Analyzing the Definition of Illegal Immigration and how Immigration has Affected American Value

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Updated: Nov 27, 2019
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Analyzing the Definition of Illegal Immigration and how Immigration has Affected American Value essay


The focus of our group for this project is illegal immigration and how it has shaped the mindset of people in America today. Our research question following the topic is “To what extent has immigration affected American values and how do people define immigration?” For the purpose of paper, this definition will serve as a guideline: Immigration is t?he action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. Imbedded in this definition is the questionable interpretation of the word “action.” The differences point to lead to a debate about the two distinct points of view on the entry process. Recently, the concept of immigration has moved from the original definition to one that stirs controversy. Division occurs when one group believes that the United States should enforce laws that protect the borders in order to prevent further illegal immigration into America, and those who argue that immigrants should be welcomed into the country. Over the course of many years, the discussion surrounding illegal immigration has become a controversial subject. The team will be analyzing the various options for immigration and evaluating the parameters of illegal immigration. A common rationale for allowing immigration rests on a study that reveals the positive impact on the economic base. The argument centers on the premise that, despite the fact that the immigrants constitute only 13 percent of the population, immigrants encompass 16 percent of the labor force.

Immigration is the international movement of people into a foreign country of which they are not locals or where they do not have citizenship in order to settle or reside there. Their rationale may be to establish permanent residency or become a naturalized citizens, or to seek employment as a migrant worker or temporarily as a foreign worker. The team chose this topic because it is such a widely discussed subject and studied through a range of perspectives. Given the various sources of information and differing opinions on the reasons for immigration, there is no specific consensus as to the reasons for immigrants to abandon their native home in order to rebuild a life in a foreign environment. However, due to the fact that illegal immigration has been an ongoing inconclusive argument, a clarity in language may help in understanding the complex issue. In order to review the complexity of the immigration, the team elected to review the options through the political, economic, historical, and social lens. This paper will focus on the cultural and social aspects with insights on the humanistic facets of immigration from the perspective of an observational journalist. While reviewing the multiple outlooks on immigration, one must consider that the populace in America are composed of immigrants who have shared their morals and values and ingrained these ideas into American culture. Studies indicate that the immigrants chose to integrate into the mainstream culture while maintaining aspects of their heritage of their country of origin.. As such, this paper will analyze how recent immigrants have affected American value and adapted to American culture. The team has researched the interview process for legal immigration and asylum seekers.

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Currently, the four main questions explored by the governmental agencies and private entities include: (1) “In what ways are illegal immigrants being dehumanized and misinterpreted?”, (2) “What are the different types of immigration”, (3) “Why do immigrants feel the need to travel to a foreign country to reconstruct their lives in a new place?” and (4) “How have immigrants adapted to American culture while still maintaining their own?” The rationale for seeking answers to their question rests on clarifying misconceptions about the issue of immigration. Results from these questions may provide the populace with insights into the psychological reasons for immigration. In addressing the components of the first question, US Department of Justice has highlighted the argument on July 25th 2018. In order to provide clarity to the status, the DOJ has instructed US attorneys not to use the term “undocumented” immigrant and instead refer to illegal immigrants as an “Illegal Alien”. Using the United States Code of Law (aka US Code) as justification, the US DOJ has deemed ?all ?undocumented personal residing on US territory as “Illegal Aliens.” The clarity is still muddled because the language does not consider the circumstances of different people migrating from their home countries and into the US. From the humanistic viewpoint, one can consider this change in language as a form of dehumanization towards foreigners. When addressing the topic of immigration, the US Government fails to distinguish the contextual nuances in language, discards the individual’s situations, or reasons for crossing the border into the US illegally or without documents. The term lumps the asylum seekers with the illegal immigrants therefore, the distinction is muddled. An outcome of this language is one of confusion for the populace as they view every immigrant as an illegal alien.

