Immigration: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Immigration: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Immigration: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Immigration: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Synopsis

Intense current controversies over foreign immigration to the United States are deeply rooted in America's history, as is revealed in this comprehensive and illuminating documentary guide.

Excerpt

In the past few years the debate over immigration to the United States has become more shrill and has ignited a great deal of passion. At the same time, the issues involved have become more complex than ever. The controversy today focuses on the presence of the millions of undocumented workers in the country who live and work in the shadow economy, the divisive discussion of the potential security risk posed by uncontrolled and unchecked immigration, and by what some view as a cultural threat posed by foreigners who resist integration into mainstream American culture.

Since the events of September 11, 2001, immigration has become inextricably tied to the question of U.S. national security. Following the terrorist attacks, Americans consistently have demanded that the federal government plug the holes in U.S. border security. The presence in the country of a large number of undocumented workers who have crossed without proper papers reminds citizens of just how vulnerable the American borders remain. If so many millions of undocumented workers from Mexico and elsewhere can cross into the United States undetected, the government and citizens alike fear terrorist elements planning harm to the country can do the same. In short, the insecurity of Americans and the greater challenges that law enforcement faces in monitoring the borders have fanned the flames of anti-immigrant sentiment.

One unfortunate consequence of the rising collective preoccupation with security and immigration is the perceptible growth in racism and intolerance toward minority groups. In a 2005 study by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., it was reported that, since 9/11, Americans of the Muslim faith have experienced an increase in racial attacks and have felt less at home in the United States (Parry 2005). On the evidence of a 2007 Federal Bureau of Investigation annual survey on hate crimes, Latinos, who now comprise the largest minority group inside the country, have also experienced a rise in racist attacks. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise, because the greatest number of undocumented workers come from Mexico and other Latin American countries. The resultant rise . . .

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