Sample Cultural and Ethnic Studies Critical Thinking Paper on Immigration Reform

 Immigration Reform

Immigration reforms have been initiated in many countries to address the challenges facing the immigrants. The United States is referred to as the land of many opportunities, and therefore more people flock the area to in search of a better life. The country is also known for its democratic tendencies. Thus, immigrants know that they will be treated in a better way compared to other countries. Initially, the immigrant population was never a factor in the early stages as people flocked (Lyndsey and Audrey). However, the large numbers forced the United States to rethink its policies concerning immigrants. In the long run, the country established stringent policies aimed at reducing the  number of undocumented individuals entering through its porous borders. The policies have been in place since 1986 though they have not had the desired effect or change.

 Children born to immigrants while in the United States have the same rights as other children and even go to schools. They are recognized as citizens of the United States. The case is different for their parents and other family members. The naturalization process is itself very complicated for most of the immigrants who did not receive a good education (Lyndsey and Audrey). Additionally, they are required not to have any form of criminal record. They are also supposed to provide evidence that they have been paying their taxes for the entire period that they were in the United States.

History of Immigration Reforms

Immigration reform is a term used to infer to policies that have been put in place to address issues that relate to immigration. The word reform is used mean that there will be an improvement in the lives of people. It may also mean past mistakes and abuses will be  corrected. Politically, it is used to mean to promote, develop, expand, and have open immigration rather than sneaking in different countries at different periods. 

The recent immigration reform in the United States is the Immigration Reform and Control Act. This act was passed through the legislative framework in 1986. It banned the hiring of any illegal immigrants present in the United States. It also banned any attempt to recruit new immigrants in the United States. The law never provided any legal means through which immigrants present in the United States would get any form of employment (“Obama Struggling with Immigration Rules and Cruelties of Deportation”). In the same year that this law was enacted, millions of immigrants crossed over and entered the country. At this time., it was estimated that close to five percent of the United States workforce came from immigrants with more than seventy percent having come from Mexico. The two countries attempted to sign immigration rules permitting entry of Mexicans to United States, but it never went through due to the September 11 attacks. From that point, the House of Representative has formulated several bills. Some of these reforms have been Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, Border Protection, Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, and the Anti-terrorism (“Obama Struggling with Immigration Rules and Cruelties of Deportation”). Few of the bills managed to pass through to become laws because irreconcilable differences were never resolved. Issues relating national activism and politics have affected all the Legislative negotiations and other aspects. Barack Obama notes that the immigration issues is a thorny one that even the current government has  failed to come up with effective measures (“Obama Struggling With Immigration Rules And Cruelties Of Deportation”). In all of the bills that have been formulated six issues have always remained to be the most important. The issues range from fixing border enhancement , preventing people who lack work permits from working, enforcements of visa overstays, the creation of committees that address issues revolving  around visa , establishing legal paths of naturalizing immigrants and  coming up with programs that address changes to the life of immigrants.

Ethnic Hierarchy

Immigration in the United States is closely linked to ethnic hierarchy. The majority of people who immigrate going entering this country come from Mexico, which is largely classified as a Hispanic nation. Immediately they enter they have never treated the same way as other citizens of the United States. Their wages are lower compared to those provided to the normal citizens. Due to this, they are a good source of cheap labor in the country. A certain form of hierarchy exists in the United States. The White majority are always on top of the hierarchy followed by the other minority communities such as the African – Americans and the Latinos or Hispanics community (Lyndsey and Audrey). Since the majority of the people immigrating to the United States are from Mexico, they are all assumed to be Hispanics and are therefore treated differently.  Some supremacists in the country do not consider even Hispanic Americans to be part and parcel of the United States.

The hierarchy has divided the country into different segments making it more impossible to pass any immigration reforms. Hispanic Americans would always argue for the rights of their fellow immigrants, and since they form a certain percentage of the populace, it becomes difficult to implement an idea that would render politicians into their graves.  Several regimes have exchanged hands on this thorny issue, but a compromise has not been effected to formulate it into law.

Power conflict theories have been associated with the immigration refers. The natives and majority population, which are white would never want to be interested in better immigration reforms since it means that they will have to share the same kinds of jobs and other opportunities with the minority community (Lyndsey and Audrey). Thus, they tend to oppose such kinds of law basing on this thinking method. If adequate reforms were in place the power-conflict. 

The psychological theory implies there is a perception that one community is dominant over the other communities. They do this by setting a mindset that people from the other communities are below them in the society. This attitude of prejudice affects people of the other communities making them have a low sense of belief in the existing systems that are in place. Normative theoryhypothesizes and states what is right and wrong in the current society. It also states what is undesirable from the society though it is continually practiced irrespective of the information that is available to all parties in the society (Lyndsey and Audrey). These three theories of prejudice emphasize the notion that one community is better than the other one in the process creating different levels of stratification in the society. These theories of stratification ensure that most people minority communities remain at the bottom of the classes. Therefore, if they come from low strata and are connected with issues relating to immigration, then there are high chances that the issues they face may go unresolved in the society. Ethnic stratification has established different categories in the society. These levels include the majority community in the highest strata level.  This commonly refers to the white majority in the society. The second strata level would belong to the Latinos and African –Americans (Marger 29) It is nearly impossible for different parties at the bottom of the bottom of the strata to implement any changes immigration. The higher strata formulate all laws and would use that the lower strata have less involvement in such kind of laws (Marger 27). All these practices are enforced because they are more interested in maintaining their power and position in the current society. If at any point issues relating to immigration arises, then there are higher chances that there will be a conflict between different powers.

The Future

Immigration reforms legislation that addresses the rights of immigrants, as well as the well being of a country, will become a critical issue in countries that are developed. The United States must come up with a strategy that will put this problem to bed. One thing that is constant is that the number of immigrants coming to the United States will continue to increase. If necessary laws  are not in place, then there are high chances that the issue will one day blow out of proportion. A good piece of legislative work should target addressing concerns  relating to issues of racial and ethnic discrimination. Overall, major strides will be made in this area if all parties break the stratification levels that have classified one race greater than the others have. This might be the only future way that countries such as the United States would become better for all citizens to live in.

Works Cited

“Immigration Reform – Executive Action On Immigration News – NBC News”. NBC News.        N.p., 2016.            Web. 7 May 2016.

“Obama Struggling With Immigration Rules And Cruelties Of Deportation”. Washington Post.     N.p., 2016.            Web. 7 May 2016.

Lyndsey, Layton and Singer Audrey. “Area Immigrants Top 1 Million”. Washingtonpost.com.      N.p., 2006.            Web. 5 May 2016.

Marger, Martin N. Race and ethnic relations: American and global perspectives. Cengage  Learning, 2011.