America split between highly skilled and low skilled people. Many college educated immigrants joining the U.S. workforce recently. American industries continuously depend on high skilled and well educated immigrant scientists and engineers. Low skilled immigrants are also contributing to the economy as workers and consumers as well as the tax payers. Many people from America believe that the mass immigration affected the U.S. economy and job market for the native U.S. citizens. The effect of immigrants on the U.S. economy is not to be negative as many people believe rather it provides approximately $10 billionas a net fiscal benefit to the U.S., as net tax payers.
According to the Zavodny, director of federal bank of Atlanta, an average immigrant pays less tax and receives more social benefits than the native U.S. citizen. This is true because an average immigrant has less education and earns less than the average U.S. citizen. In addition to this, average immigrants normally have more children which also one reason to obtain more benefits from the government (Zavodny, 1997, p. 1)
However, according to the national academy science report, typical immigrants and their descendants will pay more taxes than they receive from different social benefits over their life time. This report also stated that the average immigrant imposes $ 25,000 in net life time fiscal cost on the state and local governments- some immigrants costs much particularly due to emergency health care services. However, the tax paid by immigrants goes to federal government and receives less benefits from the federal government, on average the immigrants pay substantially higher taxes than they receive social benefits from all levels of combined governments (Smith and Edmonston, 1997, p. 337).
The report by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in 2003 stated that "the pace of recent U.S. economic growth would have been impossible without immigration." According to this report, immigrants contributed to increased job growth since 1990 by filling many jobs, taking jobs in the regions where there is lack of labor, and filling the jobs which American natives cannot opt for. (Orrenius, 2003, p. 2).
Many immigrant families benefits from government social programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income, and sometime the families who are below poverty line gets more public benefits (Fix and Passel, 2002, p. 6). The legal immigrants who are below poverty line benefit more than the native citizens who are below poverty line from the government safety net programs (U.S. Census Bureau:CPS, 2002).
As three parts of immigrants are not finished high school, they used to fill low skilled, blue scholar jobs. Because of this, majority of the unskilled immigrants takes the jobs such as operators, fabricators and laborers. In addition lot of unauthorized immigrants who are majorly less educated and having low skills, occupying the low professional jobs such in construction, mining, and laborers. (Orrenius, 2003, p. 2-3). Immigrants have contributed a major role in changing the urban industrial economy in last two decades. Many immigrants were admitted on the bases of employment-based immigration since 1965. Majority of immigrants were allowed mainly on the bases of high skilled jobs where American natives were not available. This shows that the immigration has contributed in labor market. However, the overall effect of immigration is minimal on economy.
Due to recent safety and security concerns, immigration crime became one of the most contentious issues in the immigration research. The general perception of the Americans is that the mass immigration may lead to higher probability of crimes by immigrants. However from past 100 years repeatedly and continuously revealed that the crime rates of the foreign aliens are lower than Native American citizens.
The problem of crime in the U.S. is not caused by immigrants while most of the immigrants come to the U.S. mainly for the economical educational opportunities in order to earn money and to live a better life. Generally immigrants are less likely to commit crimes and do not want to end up in the prison. Because the legal immigrants are often tested for criminal records for different reasons such as for new jobs, welfare, education, etc. In addition to legal immigrants, Illegal immigrants most likely avoid committing crimes not to be caught and deported (Griswold, 2009, p. 4).
The crime rate of the recent immigrants who are living in poverty continuously is decreasing as compared to the native born citizens who are living in poverty (Griswold, 2009, p.3). As the immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born U.S. population and even though most of the immigrants have less education and earn lower wages.
Butcher and Piehl studied thoroughly the connection of crime with immigrants and concluded that the immigrant incarcerations of male are two-thirds of native U.S. people. They also stated that the probability of incarceration of the immigrants, who spend more time in the U.S., reaches to the same level of natives (Butcher and Piehl, 2005, p.2). According these authors, the propensity of committing crime will be similar with natives as the immigrants spend more duration in the U.S.
