The lasting value of legal immigration for the United States of America

Essay, 2007

11 Pages, Grade: A (85%)

Abstract or Introduction

The United States of America has always been a nation of immigrants. After the earlier settlement by Europeans, the next great wave of immigration started in 1840 and ended in 1924. Another wave of immigration can be dated from 1960 to the present. From the year 1970 to the year 2000, the U.S. has admitted more than 20 million people as legal permanent residents (LPRs). In the fiscal year of 2006, the U.S. admitted a total number of 1,266,264 LPRs. Immigration is controlled by a policy that aims at several purposes. Besides the economic goals of increasing U.S. productivity and the U.S. standard of living, it serves the important social goal of unifying families, the socio-cultural goal of promoting diversity in the U.S. population, the economic goal of increasing America’s prosperity, and the political goal of maintaining stable demographics. In short, the main focuses of legal immigration are the socio-cultural, economic, and political goals. According to Linda Chavez, author and chairperson of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Washington, D.C., debates about immigration have become “one of the most controversial public-policy debates in recent memory” . To weigh the benefits of legal immigration, it is essential to know its difficulties. In fact, the advantages of legal immigration not only counterbalance its problems, but also illustrate the need of legal immigrants for the U.S. in terms of socio-cultural, economic, and political factors. Nonetheless, legal immigration is only beneficial with a proper immigration policy. For this reason the proposal of a point system by George J. Borjas, an economist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, seems to be the right step to guide a reform of American legal immigration policy.
Socio-cultural, economic, and political benefits of legal immigrants
First, immigrants are willing to adapt themselves to the American cultural principles and contribute social, economic, and political benefits. Instead of disrupting the societal coherence, or changing American culture, the majority of immigrants not only adapts to the American way of life, but enriches it through diversity. Chavez underlines that immigrants integrate themselves much better into American life than is commonly believed. One indicator, for instance, is the population’s high rate of Hispanic intermarriage, where one quarter of Hispanics marries outside their ethnic group. Wattenberg and Zinsmeister conclude as follows:


The lasting value of legal immigration for the United States of America
Topics in U.S. Public Policy
A (85%)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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409 KB
Excellent term paper
United, States, America, Topics, Public, Policy
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Julia Geigenberger (Author), 2007, The lasting value of legal immigration for the United States of America, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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