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US Immigration Policy Essay

Bloemraad’s Discussion of U.S.- Canada Differences in Citizenship Acquisition

In light of the lecture, Bloemraad explains U.S.- Canada differences in citizenship acquisition with a focus on two key aspects of citizenship including identity and status. Bloemraad explicates identity in the context of who am I, which highlights the feeling that one belongs to a particular country, and can be duly identified as such. This concept was crucial for immigrants in both of these areas to gain a full understanding of their personality and the nature of their association with either the U.S. or Canada. It was fulfilling for one to answer the question, who am I? Another significant aspect that Bloemraad focuses on in explaining citizenship acquisition differences is status (Lecture 8 and 9, p.100). In line with the lecture, status was measured by the possession of a passport. For instance, the strong link between a passport and recognition as being a citizen in both the U.S. and Canada was vital in boosting the status of one in the process of acquiring citizenship. Therefore, the basis of citizenship acquisition in the U.S. was whether or not one had the official passport. The two aspects are crucial in the understanding U.S.-Canada differences in citizenship acquisition.

Concept Illuminated by Portuguese and Vietnamese Comparison

The concept illuminated by the comparison between Portuguese and Vietnamese in Boston is that of the impact of state facilitation without multiculturalism. In line with the lecture, state facilitation entails all the assistance that the state is ready to provide to immigrants at any given time. Multiculturalism is characterized by the inclusion of these two groups into the normal society in Boston. This concept leads to the understanding that the Portuguese and Vietnamese groups in Boston received limited support as immigrants in the U.S. and suffered from the lack of inclusion in the society by main citizens in Boston (Lecture 8 and 9, p.120). On the other hand, the lack of multiculturalism tended to be a challenge to their citizenship agenda. The overall fact here is that it was a big challenge for immigrants to obtain citizenship in the U.S. because of the challenges emanating from limited state support and the lack of integration into the U.S.

The comparison between Vietnamese in Toronto and Boston is illuminated by the concept of the impact of multiculturalism with state facilitation. This helps to draw significant examples of the diverse lives that were lived by Vietnamese in Toronto and Boston. In tandem with the lecture, there is a presentation of the view that Vietnamese in Toronto had access to both multiculturalism and effective state support compared to those in Boston. Canada was more receptive to immigrants and the government was more dedicated to promoting naturalization among immigrants through strategic support and programs. On the other hand, the lecture highlights the view that Vietnamese in Boston did not have an easier chance to become naturalized compared to their counterparts in Toronto who were in a supportive environment to naturalize immediately.

The Light Shed by Each Contrast

The first contrast that comes from the comparison between Portuguese and Vietnamese in Boston points to the impact of state facilitation without multiculturalism. It sheds light on the view that unfriendly and less accommodative policies reduce the rate at which immigrants acquire citizenship.  For instance, the immigrants in Boston could not acquire faster citizenship because of policies that did not easily accommodate them as outsiders. Again, these policies tended to limit the amount of support they received from the government in terms of sustaining their lives as refugees. Therefore, this contrast brings out a clear view that policies against immigrants reduce the level of naturalization as they do not readily identify with the country.

The contrast emanating from Vietnamese in Toronto and Boston is emphasized by the impact of state facilitation with multiculturalism (Lecture 8 and 9, p.120). This contrast sheds out light on the policies that increase the rate at which immigrants become citizens by highlighting the significance of settlement and diversity programs. For instance, settlement  and diversity policies embraced by the Canadian government played an instrumental role in increasing the rate of naturalization among immigrants. This reiterates the view that immigrants would become easily integrated into the country as citizens in line with policies that support their living. These policies should also accommodate their identity as a part of multiculturalism.

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Sources of Continuity and Change in U.S. Immigration Policy

Sources of continuity and change in the U.S. immigration policy between the founding of the republic and the mid-1920s can be explained in line with Tichenor’s view and the views drawn from the lecture. The most significant source of continuity is the presence of immigration coalitions in the country. Tichenor emphasized the view that immigration coalitions were a significant source of continuity in the U.S. immigration policy. Drawing from the class lectures, there were significant coalitions such as those who restricted migrations, inter-regional alliances such as the anti-Asian movement, and interclass alliances such as the American Federation of Labor that remained divided over the immigration policy (Tichenor 16). There was a need to ensure that the country’s immigration policy continuous in order to acquire the required level of cheap labor needed for the performance of different tasks in the U.S. industries. These coalitions tended to endorse strong restrictions on the immigration of both Europeans and Asians into the U.S. hence providing a vital source for the continuity of the U.S. immigration policy.

The nature of political institutions was a significant source of continuity and subsequent change in the U.S. immigration policy. In line with this, Tichenor explains that the congressional structure was made in such a manner that the speaker had the central authority and could block any form of restrictions related to immigration in the U.S. This was crucial in ensuring the continuity of the immigration policy over a period. The lecture also brings this clear view hence boosting the understanding of the view that the rise to power of Republicans in 1919 facilitated changes with the introduction of deportation programs (Topic 6, p.11). This entailed the promotion of the restriction agenda that was not to allow further immigration into the U.S. In explaining political institutions as a source of change, it is worth acknowledging that rightist presidents opposed immigration control in the U.S. hence leading to the continuity of the policy over a long time before any amends were made. However, there was a continuous opposition of their position from their leftist partners who thought it was appropriate to control immigration in the U.S.

