Essay on Immigration in the USA and Classical Immigration Theory

Published: 2021/11/12
Number of words: 2079

Thesis Paragraph/ Introduction

This paper takes a look at the social concept of immigration globally with a specific focus on the phenomenon in the USA. The second topic explored by this paper is the Classical Assimilation Theory that attempts to explain the various variations in assimilation trends into a new society after immigration. Immigrant origin is a multi-dimensional topic with multiple aspects interlaced delicately. Often, one of these factors can affect the balance of the whole matrix, upsetting gains made. Classical assimilation theory is a sociological theory stating that different groups assimilate differently, with three principle paths for second-generation immigrants: smooth, downward, and rapid economic success. The social paradigm used in this paper is the conflict theory that explores how social inequalities lead to differences among different groups and their general contribution to differences in power. According to Karl Marx, there are limited resources in society and consequently, this breeds intense competition among the members, each battling to get the most out of the limited resources available. This competition also leads to the stratification of society into proletariat and bourgeoisie groups. The two topics are interconnected through the conflict theory since the paradigm provides the basis for assimilation into either one of the three groups. Immigrants into a different nation tend to lack a majority of resources to enable their stay in the foreign lands, thus starting from the very bottom with the least resources, often engaging in odd jobs. However, some have more resources such as education which is often valued in the USA due to the skills needed in different industries. This second group has smooth assimilation into the receiving nation. A third group features those with connections already established and thus have an abundance of resources at their disposal, consequently experiencing rapid economic success.

Quinn et al. (2017) explore the intersection between migration status, institutions, nations’ public policies in the United States, and their influence on the educational opportunities accessed by migrants and their children. The connection between education and immigration is complicated and multi-dimensional as shown by the multiple frameworks, methodologies, and analyses (Quinn et al. 2017). These various pathways require the consideration of the diversity within immigrant groups. They also demonstrate the extent needed to reconstruct policies around immigrants before academic institutions will have the capacity to adequately serve students of immigrant origin. Political and governance structures are some of the principal elements around any discourse involving immigration.

Need an essay assistance?
Our professional writers are here to help you.
Place an order


Forces attributed to Dauvergne (2016) lead to changes in policymaking and the growth of intra-country migration dynamics. According to Paquet (2020), this movement within countries has variable results. In this examination, he identified two results of subnational policy. The first is the economic state as displayed by Australia and Canada. The second result is the access state found in the United States. These models and trends consequently have a huge impact on the policymaking concerning immigration in federations.

Undocumented immigration has contributed to the alteration of the US political landscape significantly albeit in unexpected ways too. Just like other contemporary nations like Greece, the US has consistently failed in achieving successful immigration reform over the past three decades (Jones-Correa & de Graauw, 2013). There is a seismic shift in policymaking away from the centralized national governments towards state and local organs (Jones-Correa & de Graauw, 2013). There has been an unprecedented rise in the racial profiling of ethnic-racial minorities focusing on their status of immigration. In some countries, undocumented immigrants have also been politically mobilized to achieve effective immigration outcomes. However, this mobilization has also been used negatively for political gain rather than for the empowerment of the immigrants (Jones-Correa & de Graauw, 2013). A positive side to the immigration question has also emerged due to the development of positive bilateral interactions between the United States and origin countries of immigrants to the United States (Jones-Correa & de Graauw, 2013).

Family is termed as the basic unit of any functional society since time immemorial. This emphasis on its importance, therefore, attracts interest in its development and sustenance in the face of adversity. Thus, one of the main reasons for the change in immigration reform in the United States was family reunification. According to Lee (2015), immigration experts acknowledge the role of reunifying families and its contribution to promoting ethnic and racial diversity in the USA. It has also helped modernize the American immigration system and united families. Lee (2015) further proceeds to state that it acted as a replacement for the national origins quota criterion that contributed to immense discrimination (Lee, 2015). This element of immigration grew from the enactment of civil rights laws and symbolized the epitome of liberal democracy. Lee (2015) goes on to show the reunification of the family has been an important segment of immigration laws in the United States since the inception of immigration regulation. Exclusionary efforts also contribute to the push for the unity of families. Thus, according to the 1965 Immigration Act, it is necessary to reassess liberal descriptions of policy on family reunification. There may be limits to immigration reform targeting the family.

Most immigrants into the European countries of Spain, Greece, and Italy come from the Northern African countries of Morocco, Libya, and Algeria. Most of these are smuggled from Western African and Central African countries and end up in dinghies sailing precariously across the Mediterranean into Europe. Natter (2020) postulates that immigration policy-making in Morocco is intimately connected to the country’s agenda of consolidation. The author used 87 interviews in a semi-structured fashion drawing from participants in the Moroccan civil society in a six-year study. In addition to originating from the Monarchy state’s autocratic systems, liberalization of immigration policy also helped to consolidate them. Just like the Greek government’s use of deflection to avoid genuine reform to its immigration policy, The Moroccan government had a tri-fold agenda in pursuing immigration reform. First, they intended to pursue their commitment to human rights. Secondly, the reform helped in the consolidation of the Monarchy in the state’s political fabric. Thirdly, the integration of Moroccan civil society helped to silence dissenting voices in other areas. Therefore while it may have seemed like a genuine response to domestic and international pressure to engage in reform of its immigration system, the main agenda in Morocco’s reform was the consolidation of Monarchial interests in the country’s fabric. However, this strategy did not succeed in canceling out deeply embedded dynamics between civil society and state parties (Natter, 2020).

