Immigration refers to the act of entering a foreign country to live permanently. It is widely practiced, in which people migrate into other countries, seek citizenships and settle there. Usually, immigrants become naturalized citizens after staying in a particular country for a while and after meeting the congress requirements in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The United States Census Bureau defines immigrants as foreign-born who are not US citizens by birth or become citizens through naturalization (n.p). According to the American Immigration Council, as of 2019, there were approximately 44.9 million immigrants in the United States, comprising 14% of the total population (3). However, it does not mean that immigration takes place in the United States only; people can migrate into any country.
Different studies have investigated why people migrate and have come up with several reasons. According to Schon, people migrate to escape conflict or violence (12). People find peace or hide in countries away from theirs when war erupts. Although they are referred to as refugees in most cases, some of them do not return to their countries after the war and settle in foreign countries. They become naturalized in foreign countries and become foreign-born.
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Another reason is for educational purposes. Each year, many students apply for scholarships in countries like Canada, Australia, and the United States, among others, to study abroad. They, therefore, migrate from their home countries and settle in foreign countries, where some become citizens through naturalization. The third reason is for employment and business opportunities. Economies are different in each country. Some countries have favorable economies where jobs and businesses are easy to find. On the contrary, some have unfavorable economies that they have to seek job and business opportunities from other countries. In the process, they become immigrants.
Another major reason is marriage. These days, people from all cultures of the world are getting married, resulting in some migrating into foreign countries. Besides, with the advent of technology and the rise of social media and the internet, people have interacted, globalization has taken over, and people find their partners globally. For example, a person from Canada can meet a friend in the United States, and they start dating. Through that, one of them may migrate into the other’s country for marriage. Besides the described reasons, there are other reasons such as escaping poverty, seeking healthcare, environmental displacement, and family reunification.
Despite the reasons, advantages, and disadvantages of immigration accrue to individuals and countries. One of the major pros is that it diversifies local economies. Immigrants bring new experiences, ideas, and perspectives to foreign countries that help diversify their economies. Besides, one of the reasons is that immigration happens for business opportunities. Due to that, they start businesses, earn income, and contribute to the growth of the economies. Secondly, through an increase in population size, it increases cultural awareness. It is beneficial because it unifies the world.
On the contrary, immigration has been found to cause overpopulation issues. People migrate into wealthier countries like the US, which overpopulates them. It results in an imbalanced population that leads to problems in resource access. Another second major disadvantage is that immigrants might be exploited, as validated by a study (Li 919). It is easier for developed countries to exploit immigrants, especially those from developing countries resulting in human rights violations. Due to these and many more disadvantages, some people opt to exploit the opportunities in their countries. However, this does not mean immigration is bad because it is also beneficial to some individuals and countries.
American Immigration Council. “Immigrants in the United States.” American Immigration Council, 6 Aug 2021, www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/immigrants-in-the-united-states.
Li, Yao-Tai. “Constituting Co-Ethnic Exploitation: The Economic And Cultural Meanings Of Cash-In-Hand Jobs For Ethnic Chinese Migrants In Australia.” Critical Sociology, vol 43, no. 6, 2015, pp. 919-932. SAGE Publications,
Schon, Justin. “Motivation And Opportunity For Conflict-Induced Migration: An Analysis Of Syrian Migration Timing.” Journal Of Peace Research, vol 56, no. 1, 2018, pp. 12-27. SAGE Publications
US Census Bureau. “Foreign Born.” The United States Census Bureau, 15 Dec. 2020, www.census.gov/topics/population/foreign-born.html.