The same authors concluded in another report from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, that foreign-born youth also less likely commit crimes than native-born youths (Butcher and Piehl, 1998, p. 484-486). According to Piehl's testimony before the Congress, while addressing the connection between immigrants and crime, he told that the immigration crime rate is lower than the native born in the order of the rate of natives and also found no evidence that the deportation of illegal immigrants causes lower immigration crime rate.
Similarly Rumbaut also stated that the crime rates of the immigrants were decreased since 1990 nationally and also in the main immigrant cities (Rumbaut, 2009, p. 124).
According to the U.S. government accountability office, in one of the report about 'Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jail' stated that the number of incarceration of the foreign aliens increased from about 42,000 at year end 2001 to about 49,000 at year-end 2004. ---13% increase, whereas 14% increase in U.S. citizens from 111,866 in 2001 to 129,804 in 2004. The majority of the incarcerated criminal aliens in 2004 was mainly from Mexico which accounts 63%. This report also stated that the federal cost on the criminal aliens who are in prison totaled about $5.8 billion from 2001 through 2004 (GAO, 2005, p. 9 and19). From this report it can be analyzed that the most of the incarcerated aliens are from the proximate countries.
Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. government devoted more on funding of state and local to enforce laws and criminal justice budgets in order to reduce crimes in the states such as California and New York where large immigrants populations (Horowitz, 2001, p 8).
Integration and Assimilation
Integration and acculturation of immigratns in the main stream society is an important social and cultural element. According to John Berry, integration is defined as acceptiing the new culture by maintaining their orginal culture and at the same time assimilation is defined as accepting the host country culture by rejecting their original culture (Berry, 2006, p. 168). Various researchers developed different definitions of the assimilitation process. Among that Park and Burgers definition was well known, which states that
"Process of interpenetration and fusion in which persons and groups acquire the memories, sentiments, and attitudes of other persons or groups, and, by sharing their experience and history, are incorporated with them in a common cultural life." (Park and Burgess, 1969, p. 735).
Later on various researchers modified the definition by considering different ethnic groups, majority and minorty groups. Among them, Gordon's seven dimentions of assimilations are considered to be well developed. According to the Gordon, Assimilation can be obtained by "cultural, social, marital, identificational, attitudinal, behavior receptional, and civic" dimensions (Gold and Rumbaut, 2006, p. 9).
In this present section, briefly some important elements such as Language, Sptial Patterns, Intermarriage, and Educational attainment, which are necessary to understand the assimilation and integration of immigrants are discussed. Language is one the main element in order to adjust and socialize in to the main stream society. In the same way, Spatial Patterns of the immigrant groups also dictate the assimilation and integration process. The relations between different ethnic groups will help to interchange various cultures and tradtions which helps to obtain integration. In addition, education of the immigrants also important to have good understanding and to assimilate into the main stream culture.
Language is an important issue for immigration and their social acculturation because many aspects of acculturation are connected with the language. Most people speak or use English for communication in the United States even though it is not an official language. The English proficiency of immigrants is an essential social element in order to understand their assimilation and integration in American society.According to American community survey of U.S. census in 2009 found that among the total American population 307 million, about 80% people speak English in their home. The second most spoken language after English is Spanish accounts for about 10%. (U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 2009). Spanish is treated as immigrant language as the Hispanic immigrants are the largest immigrant group among foreign born population.
After enactment of 1965 act, majority of the recent immigrants came on the basis of family sponsored and immediate relatives of the U.S. citizens and major numbers are from Latin America and Asia. Due to mass migration from various linguistic cultural places, language became a main concerning factor in American society in recent times. Due to high economic and social opportunities, most of the immigrants who came to U.S. or willing to come to U.S. are highly motivated to learn English. Generally high proportion of immigrants, who came from countries such as Hong Kong, India, and the Philippines, have higher level of English proficiency as the English is spoken widely in their homeland. From non-English-speaking countries, a relatively lower levels of proficiency can be observed. It is hard and necessary for them to learn English before or after coming immediately to U.S. in order to integrate in to the main stream.
The ability of English proficiency is highest for the immigrants who come from the English spoken countries such as Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and so on. Due to this reason, it is very easy for them to assimilate into the American culture.
