What reasons motivate people to immigrate to the United States?
We know that most newcomers leave behind poverty and unemployment in their homelands in search of better fortunes in America. However, research on this subject suggest that the causes of immigration are often more complex and numerous than most assume. The capacity of natural disasters, environmental crises, overpopulation, wars, and civil unrest to uproot and set in motion millions of people around the globe and refugee and asylum policies that extend relief to some non-citizens fleeing political, ethnic, religious, and gender persecution. This is but a short list of the different reasons to mass immigration to the United States today. Evaluating the causes of U.S. immigration can reveal a great deal about recent immigrants, their homelands, and America’s image abroad.
Daniel Tichenor from the Rutgers University states in his essay U.S.A. Immigration, “The story of the American people is a story of immigration and diversity.” Each immigrant in this country has a different reason of why he or she came to the United States. Throughout the years the reasons change for the new immigrants; according to the American Immigration Web Page, “from 1607-1830 the major reasons were political freedom, religious tolerance, economic opportunity, people wanting a better life, better job, more money and some were forced to leave because of slavery.”
There are two types of motivation for immigration “push” and “pull” factors. According to Daniel Tichenor, push factor is “the need to leave in order to survive.” Push factor is the case of the people that was mentioned before, the people that have to leave their country for political freedom, religious tolerance, and the slavery. An example of this is the case of Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, and Senegal. “These countries involve men looking for a job education, and escaping from persecution, and over a period the process is followed by family reunification migration and family formation migration” (push and pull factors of International Migration web page).
Pull factor is when the people are attracted for what they could have in other country, like economic opportunity, better opportunity of to get a career, they want a better life. It is the case of Mexico. When Mexicans immigrants came to the United States; they are looking for better economic life. The difference between the dollar and the peso (Mexican coin) is too much, one dollar in the actuality are around eleven pesos with fifty cents, so Mexican men came to the U.S.A. to get a job, and they usually send the money they earn to their families in Mexico. In some of the cases after a few years, they bring all their family to the U.S.A. for family reunification.
In some cases people have both “pull” and “push” motivations to immigrate to the United States; it is the case of Cubans. Cubans come to the United States for political freedom, escaping from Fidel Castro, and looking for a better life and more economic opportunities.
As we can see, both “pull” and “push” factors in most of the cases end with the same phrase “family reunification.” Everyone who goes to other country looking for freedom or a better life need more than that, they need a family who share all the good things with, but someone who wants to live in the United States needs a citizenship or at least a residency to do it.
Some of the countries have more facilities than others to get the necessary documents to live in the U.S.A. For example, for Cuba it is easier than for other countries to get the residency. “Until 1985, there was no quota for Cubans entering the United States via normal immigration procedures as there was for other immigrant groups.” In the past, both documented and undocumented Cubans who came to the U.S.A. were welcome, “Cuban undocumented entrants have always had special status, while entrants from other countries have been required to demonstrate that they were fleeing political persecution to be granted refugee status.”
It is known for all around the world that Cuba has very strong political problems, and this is the reason of why they have this special status, since 1996 “the Attorney General has had discretionary power to guarantee permanent residency to any Cuban who has been in the United States for a year, including those on visitor’s visas who have overstayed the period delineated in their visas.” (All quotes are from the Web Page, Cubans have a very strong sense of cultural identity.)
For other countries it is more difficult to get the U.S.A. residency, for example the case of Mexico. In the past if a child had been born in the United States, the parents become U.S.A. citizens as same as the child. Over the years this rule changed, in the actuality there are just two ways to become a citizen for the Mexicans, the firs one is that you by yourself submit the application to the U.S.A. embassy, and wait until all the process is ready and they’ll call you for the interview, they the people who works in the embassy, check all your status, and if you cover all the requirements they will give you the U.S.A. residency. The second way is that someone of your family, and it has to be a parent or a brother, send to the embassy a request that say that they want you to be in the country, after this it is the same process than the first one, but you have more opportunity to be accept because one member of your family is requiring you to be in the country. Only after 5 years you can apply for the citizenship.
A problem that new generations could find is the lost of traditions. For example in the past, the children of immigrants learned English, but they didn’t learn their parents’ first language. But this problem could be resolve; recently, Americans have placed greater value on diversity, ethnic groups having renewing and celebrating their heritage, and the children of immigrants often growing up being bilingual.
The United States has welcomed more immigrants than any other country, more than 50 million in all, and still admits between 500,000 to 1 million persons a year. Although for some countries is too difficult to be legally in the United States, more people want to come, and it is good for the country, because we need this people, they are the labors, the workers, important people. It is the people who make the difference in the country.
Work Cited Page.
Tichenor, Daniel J. U.S.A. Immigration,
Rutgers University, February, 2000. (Immigration Web page.)
NIDI/EUROSTAT. Push and pull Factor of International Migration,
Eurostat. May, 2000 (Push and Pull factors web page.)
Cubans have a very strong sense of cultural identity.
Cuban Immigration to the United States. February 18, 2004 (Web Page of Cuban Immigration, the date shown is the last day the page was updated.)