Immigration to the United States is a major source of population growth and cultural change for most of U.S. history. Economic, social and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy in regard to ethnic, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlements, impact on upward social mobility, crime, and Voting Behavior, as described in The Benefits of Immigration to the U.S. Economy. In 2006, the United States accept more legal immigrants as permanent residents than any other country in the world put together. With the liberalization of immigration policy in 1965, the number of first-generation immigrants living in the United States quadrupled, from 9,6 million in 1970 to about 38 million in 2007. As a fact, 1046539 persons have been naturalized U.S. citizen in 2008.
The leading countries of immigration to the U.S. – are Mexico, India and the Philippines. Although the influx of new residents from different cultures presents some challenges, “The United States has always been energized its immigrants”¯ – said President Bill Clinton in 1998 ”“ “America is constantly gaining in strength and spirit of the coming wave after wave of immigrants.”¯ Family reunification is about two-thirds of legal immigration to the United States each year, according to Immigration and Labor in the U.S. Economy.
It can be said that immigrants in the U.S. have shaped the American Economy. Immigration to the United States is an important part of American foreign policy. Immigrants play an important role in the development of the country. I must say that most of them are skilled professionals, businessmen, cultural workers and artists, scientists or people who just managed to get quite a complex process of immigration.
Given the gap between North America and Eurasia, most of the migration phenomenon in U.S. history entailed a risky process for travelers. In fact, despite advances in transportation in the second half of the twentieth century, the journey is difficult, costly and dangerous for those who illegally cross the US-Mexico border.
Recent immigration-related proposals have suggested the application of existing laws regarding illegal immigrants, the construction of a barrier in some or all of the 2000-mile (3200 km) US-Mexico border and the creation of a new guest worker program, as described by Kelly Lytle Hernandez. Through much of 2006, the country and Congress were immersed in a debate on these proposals. Since March 2007, some of these proposals have become laws, though a partial border fence was approved. Many cities, including Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Jersey City, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Baltimore, Seattle, Portland and Oregon. Portland and Maine, have adopted “sanctuary”¯ ordinances banning police from asking people about their immigration status, according to Kitty Calavita.
In May 2010 was created a law, SB1070 Arizona, 1, which is the most comprehensive and strict for illegal immigration in recent decades. This law has received national and international attention and provoked a considerable controversy.
In general, it is possible to conclude that migration policies in the United States since 1965 have rarely achieved their objectives or have had mixed results. By incorporating the theories of Stephen Castles20, we can explain this by several constants:
The inability to analyze and predict long-term consequences of migration: the migrant is not a rational individual who chooses the beginning when policies are tightening, the migration process is part of the long time (departure, marriage, children’s education”¦) while the electoral mandates only last a few years, as described by Mae M. Ngai.
The inability to find consensus in the government and other major actors of migration policies, for example during the vote of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986: the discourse of the administration was to penalize employers that 21 was never implemented because of excessive lobbying by farmers in the south west of the country”¦
The mismatch between objectives and tools of public policy that does not take migration into an integral dimension of militarization of the border with Mexico, which strengthens the illegal networks and does not reduce the flow of migrant primarily driven by dependence countries of departure towards discounts is the obvious example.
It is also possible to wonder about the future of migration policy in particular during the tenure of Barack Obama elected in 2009 who was able to drain votes from both Democrats and traditional American citizens from immigrant backgrounds including Hispanic. Barack Obama resumed his campaign in the possibility of legalization of undocumented migrants as George W. Bush had proposed in its draft Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 22. Mc Cain had for its part considered that this type of amnesty was “too easy”¯ and it was better to give priority to sanction employers of undocumented to reduce the flow of economic migrants.