Immigration Within The Us And Latin American Countries

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Immigration within the US and Latin American countries

Since the early years in their histories as independent nations, the United States and its southern near-neighbors have been linked through their foreign policies and the movements of their peoples. In the nineteenth century, the acquisition of the Floridas and the conquest of northern Mexico by the United States led to substantial movements of people. Later in the same century, the U.S. conquest of the remnants of Spain's American empire contributed to the hispanization of the population of the United States (pg. 202).

In the twentieth century, U.S. immigration policy turned generally restrictionist. Foreign policy concerns, however, led the government to permit and even, for a time, to stimulate Mexican immigration to the United States. Consistent with its policies toward the Soviet bloc, the U.S. government also stimulated migration from Cuba for a certain period. These U.S. policies have been supplemented by those determined and ingenious people who, drawn by the promise of the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, have entered the United States illegally. As a result, the United States is already the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.

S ince the first European settlers set foot in North America, immigration has suffused the American experience. Indeed, many of the values that unite Americans as a nation are tied to immigration. Immigration has not only framed our vision of the U.S. role in the world, but has seeped into our view of human nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, saw in immigration a phenomenon that “will construct a new race, a new religion, a new state, a new literature” in the United States(pg. 204).. The idealism surrounding immigration explains in large part the deep feelings it evokes in the public policy arena. These sentiments have jostled with concerns about the economy, ethnic relations, social services, the environment, and other issues. In recent years, the debate over immigration has expanded to incorporate a broad range of foreign policy issues. The discussion now features arguments on U.S. relations with Latin America, human rights, international trade, the worldwide refugee crisis, and our national security. As Congressional representatives debate proposals for reform of current immigration law, it is important for Americans to understand these issues within the wider context of our long-term goals for immigration policy. Current proposals focus primarily on ways to resolve issues related to border control, undocumented workers, and law enforcement. The proposed ...
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