Independently, education had very little influence. However, participation in the military had a huge effect on the public’s support for a route to citizenship. The popularity of military service extends even when it is paired with provisions that were less popular among the public. Thus according to Wallace & Wallace (2020), military service may be used as one of the basic provisions for legislation on immigration. Additionally, the effects were tellingly stronger for those citizens who voiced strong opposition to reforms on immigration and citizenship (Wallace & Wallace 2020). The results of this study show that citizens place more value on national loyalty as opposed to the value placed on personal achievement such as educational attainment.

Immigration leads to several outcomes in urban centers such as cities and towns. Different city jurisdictions in the United States have either welcomed these immigrants or opposed their entry into their territory (Vitiello, 2014). These reactions may be displayed as policies such as sanctuary laws or illegal immigration relief acts and are results of assumptions and concerns regarding the immigrants’ integration in the societies. These factors have grown in significance due to the economic decline of traditional suburbs and the suburbanization of immigration. For example, in the study by Vitiello (2014), there are differences in the experiences in towns such as suburban Philadelphia by contrasting Bridgeport and Norristown. In Norristown, the leaders favored the incorporation of undocumented immigrants while in Bridgeport the leaders favored restriction of their employment and settlement opportunities (Vitiello, 2014). Thus even with similarities, the towns had distinct reactions and differences in their reactions.

The United States, unlike other countries, prides itself in its immigrant origins. It was decidedly founded by pilgrims from Europe and has ever since benefitted from the enrichment brought about by the immigration of nationals from different countries into the nation. However, despite the pride in this identity, its policies feature xenophobia and openness. Harris (2014) states that debates over immigrants worthy of being incorporated into the nation’s fabric fuel the outbursts of sentiment among political leaders. However, it may be a toll order to determine who may be capable of assimilation of American characteristics and responsibilities. Lina Newton postulates that the shift in legislators’ perspectives from positive to negative enabled the facilitation and enactment of controversial reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. The dominant narratives around descriptions of immigrants influence their treatment. This can range from flattering descriptions to ghastly myths that could not be further from the truth (Harris, 2014). These findings also lend credence to the fact that the media’s and general portrayal of the immigrants influences the mass attitudes towards them.

Worry about your grades?
See how we can help you with our essay writing service.

Modern discourse on immigration is different from the leading thoughts of a few decades ago. According to Wong (2017), modern politics on immigration is espoused in three defining features: the effect of reforms on the creation of novel opportunities and their definition of what it means to be American, changes in demographic patterns and statistics, bipartisanship in issues around immigration.


It is not a coincidence that most employment positions in industries riddled with low wages, remunerations, hazardous health and safety standards as well as labor violations are mainly occupied by immigrants. According to Fine & Lyon (2017), it is misleading to treat immigration reform and labor standards as two different pieces in an interconnected puzzle. The strengthening of enforcement of labor standards is crucial to eroding sub-standard factors in different sectors. Besides, the work guidelines requirement is instrumental to the disintegration of unsatisfactory conditions in specific areas, regularly alluded to as the “auxiliary” work market, that is related to cutting edge market economies (Fine & Lyon, 2017). Guaranteeing work guidelines are maintained lessens the motivator for managers to undermine compensation by abusing weak laborers, a considerable lot of whom are outsiders. As this paper contends, reinforcing implementation should incorporate not just “vertical” instruments, including key requirements and punishing and condemning deplorable and rehashed work violators, yet additionally “parallel” components, like co-authorization by laborers and through specialist and local area associations. The article outlines the job of co-authorization in labor guidelines through two contextual analyses.


Cheliotis, L. K. (2013). Behind the veil of philoxenia: The politics of immigration detention in Greece. European Journal of Criminology10(6), 725–745.

Farris, E. M., & Silber Mohamed, H. (2018). Picturing immigration: how the media criminalizes immigrants. Politics, Groups & Identities6(4), 814–824.

Fine, J., & Lyon, G. (2017). Segmentation and the role of labor standards enforcement in immigration reform. Journal on Migration and Human Security5(2), 431–451.

Harris, A. (2014). Book Review: Illegal, alien, or immigrant: The politics of immigration reform. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences36(2), 224–226.

Jones-Correa, M., & de Graauw, E. (2013). Looking back to see ahead: Unanticipated changes in immigration from 1986 to the present and their implications for American politics today. Annual Review of Political Science (Palo Alto, Calif.)16(1), 209–230.

Lauby, F. (2016). Leaving the ‘perfect DREAMer’ behind? Narratives and mobilization in immigration reform. Social Movement Studies15(4), 374–387.

Lee, C. (2015). Family reunification and the limits of immigration reform: Impact and legacy of the 1965 immigration act. Sociological Forum (Randolph, N.J.)30, 528–548.

Natter, K. (2020). Crafting a ‘liberal monarchy’: regime consolidation and immigration policy reform in Morocco. The Journal of North African Studies, 1–25.

Paquet, M. (2020). Subnational migration states and the new politics of immigration. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland)58(6), 61–76.

Quinn, R., Hopkins, M., & García Bedolla, L. (2017). The politics of immigration and education. Educational Policy (Los Altos, Calif.)31(6), 707–715.

Sommers, B. D. (2013). Stuck between health and immigration reform–care for undocumented immigrants. The New England Journal of Medicine369(7), 593–595.

Vitiello, D. (2014). The politics of immigration and suburban revitalization: Divergent responses in adjacent Pennsylvania towns. Journal of Urban Affairs, 36(3), 519–533.

Wallace, G. P. R., & Wallace, S. J. (2020). Who gets to have a DREAM? Examining public support for immigration reform. The International Migration Review54(2), 527–558.

Wong. K. T(2017) The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity by Tom K. Wong.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Online Chat Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055