The History Of Immigrants' Movements

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From the chinese workers during the gold rush to the farm hands from Mexico we see today migrant workers have become an contentious population but are an integral part of American society. Race and religion has become a point of debate within the complex narratives of immigrants. The conversation about immigration in America is entrenched with our nationalistic and racist tendencies. Some people tend to demonize immigrants as people who are reaping benefits from our system and stealing opportunities from hard-working white Americans. This stems from the system of entitlement that is embedded in our history. From the time America gained independence white people in America had created a government and system that quietly benefitted them in many ways.

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In 1790 there was a naturalization act that only granted citizenship to immigrants who were “free white persons of good character this excluding American Indians, indentured servants, slave, free blacks and Asians”. This law was only overturned in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 which prohibits racial and gender discrimination in naturalization. The actions by our government during this time period was motivated by our ethnocentricity and the belief that white people are superior. This has since been embedded in our societal dialogue towards immigrants. Overtime this type of racism has been reincarnated into different forms such as policies, attitudes and exploitation in America. For example in America there has been generalizations of many different immigrant groups that creates erasure of complex experiences to stereotypes.

People view most social occurrences from their own subject position which leads to a misunderstanding and inability to empathetically see from other people’s experiences. They are embracing fallacies instead of truth which in turn enables the selective perception of a stereotype. People are only willing to see immigration by how it affects them the actuality of the situation becomes an inconvenient fact. From this book we can see the reality of an immigrant’s condition and if they truly benefit from our system. The actuality that this book provides about immigrants may help reshape the narrative. Descriptions of immigrants and all they have to endure come back to the questions of how we treat immigrants as humans in this country. It comes back to the idea that immigrants of color can be equal to white citizens in this country. People create false parallels which is the concept where two ideas or events are made to seem equivalent using but in truth is a logical fallacy. In this situation of false parallels they relate the employment issues in America to illegal immigrants receiving their jobs or they relate poverty in Latinx communities to Latinx people not being hard-working.

The truth of the matter is that there are a plethora of laws and acts that already protect us. For example if you want to immigrate to the U.S to work you must already have a job offer meaning you wouldn’t come here seeking for another American’s job and another provision is that if you want to stay in America after your time as a student in university you must have a job or company to sponsor you as soon as you graduate. In the book some concepts that I didn’t understand is how wealth stratification in different immigrant groups were less likely to experience marginalization when coming to America. An example is the “Model Minority Myth” because I completely understand how we lose sight of the fact that Asian’s of a lower poverty level that are erased from cultural schema due to generalizations exist but does that affect how people view Asian immigrants of a higher wealth status.

Race plays a big factor on how we view immigrants but and a concept I never learned about was how immigrants feel about the misconceptions before moving here. I never know if they learn the concepts before immigrating or after and how does that affect their choices in terms of moving to America. And a question that I would pose is how does the LGBTQ+ immigrant experience translate in America. Many LGBTQ+ people immigrate due to their safety according to laws or family situations. So how does that intersectionality of people a poc queer immigrants change the experience and how is the process different.

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