Expertise and ideas presents a significant source of change in the U.S. immigration policies up to the mid-1920s. Tichenor highlights the work of expertise such as the Dullingham commission that recommended the restriction of immigrants into the U.S. because they were a threat to the U.S. citizens in their own country. For instance, the lecture gives an example of the restriction of immigration from eastern and southern Europe because it was deemed an enormous threat to citizens of the U.S. This was a crucial source for leading to a change in the U.S. immigration policy because of the belief in the ideas presented by a range of experts on this controversial issue. It was crucial to be urgently changed in the mid-1920s to protect Americans from any form of threats.

Economic and national security presents another significant source of change in the immigration policy. This was characterized by the emergence of World War I and the emergence of the Great Recession. There was a need to introduce the quota system in terms of immigrants coming into the country to protect the interests of American citizens. The American public facilitated these changes through personal opinions on immigration (Tichenor 17). It is worth noting that the mass publics were highly opposed to the influx of immigrants and expressed their opinions directly through their public assertions. Language-tests played a vital role in enhancing the new immigration policy based on economic and national security as a source of change. The lecture brings out the view that most Americans embraced the sojourner past to remain opposed to present and future forms of immigration. This necessitated for the reduction in the immigrants flow into the country in the mid-1920s.

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Initial Conditions Shaping the Path of Immigration

The demand for immigrants in the U.S. represents one of the initial conditions shaping the path of immigration during this period. Immigrants were required in the U.S. due to the need for territorial expansion and the presence of employers who needed cheap labor for their industries. The most specific element to note here is that immigrants were perceived as a source of cheap labor that would help solve the problems that the U.S. was experiencing in terms of labor shortage. This favored the promoters of immigration who took the opportunity to convince the rest to accept it as a crucial tool to advance the U.S. with the cheap labor that was to be brought in.

Another significant initial condition shaping the path of immigration during this period was the presence of a weak state that did not have immigration restrictions. According to lecture notes, a weak state offered a crucial pathway for the influx of immigrants into the U.S., as there were no immigration controls to restrict the movement of immigrants into the country. This means that they would come in without any form of restrictions hence leading to their overpopulation into the U.S. Tichenor reiterates that the lack of control for immigration was itself a loophole leading to increased levels of immigration into the U.S. This witnessed the increase in the people living within the U.S., most of them were not actual citizens.

The last initial condition that shaped the path of immigration to this period was the access to politics. This refers to the allowance of immigrants to participate in the democratic process of voting. Immigrants got the opportunity to participate in elections and were perceived the swing votes for any particular candidate. For instance, the lecture offers the opportunity to understand that foreign-born citizens were given access to run for all elective offices except the Presidency. They got the right to vote in elections hence motivating them to come into the U.S. and exert their influence as a swing voting bloc on any day.

Influence on Later Controversies

The aforementioned initial conditions were vital in influencing the outcome of later controversies leading to the efforts to restrict European immigrants in the 19th Century. They influenced future controversies in the manner they increased the influx of immigrants into the U.S. They set the stage for immigrants to move into the U.S. freely, as there were no significant restrictions to limit it. Immigrants came into the country in large numbers, as there was a demand for cheap labor and the assurance of the territory expansion (Topic 7, p.12). It is important to acknowledge that these conditions influenced the outcome of initial ones because they brought in a large number of immigrants that played an enormous role in the provision of cheap labor to both existing and emerging industries in the company. However, the initial conditions had influenced the outcome of future controversies in the manner views were divided on the advantages and disadvantages of immigrants in the U.S.  The large role that immigrants had played in the performance of diverse duties in the U.S. led to the failure of the restriction against European immigrants in the 19th century.

Exogenous Factors Leading to the Victory of Restrictions

A number of exogenous factors played an assistive role in leading to the victory of restrictions on immigration in the mid- 1920s.

World wars represent one of the vital exogenous factors that led to the victory of restriction in the mid-1920s. In light of the lecture, there is an understanding that World War I boosted the victory of restriction in the mid-1920s (Topic 7, p.16). This was heightened by public opinion that wanted the regulation of immigrants coming into the U.S. from European countries that were the main participants in the World War. The victory was achieved because of the feeling that allowed so many people into the country and pulled the country into the undesirable among many citizens war.

Economic conditions, specifically the Great Depression, were a vital exogenous factor that led to the victory of restriction. The world was starting to experience a decline in economic performance even after the U.S. had undergone an economic boom during the Roaring 20s. The Great Depression provided a crucial stepping-stone for the victory of restrictions as America wanted to retain a population that it could dully provide for. The coming in of immigrants could have posed an enormous threat to its citizens and the entire country would have found it challenging to handle excessive populations.

Works Cited

Lecture 8 and 9. “Policy Change, 1930-2010.” Final (2013): 1-136.

Tichenor, Daniel J. Dividing Lines:The Politics of Immigration Control in America. New York: Princeton University Press, 2002. Print.

“Immigration Policy.” Final (2013): 1-50.

“The Advent of Restriction.” Final (2013): 1-91.

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