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IMMIGRATION AND DISCRIMINATION: HOW DO AMERICAN IMMIGRATION POLICIES MANIPULATE THE EXPERIENCES OF MINORITY GROUPS?

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Overview:

Throughout history, immigrant groups in the United States have been discriminated against and mistreated. Although different groups are targeted every time, the story remains the same. For example, Asian-Americans in the 1920’s and Latin-Americans today. Despite efforts to stop discrimination against immigrants, this discrimination continues to find its way in American Society.

(
“Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Immigrants.”)

My Interest:

When my mom was 15 she moved to the United States from Peru. I always wanted to know what her experience was like and this project seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that. I also became interested in this topic after discussing immigration in school. I began to realize the similarities between the treatment of different immigrant groups throughout history. I wanted to understand more about why different people are targeted and how the treatment of immigrants has evolved.

To read the full interest essay go here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MGkOM4MKSCz7veEkmzpfw1M4o-MjQhiON2K2w9ja-So/edit

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

History of the Problem:

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was “the first in U.S. history to differentiate by national origin”(Chen). The first Chinese Exclusion Act did not allow any immigration to the United States from China except for diplomats, travelers, college students, and merchants and their families (Pegler-Gordon). Although the Chinese Exclusions act was made to exclude all Chinese immigrants, the reason for the act was more of a way for the United States to show their dominance. The country wanted to display that immigrants were disposable and not welcomed as members of their community. For example, during World War II there was an immigration dip in the United States which led to severe labor shortages. The United States knew that they needed more Mexican and Chinese laborers, so they relaxed their restrictive immigration policy in order to ensure that the structure of their country would not change dramatically (Fairchild). This was a way for the country to use immigrants for their well being while still trying to leave them out of the picture as much as possible.
In the meeting of the rails photo at Promontory Point, Utah, not one of the Chinese laborers were in the photograph despite making up over 90% of the laborers (Pegler-Gordon). No matter how much work asian immigrants provided for the country, they were never fully accepted into the society. First generation Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and other Asian immigrants, “endured an openly hostile environment that denied them the housing, schooling, jobs, and other civil rights Americans now take for granted”(Ibata). Chinese immigrants “had never been fully welcome” but they were “encouraged to migrate by the promise of work in the United States” (Pegler-Gordon).

(
“Chinese Exclusion-era Laws Still on The Books in Florida.”)

In 1924, another Immigration Act was put in place which introduced the quota system, which favored northwestern European immigration (Pegler-Gordon).  This system capped immigration at 150,000 people per year and allowed 2% of each race according to the United States population measured in the census of 1890. (Fairchild). Although the original intent behind the quota system “was to restrict immigration efficiently and mathematically but to end racial discrimination against Asiatics by establishing a system that would include all foreign countries”, the system favored the predominant race and opened the door to restrictions on immigration towards other immigrant groups (Ly).

To read the full historical research essay go here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FMrnD97k-7Ds70ROSExinydwZuw2sPUlcvUozFehFLk/edit

The Present Problem:

(Clontz)

 In 2010, Arizona proposed a bill, SB-1070, that would require “state and local law enforcement to check the immigration status of individuals suspected of being undocumented, and make it a state crime for non-citizens to fail to carry proper immigration documentation” (Almeida, Joanna, et al.). If passed, this bill would legalize racial profiling and discrimination. Although this bill does not directly state that those who will be stopped are latino, based on the common belief that “all Latinos are presumed to be immigrants and all immigrants are seen as undocumented”, this bill targets all latinos regardless of their legal status (Almeida, Joanna, et al.). Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina all attempted to implement similar bills in their states after Arizona, creating an unwelcome environment in 5 states. “47% of latinos say that where they live, other latinos have fewer employment opportunities simply because they are latino” and “78% of Latinos believe that there is discrimination against Latinos in America today” (Lopez, Mark, Hugo, et al).

On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (often referred to as DACA). This Program allows those who were brought to the United States under the age of 16 to request for Deferred Action. which allows them to stay in the United States for two years until they are required to renew their status (“DACA Historical Information.”). This program allows families to stay together and shows immigrants that Americans wanted to accept them into their society. DACA allows children to thrive and take advantage of everything that the United States has to offer. After that large step forward by the Obama administration to welcome immigration into American culture, President Donald Trump has focused on creating stricter immigration laws and reversing the progress that was previously made. The Trump Administration is fighting to eliminate DACA and they are also trying to rescind Temporary Protective Status which currently allows 300,000 people to stay in the country.

To read the whole present problem essay go here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YEJCCXPL0CKdVrq3BFnwAyREUDYQvpYkt2mDcJPxpoE/edit

For Now!

Micro Solutions:

  1. Be an advocate! If there are immigrants being singled out or mistreated it is important to speak up. There are many times where minorities who are being mistreated do not feel empowered enough to stand up for themselves. For those who have the power to stand up for them it is important to use that power when it is needed. Even if one is not participating in any of the racism or mistreatment, it is not enough to sit back and do nothing. 
  2. Encourage people to vote! It is important to fight against discriminatory laws. The best way to be sure that an entire community of people feel as safe and welcome as possible is if they are encouraged to make their voices heard. 

Macro Solutions:

  1. When children gain citizenship into the United States they should immediately be provided with free access to additional educational aid. Oftentimes when families first move to the United States they do not have the resources to provide their child with whatever help they need in school. If educational aid was made more accessible for immigrant children it will help them be the best they can be and provide them with better opportunities when they grow older.
  2. Cities with large amounts of Latin American immigrants need to have free and accessible programs for immigrants to learn about how to get a job and give them job opportunities. Latin American immigrants, especially those who are not proficient in English have a hard time trying to start their lives in America. In order for latinos to be viewed as equal to White Americans, there needs to be more accessible programs in order to provide Latin American immigrants with a more stable lifestyle in the United States. 

Works Cited:

To view my works cited go here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1b5aP7ng83GBFiKMBJ_yIgZ8BDZyFvPLyVs1I5MVvDTY/edit

Comments!

After reading my web page, please leave me some thoughts in the comment section!

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COMMENTS: 1
  1. April 24, 2020 by Yifei Qin

    Hi Lexi,
    First of all, I think the issue you’ve chosen to cover is a great topic. As an international student from China who spent quite a few years growing up in New York City, I always looked at the U.S. as a country full of immigrants. I started noticing racial segregation when I moved to New Jersey in fourth grade and later in high schools. Personally, I am only familiar with the Chinese/Asian immigration community, but the information you provided made me realized that there is such a great amount of immigrants in the States, yet these immigrants are still the minority. I noticed that you’ve covered the discrimination for different races of immigrants. But still, I am wondering what is the difference between these different immigrants from different countries. For instance, what is the average educational level and salaries they hold or the different types of microaggressions people hold towards them?

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