Addressing and deconstructing the second question, according to the data shared recently, the number of asylum seekers granted documentation hovers between 9-11%. As reported by the Attorney General of the DOJ, to seek asylum in the US is when the United States recognizes the right of asylum for international individuals as specified by federal law. Asylum has two basic requirements. First, an asylum applicant must establish that he or she fears persecution in their own home country. Second, the applicant must prove that he or she would be persecuted on account of one of the five protected grounds: religion, race, nationality, particular social group, or political opinion. Often, asylum seekers are forgotten as those who have a legal right to be here due to the fact that they are not citizens of the United States and not separated from the general “definition” of illegal immigrant, which ties into the stereotypical societal views of illegal immigration that is often underdeveloped because of the lack of enlightenment. A major portion of US populous forget that the United States was once founded on the arrival and migration of asylum seekers. In 1620, the Mayflower brought 102 asylum seekers from religious persecution (aka pilgrims) to what is now known as the United States of America, which marks the beginning of US history. Unlike asylum seekers, illegal immigrants refer to the migration of people into a country that defies or violates immigration laws of that country, or remain in a country in which you no longer have a legal right to remain. An individual may have something as minor as the expiration of a visa card (allows them to temporarily enter a country and stay there for a specific amount of time) which then categorizes that person under the definition of “illegal immigrant.” Nevertheless, one is predisposed to having bias views on illegal immigration without a complete understanding of the subject.

Trying to understand the third and fourth questions explored by the governmental agencies and private entities, one must view these questions through a sociocultural lens. Migrants have been making their way to the United States even before it was a country itself, because of the premise that is the idea of a land of opportunity where you can better your social, economic, financial and cultural well being along with yourself. This very premise is written on the Statue of Liberty and into America’s founding documents as a democracy. There are many things ingrained in our Constitution and Bill of Rights that are magnetic to those who don’t have the same amount of promise within their own country, that we as Americans have a tendency to sometimes take for granted. Americans not having to worry about repressed rights ultimately creates a barrier between the mindsets of us and them because we are not able to connect with their personal experiences, thus shaping America’s inadequate views of immigration. For those who have settled in the United States, they have managed to adapt to American culture while still maintaining their own. Still assimilating to american cultures, you can find ethnic subsections in big cities such as “Chinatown” or “Little Italy”. The lives of most immigrants are a dialectic between the memories of the world left behind and the day-to-day struggles of learning the ropes of a new society. Mastering a new language, living and working among strangers, and coping with the unfamiliar, immigrants have generally learned to assimilate to american culture. Even though migrants have, in a way, blended in with American society, you can still seek out the different foreign contributions they have made to American culture, but because foreign cultures are so intertwined with american culture it is difficult for Americans to appreciate things that we see on a day-to-day basis.

The definition of immigration is not yet completely defined and made clear to the United States for the public’s complete understanding, which is why further research and clarification is required. With more discussion and improvement on american values, the ability to distinguish the rights between legal and illegal immigration within the populus could improve, if social, cultural and other debates are resolved.


Attorney General. ?Matter of A-B, Respondent. ?(June 11th 2018) U.S Department of Justice Office of Attorney General.

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Legal Information Institute. ?Code of Federal Regulations. Cornell University Law Institute. (Revised January 7th 2014) Aliens and Nationality

US Department of State. ?Immigrant Visa Process and Preparing for the Interview.? Bureau of Consular Affairs. US Embassy and Consulate. nterview/interview-prepare.html



Author: Classified. Justice Department. ?Describing Alien Status in a Press Release.? Email to US Attorney’s Office ordering a change in terminology.

USA Gov. ?Immigration and Citizenship: How To Enter the US.

Hirschman, Charles. ?The Impact of Immigration On An American Society: Looking Backward to the Future. ?Institut für Wissenschaften vom Menschen. Institute for Human Sciences. I?nternational Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences?, Vol. 11, Oxford 2001?.”

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