The immigrants who came as refugees are considered to have poor English language skills however the second generation from these immigrants has dramatically improved their language skills. For example Vietnamese U.S-born children attained more proficiency in English (Alba and nee, 2003, p. 223-224).
Over time and experiencing by listening and hearing to the English, the immigrants who are poor in English tend to increase their level of proficiency. The younger immigrants are more likely to learn faster than the adult immigrants. In contrast, the older immigrants who came to the U.S. on the basis of family relations usually show poor ability of English language. However they tried to learn English in order to communicate and interact with their grand children or the second generation. Language Assimilation is quite important with the generations. Most of the offspring from the first generation immigrants learn and speak English in the schools, however majority of foreign born immigrants maintain bilingualism. They use their own language in their home as spoken language and use English outside of their home. It is obvious that the U.S. born children of the immigrants attain high level of English proficiency. For example the U.S.-born children from the Chinese in San Francisco, Cubans in Miami, and Koreans in Los Angeles are with high level of English proficiency (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 220-225).
English language is nowadays treated as universal language and most of the parents are stressing their children to learn English and also due to globalization English is becoming an internationally accepted language (Ibid., p. 221. The English language is also playing major role for the low skilled immigrants in America. Some of the immigrant employees who are proficient in English, used to obtain incentives and have chance to get promotions.
There is a continuous increase in using English at home among all the groups of U.S. born generations. It has been reported that there is an increase among the second generation U.S.-born immigrants of households who use English in their home as compared to first generation. There is a sharp rise among the third generation group as compared to the first and second. About 24% of the first generation Hispanics and 23% Asian first generation immigrants speak English in their home however this numbers increased in the second generation to more than 35% for the second generation (Ibid., p. 224).
The language assimilation is an important element of acculturation. Great majority of people are able to speak English however majority of the people maintain bilingualism by speaking their own language at home. However this second generation tends to decrease this pattern of keeping the bilingualism and third generation completely maintaining only English at their home. In contrast to many immigrant groups, most of the second and third Hispanic immigrant generations are still maintaining bilingualism as their native proximate countries (Ibid., p. 228).
Immigrants residence and distribution is an important factor in order to have knowledge of assimilation of immigrants. The immigration history before 1965 provides that the immigrants usually settled in groups and segregate specifically limited to some areas where their ethnic groups used to cluster (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 248) This residential segregation is usually due to similar culture, sometimes language, history, comfort, feeling homely and easy interaction between each other. Similarly recent immigration after 1965 settled heavily in ethnic enclaves where high concentrations of their ethnic groups reside. (Hirschman et al., 1999, p. 155).
After the enactment of 1965 immigration act, mass migration from Latinos and Asians in addition to many refugees and asylums entered to U.S. and settled heavily in a small number of states and metropolitan areas. For example, 80% of immigrants after late 1980s, primarily settled in six states, California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Illinois and highly segregated in specific metropolitan cities which are called as 'Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas' by U.S. census bureau (Ibid.).
Federal government tried to distribute the new immigration around the country in order to have spatial assimilation. For example, when mass number of Cuban in 1960s and Vietnamese people in 1970s who entered to U.S. as refugees, the placement of settlement was determined by government agencies and scattered these people without having any segregation of these groups, however the secondary immigrants from these countries are again concentrating exemplified by Orange County, California, for Vietnamese and Miami for Cubans (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 249).
The settlement patterns are determined by different factors such as ethnicity, language, profession, education and socioeconomic background (ref). It is desirable to a country to have distributed spatial pattern for better assimilation in the main stream country when the different group of immigrants segregate evenly. However it is not the case for the recent migration such as Hispanics, Blacks and Asians.
The residential pattern is one of the main indicators of assimilation and to know how immigrants are adopting and acculturating the main stream of American society and culture. The even spatial distribution or spatial assimilation is key factor in interethnic relations and decides social nature and behavior of the immigrants such as the personal bonds and communication between different groups
Spatial assimilation is decided how evenly immigrants or ethnic groups distributed among white neighborhoods (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 260).
