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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Essay on Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

INSTRUCTIONS:  What are some reasons that anti-immigrant sentiment was prevalent in the early twentieth century? What are some reasons that it is high again today? 

Essay on Anti-Immigrant Sentiment
          The United States is known as the nation of immigrants.  It is a place where different cultures meet and diverge.  However, despite being known as the nation of immigrants, the Americans have been also known for their sentiments against the immigrants.  Anti-immigrant sentiment has long been a part of the culture in the United States.  It has existed early in the 20th Century and continues until today.  The main difference, however, lies with the reason behind the anti-immigrant sentiment in the 20th Century and the anti-immigrant sentiment in the 21st Century.  

            During the 20th Century, anti-immigrant sentiment was prevalent because of the loss of economic security and the job tenure. The immigrants were more than willing take on jobs despite being offered lower wages.  As such, they competed with the citizens for their jobs. Since employers would rather hire immigrants to save of operating costs, the citizens lost their jobs to these immigrants. It also created a loss of job security among other citizens. The economic insecurity and the loss of jobs caused the feelings against immigrants to rise. This culminated in various historical events such as what happened during World War II. When Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, rumors spread that individuals of Japanese ancestry in the United States who are loyal to their mother country might betray the United States. As a result, these individuals were forcibly placed in internment camps to allegedly protect the sovereignty of the United States. However, the real reason behind these rumors of disloyalty and betrayal by individuals of Japanese ancestry was that many American farmers have become concerned about the Japanese farmers who were competing against the United States.

            As of present time, anti-immigrant sentiment still prevailed. However, the pervading reason is no longer the loss of job security but fear of terrorism.  At present, the targets of anti-immigrant sentiment are individuals from Middle East countries because they have been branded as terrorists or individuals who support or aid terrorist activities.  While it is true that some Middle Eastern individuals have perpetrated terrorist activities, it is not true that all of them are terrorists or that they support or abet terrorism. Most of them are as peace-loving as any of us.  

            Anti-immigrant sentiment continues until today only that the targets have changed (Streich 42).  Though the reasons may have changed, the impact is still the same.  It is still destructive as it imposes constant pressures on the lives of the target immigrants.  When there is anti-immigrant sentiment, there are strains and barriers on the lives of the immigrants.           This creates a fear of the police and immigration officials because they do not want to be questioned or to be separated from their families.  This causes them to constantly live in the shadows and hidden to avoid being arrested or deported.  The anti-immigrant sentiment also contributes to the continued subjugation of the immigrant.  Instead of being able to work their way up the social ladder they find themselves further marginalized and oppressed in the American society.    Regardless of the reason, anti-immigrant sentiment is almost always wrong.

Cited Works
Streich, Gregory. Justice Beyond “Just Us.”  England: Ashgate Publishing, 2011.

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