Poverty as a Reason for Immigration
“Immigration the action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country.” Most people don’t have good reasons for wanting to leave their countries. Many are fleeing from persecution, racism, war, or poverty. America was built on immigration, people from European countries discovered North America and took over. It was originally quite brutal but over time many migrated to America as the land of opportunities. The research provided will focus on people going from European countries to America in the 1800s.
One of the most popular ports to get into America was Ellis island. It was open for over 60 years before closing in 1954. Ellis Island saw millions of newly arrived immigrants pass through its doors, it was located at the mouth of Hudson River between New York and New Jersey. It’s estimated around 40 percent of America’s immigrants can trace their ancestry to passing through Ellis Island. One of the families to pass through Ellis Island was the Mirelowitz family. “Barnett Chadekel, a glass factory owner and former soldier in the Czar’s army, lived with his wife Chann and their three children (Mary, Gershon, and Hyman) in Vilna, Lithuania, a part of Czarist Russia. In 1909, an outbreak of vicious pogroms against Jews suddenly forced the Chadekel family to flee the country.”(nps.gov) This family was an example of one of the many escaping persecutions.
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In addition to the already poor conditions of Ellis island, many families got separated trying to get into America. The whole family wasn’t always all accepted at once so often the “man” of the family would try and get into America first to get ahead on making a living. Especially for those escaping poverty-stricken areas, families did everything they could to try and keep themselves out of poverty. This also included taking low wage jobs that were very dangerous to try and get any extra money they could, costing the lives of many immigrant workers, permanently separating them through death.
The life of these immigrants was never easy and or some they never found full acceptance of their new home. They worked long, hard hours with little pay and little gratitude and were often accused of not belonging or stealing jobs. However many business owners would not allow foreigners to for them because of language barriers and the belief that these immigrants had a lower intelligence level than fluent English speaking Americans. For example, when immigrants came into America their passports were stamped “DP” meaning displaced persons. When immigrants had to apply for a job they would show their passports to show their citizenship. “DP” quickly became known for standing for “dumb person” or more specifically for polish people “dumb polkas”. Immigrants often had to take jobs that were considered low skill because of this discrimination. The jobs that they “stole” were jobs that no one else wanted. Jobs that didn’t give you a lot of social credit to have and that were often very dangerous with long hours and little pay.
Many also assume that immigrants can be running from a troubled past. People fear what they can not understand. Immigrants often had thick accents and broken English, causing hard to decipher sentences. If you had a harsher or lounder accent you could easily be perceived as dangerous, such as a german, Russian, or even Italian accent. In addition, an immigrant would easily be frustrated by never being understood by those around them causing them to appear angry, crazy, and/or confusing. People would hear stories of foreign mafias of different cultures and be frightened that they were anti-American organizations. But what they didn’t know what a lot9 of these groups were formed to protect their own cultures. Immigrants are lost in a world of people who don’t understand them so when they find people who love the same culture as them they connect and want to stick together and protect what little they have. People would become angry that immigrants were “invading” and take violent actions against them, so they found people who they could trust and made their own protection.
The beautiful thing about America is the fact that it is so diverse. Racism, Sexism, and prejudice may be something that never fully goes away because you can’t control how others think. But as an immigrant myself I think it is beautiful how in today’s society we have open festivals celebrating our cultural differences and allowing other backgrounds to explore our own. While we are still sectioning ourselves off, it is not necessarily for fear or protection anymore. As a Polish- American, I go out on Dyngus day, wear my cultural clothing on holidays and events, eat polish meals, and enjoy relearning the polish language with the more native speakers.
However, I also have a blast checking out the Greek, Italian, or German festivals throughout the year and trying new foods, learning new traditions and stories, listening to all the new accents. Immigration is something that should never be discontinued in America, it offers too much knowledge and understanding. Some people may believe that these people are dangerous, but if you go through the right process and can stay here legally and share your cultures, immigration is unbelievably astonishing. Acceptance and love is a whole movement in the past coming years of social media and technology. Learning to see things from other people’s points of view and being able to have at least an understanding, if not an agreement or acceptance, is important for leading into a better society.
The era of immigration restriction started in the 1880s and lasted until World War II. There is still debate today as to whether or not becoming a United States citizen or living in our country should be harder. However, you will not see very many anti-immigration people in today’s America like you would have in the 1880s. States “the diplomacy of immigration was chiefly concerned with the consequences of keeping some people out and, after 1924, when Congress made the diplomatic establishment partially responsible for immigration selection and its control, with keeping some prospective immigrants out.
Since 1945, after only seemingly minor changes in policy during World War II, and partly due to the shift in American foreign policy from quasi-isolation to a quest for global leadership and hegemony, immigration policy has become less and less restrictive.” This source shows that while immigration policies were originally created to restrict immigration policies as much as possible, since then they have been being reformed to make it easier for immigrants. Part of being in America is recognizing the importance of immigration and giving people the opportunity to better themselves.
One of the more complicated things to consider for immigration is that there is limited space in the united states so it is hard to accept everyone. There also is a real threat that violent people could enter the united states and try to harm its citizens. Tracking these people is difficult because it is often difficult to decipher a motive. A thorough background check is very important in deciding whether or not a person is allowed to enter into America permanently because if they have a violent history Americans don’t want to fear that they could get hurt.