My exploration of immigration is based on the books I have read. So, to highlight the basic points of immigration, I would like you to become familiar with special literature. The first picture book I’ve studied is Hoang Anh: a Vietnamese-
American Boy written by Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. According to the plot of the book, the boy Hoang Anh describes the daily activities his family experiences in America, CA. The main character depicts the traditional culture and the way his immigrant family understands the new reality.
The second picture book I want to introduce you to is American Too, written by Bartone, Elisa. The main character is an Italian girl Rosina who came to America with her family after the First World War. When the girl sees the Statue of Liberty, she understands that she wants to become a real American girl. She refuses to eat Italian food and changes her name to American Rosie. Finally, the girl realizes that being both an Italian and an American is really great.
One more book I want you to become familiar with is ‘Tis. A memoir is written by an Irish-American teacher Francis “Frank” McCourt. This book is about the author’s impoverished childhood in Ireland, as well as about his American life. The author depicts stupid American traditions and wants to enter blue-collar society in the USA.
The fundamentals of immigration
So, when reading about immigration, I would like to consider some fundamentals of the movement of non-native people into a certain state. First of all, there is a need to point out that the issue of immigration is recognized to be extremely popular in mass media. They say that various movies about immigrants do not reflect the reality of the issue.
In my opinion, such stereotyped reflections are mostly associated with real cultural differences; so, on the one hand, the so-called stereotypes seem to be real. However, it is necessary to consider the issue in detail.
For instance, let’s remember American opinions about immigrants. When the protests concerning immigration occurred, a national attitude towards the issue caused ambiguous views. Of course, the impact of mass media can not be neglected. Thus, one is to keep in mind that mass media was transformed into a tool of socialization, “in which persons behave in a manner consistent with models they view on television” (Ferguson, 2004, p. 4). However, some assumptions concerning mass media must be pointed out.
In other words, it is necessary to remember that media forms the so-called societal opinions, but no one can say that it reflects them. On the other hand, the stereotypes, which media forms, seem to be inconsistent and flawed. The most important argument, however, is considered to be the fact that media portrayals of phenomenon are based on advertisement. So, when I have read the books, it becomes obvious that immigration seems to be a stereotyped phenomenon.
Generally, a person’s understanding of the meaning of a stereotype defines his or her view in relation to the issue of discussion. For instance, people are to understand that a fixed general image (a stereotype) can be either negative or positive. When speaking about recent waves of immigration by Arabic people, one can make a conclusion that the representatives of Middle Eastern regions are immigrants. However, it is evident that such opinion seems to be wrong.
An affirmation that all Irish people are addicted to alcohol seems also to be wrong. So, for this reason, it is obvious that stereotyping is considered to be a negative phenomenon. The information reflected in two picture books I have read was really stereotyped; while a non-fiction book provided me with a clear impression what things are real.
When analyzing the content of the books, I’ve understood that there are cultural differences, which influence our perception of immigrants. Thus, according to Phinney, Horenczyk, Liebkind, and Vedder (2001), “Specifically, immigrant groups, as well as individual immigrants, arrive in a new country with differing attitudes about retaining their culture of origin and becoming part of the new society” (p. 494).
In other words, the positive outcomes can be predicted, if the immigrants meet a supportive community. On the other hand, one is to keep in mind that the process of adaptation also plays an important role. When non-native people come into a certain country, the acculturation process depends upon ethnic identity. In other words, the subjective aspect of acculturation determines the perception of immigrants by natives.
Generally, one is to keep in mind that the representatives of foreign-born communities as well as descended ones are considered to be immigrants. Of course, the process of immigration can be regarded differently. For instance, some analysts suppose that the process of immigration involves numerous negative consequences, as negative influences include drastic social changes, as well as the growth of population.
While analyzing the process of immigration I have read about, it becomes obvious that one of the main purposes immigrants want to achieve is to improve their living conditions. The modern situation seems to be a little different. The number of illegal immigrants, however, is extremely high. Special investigations show that those people who come to the USA from underdeveloped countries expect to get higher salary. This is a common knowledge.
However, when I read some contemporary articles about immigration, I was really surprised by some facts. Thus, “illegal immigration is a symptom of the fact that the U.S. immigration system is seriously out of step with global political and economic realities that drive people to migrate and pushed U.S. employers to hire these migrants” (“Illegal Immigration to the United States: Causes and Policy Solutions”, 2007, p. 1).
So, as far as there is no opportunity for legal migration, and there is a growth of ineffective employer sanctions, one can make a conclusion that the above-mentioned reasons seem to be the drivers of the process of migration. By the way, global economic changes can not be neglected too.
Nobody will deny the fact that globalization is considered to be one of the main reasons of illegal immigration. In other words, global competitive advantage caused the process.
When speaking about the absence of opportunity for legal economic migration, I have to state that the immigration system of America creates special conditions to attract high-skilled specialists from abroad, as in the USA there is a lack of specialists who hold Ph.D.s. So, the representatives of the immigration system want to compensate for shortages in such a way.
Ineffective employer sanctions give us an opportunity to suppose that those people who illegally come to America can find employment. The sanctions are considered to be ineffective due to the following reasons: “absence of reliable mechanisms for verifying employment eligibility; inadequate funding of interior immigration enforcement; absence of political will due to labor needs of the U.S. economy” (“Illegal Immigration to the United States: Causes and Policy Solutions”, 2007, p. 3).
In my opinion, the books I have read about immigration, as well as the contemporary situation with the movement, is recognized to be a complicated issue. Taking into account the literature, it seems that immigrants will always be foreigners, even if the process of their acculturation will be successful. On the other hand, if the natives will accept them, the feeling of detachment will be decreased; however, the mentality immigrants possess will never be changed.
Ferguson, C. (2004). Portrayals of Immigrants in Mass Media: Honest Depiction of Cultural Differences or Unfair Stereotype. Retrieved from: http://www.tamiu.edu/~cferguson/Immigrants.pdf
Illegal Immigration to the United States: Causes and Policy Solutions. (2007). Arizona.edu. Retrieved from: http://udallcenter.arizona.edu/immigration/publications/fact_sheet_no_3_illegal_immigration.pdf
Phinney, J., Horenczyk, G., Liebkind, K., & Vedder, P. (2001). Ethnic Identity, Immigration, and Well-Being: An Interactional Perspective. Retrieved from: http://cretscmhd.psych.ucla.edu/events/phinneypaper.pdf