Geographic concentration mainly due to the immigrants social networks, unfamiliarity with American society, non proficiency of English language and the easy accessibility of assistance from kin and co-ethnics (Hirschman et al., 1999, p. 156). Spatial assimilation normally can be obtained by moving away from the ethnic concentrations and dispersing among the white neighborhood which is normally observed in European descent groups and recent immigration groups.
According to 2000 census, there is a continuous slow decrease of black - white segregation has been reported in 1990s and no change was observed in Hispanic and Asian segregation (Logan, et al., 2004, p. 1).
The metropolitan residential segregation usually explained with the index of dissimilarity which means how evenly different immigrant ethnic groups are distributed among white neighborhoods in metropolitan areas. According to recent research based on the index of dissimilarity, Asian and Hispanics are less segregated than African Americans (Hirschman etal., 1999, p. 156).
Analysis based on 1990 U.S. Census, the dissimilarity index was 0.43 between Hispanics and non-Hispanics, This is similar to the 1980 index calculated in an equivalent way. Similarly the dissimilirity index was 0.43 between Asians from non-Asians, showing a small increase as compared to 1980 value which was 0.41. However by contrast, this index is greater for blacks which was 0.64 (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 252).
The recent immigration increasingly concentrates in the new areas as a result of segregation and some of the ethnic groups are concentrating more in suburban areas than the inner city enclaves. For example, the Chinese in Monterey Park in Los Angeles shows the distinctive contemporary spatial patterns.
The new immigrants normally choose the suburbs immediately after their arrival to the U.S. which is similar to the earlier European migration who generally settled in the urban enclaves and the later generations of them migrated to suburbs (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 254).
Even though the recent Asian and Hispanic immigrants entering in mass numbers rapidly to their group communities already rooted strongly, there is not much change in the dissimilarity index which shows that the segregation of new Asian and Hispanic immigrant populations is not extreme (Hirschman etal., 1999, p. 156).
This can be observed especially among Asians, for example, in 1990 the Chinese immigrants were the second largest non-Anglo group in Los Angeles, only 14% of Chinese Angelino among Chinese resided in a census tract with nearly 40% of Anglo neighbors. Even heavy immigration concentration regions, it is usual for many reside outside of the areas of concentration which is the case for 52% of new York's Chinese in 1990, even though the existence of china towns and 55% of Mexicans from Los Angeles. The Indian high professional immigrants are an exception as compared to Chinese and Mexicans which is due to the profession and job (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 253).
The important determinant for the contemporary assimilation for the Asians and Latinos is their own socioeconomic position. The larger portion of non-Latino whites exists as their neighbors when their income is greater and having higher education level (Hirschman etal., 1999, p. 157).
Various determinants were proposed by Alba-Logan which contributes to special assimilation apart from socioeconomic position, Linguistic acculturation, skin color among Latinos and the generation trend.
Latinos and the bilinguals who speak their mother tongue at home but also proficient in English, usually concentrate in their neighborhoods who do not speak English at home, and reside normally with non-Latino whites (Hirschman etal., 1999, p. 157). The middle class of second generation of Asians and Hispanics who are linguistically assimilated show less residential dissimilarity with whites (Alba and Nee, 2003, p. 257).
It is evident from the 2000 census that the dispersal of Mexican and Asian immigrants increased during 1990s and blacks continued to segregate much more than whites than were Hispanics or Asians during this period (Logan, et al., 2004, p. 7).
Logan et al concluded from 2000 census data based on their models that Hispanics with higher income levels approached to whites and a sharp decrease in the their segregation from whites in between 1980 and 2000. Also they stated that foreign born Hispanics segregation increased which is in the opposite direction for Asians (Logan, et al., 2004, p. 19).
Intermarriages: Interracial or interethnic marriages
The intermarriage is one of the determinants of immigrant assimilation into the American mainstream society. Majority of the people with same group or same races of people usually marry. The growing rate of intermarriage between different groups since 1960s according to the U.S. census, CPS 2006 data shows social assimilation of the immigrants (http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2006.html).
According to the U.S. census data, a small portion of white American men (1.9%), women (2.2%) of total, married non-white (U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 2009). Even though this is a small portion, the intermarriages between white and non-white is are increasing rapidly in recent times.