Oakton Outlook

What other factors influence immigrants to come to America today?

A capstone article discussing the overlooked factors that affect immigrants

Kariann Tan, Staff Writer

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Immigration has played such a huge role in shaping the world what we live in today. For many generations, it has affected the way the economy and the specific society works in significant ways. The United States would definitely not be the way it is, if the concept of foreigners setting up shop in this country did not exist at all. As that is such, it is important to understand and really reflect on the reasons why immigration is such an important idea, as well as know what might persuade a foreigner or a potential immigrant to come to a country like the US today.

That being said, I, myself, come from an immigrant background which is why this topic is very important to me. Moreover, today’s political climate allows for a much more varied discussion over the concept of immigration. You could see this being the case on social media such as Twitter and Instagram, where those from all walks of life would come together to talk about this hot-button topic. Although that may be so, it is obvious that there have been some misconstrued ideas as to why one might immigrate. Moreover, these social media elements and the media tend to just showcase one main reason: seeking asylum as a refugee.

While that may be true, it definitely does not apply to all immigrants that come to America today, like myself. As mentioned, it is imperative to consider the different perspectives that a foreigner might hold, concerning why they would come to a whole new different realm like the US. With the matter at hand, here are couple other overlooked factors that contribute to one immigrating to the US in the current days.


1. Refuge from cultural practices

Surprisingly, there has been a myriad of cultural practices occurring in different regions of the world that can still be seen as questionable to many. In an email interview conducted with Mary Beth Cubberly, an immigration attorney at a law firm in New York, she asserts the notion that “people who feel like their only option is immigration due to the possibility of them being killed as an honor symbol” plays into one of the reasons that will tempt someone to move to a country like the US today. This is especially brought about by the fact that the United States is a country that most these foreigners will recognize due to its presence in our daily culture, and media globally.

2. Propaganda

It’s interesting really, how propaganda holds a negative connotation within many of the citizens living in the US today, however, it most certainly is something that was utilized by the country itself in other nations. While it is not prevalent in many countries directly in today’s day and age, it is something that has influenced many others perception of the country. An example of such would be the Philippines, that was actually a country under the United States’ watch back during and before World War 2. Yen Le Espiritu, assistant professor at the Department of Ethnic Studies in UC San Diego, emphasises in her book Filipino American Lives that many of the Filipinos who immigrated to the United States did so partly due to the increased idealism that the United States would present many beneficial opportunities to them. They’re definitely not wrong, however, it is the propaganda held by the US through the use of books, editorials, radio, etc that would lend a helping hand to this factor being a case.

3. Family reunification and chain migration

This is slightly related to what you will see on mainstream media with regards to why refugees are coming to the US. To clarify on that, many refugees are coming to the US to seek asylum alongside with their families, in hopes of living a better life as opposed to where they originally came from. In some cases, however, many of these families are torn apart; some are able to migrate to the US, whereas some don’t. Because this is a problem, many potential immigrants with family in the US would then want to come to this particular country just for the sole purpose of reuniting with their loved ones.

After the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was approved, which adopted the idea of allowing immigrants already living in the US then to reunite with their families here, the concept of family reunification prospered successfully. However, the reason as to why this is overlooked to an extent is because a lot of people tend to just bunch this up with the notion that refugees are the ones to just follow this concept when instead, immigrants from all walks of life are confronted with this issue too.

4. Global warming

Believe or not, climate change plays a pretty monumental amount in persuading a foreigner to move to a country like the United States. It is pretty evident that the average temperature in areas around the world is rising, which is not a good thing at all as it leads to a plethora of consequences of which consist of but are not limited to droughts, famine, food shortages, etc. Many researchers have concluded that due to this issue specifically, many families are forced to relocate elsewhere – the US being one primary option to many. This was also mentioned by lawyer Mary Jane Cubberly in which she affirms that “immigration (legal or illegal) may seem like the only option” if this is the case.

In a 2010 study conducted by Michael Oppenheimer who is a climate scientist at Princeton University, results showed that the amount of Mexican immigrants coming to the US will mostly likely soar up to a whopping 6.7 million by the year 2080. What makes this even more significant is the fact that this is just brought about by global warming alone. This is an incredibly daunting information, and because climate change takes generations to revert and reduce, this is a factor to immigration that will last for years to come.


 

These overlooked factors are not to be ignored or as mentioned – overlooked especially in today’s political and social climate. More people are starting to jump in on the conversation surrounding immigration, and because this is a rising topic, we must understand the many perplexing influences that urge those living abroad to come to a country like the US. Hopefully,  this article has served as a source of extra knowledge to help you cultivate your thoughts on the issues surrounding this concept, and allow you to make informed opinions on a hot-button issue such as this.

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About the Writer
Kariann Tan, Staff Writer

Hi! I'm Kariann. I am in my final year at Oakton and I am very excited to be a part of journalism, as writing has been one of my long-standing passions. One...

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What other factors influence immigrants to come to America today?