Immigration Into the US: History, Policies, and Benefits


In the United States, immigration has long been a topic of debate. The term “immigration” refers to the act of leaving one’s home nation and moving to another. A variety of factors lead to people leaving their homelands. History of US immigration from Europe and other countries since 1778 has been a multi-stage process, with several contributing variables at play. Migration may be prompted by many circumstances, including warfare or other social upheavals and joblessness, economic instability, and natural calamities. As a result of the United States’ varying immigration policies, immigration law has constantly evolved. The federal government’s policy has been influenced by popular opinion, but it has also influenced public perceptions of immigration and immigrants in America. Irrational rules restricting immigration have been a part of the United States’ colonial history from the time of its founding, despite the current economic and humanitarian benefits of immigration.


During the second part of the nineteenth century, many people from across the world opted to move to the United States. Agriculture failures, land limitations, rising taxes, and starvation prompted over a million individuals to move to the U. S. from other countries. Around 12 million individuals escaped persecution in their native countries and migrated to the United States between 1870 and 1900, hoping for a better life in America (The Library of Congress a). These individuals mainly came from Germany, Ireland, and England, mainly during the 1870s and 1880s – the primary sources of immigration before the Civil War. Many Chinese people immigrated in the US between 1849 and 1882, despite federal immigration regulations intended to prevent them from coming into the country. Several ports of entry were used by immigrants to reach the United States. Those traveling from Europe mainly arrived at East Coast ports, while those from Asia mostly used West Coast ports. However, New York City became known as the “Golden Door” because of the many immigrants that entered the country there. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Castle Garden port on Manhattan’s southern border served as the principal entrance point for many immigrants to the city (The Library of Congress a). New immigration processing facilities were established in New York Harbor in 1892 on Ellis Island. Even though many immigrants chose to live near the entry points, many chose to go further inland.

Immigrants wished to relocate to towns that people from their homelands had already founded in many cases. They began looking for jobs as soon as they had arrived. Immigrants were routinely exploited by employers since there were just not enough jobs. As a general rule, male employees received lower wages than female counterparts. Immigrants had to deal with racial and ethnic difficulties as well. Numerous immigrants have been subjected to verbal and physical assault due to their perceived differences, leading to negative stereotypes and discrimination. New life emerged in cities and states where vast numbers of immigrants landed, even as social tensions increased. In the process, they demonstrated that both variety and unity are sources of strength for the United States.

The intermittent intrusions constrained Europe’s North American footprint for the following two decades. On Roanoke Island (now North Carolina), the English attempted to establish a permanent colony in the early 1580s, but their efforts were short-lived. Jamestown was established in the Chesapeake Bay around 1607, Quebec was created in 1608, and the Dutch started to explore what is now known as New York City in the early 1600s in quick succession (The Library of Congress a). Many immigrants from Plymouth, the Massachusetts Bay Company, New France Company, and the Netherland West India company arrived in North America a generation later. Europe’s colonization and colonization of North America was an invasion of Native American land established for generations. On the other hand, Europeans had a pretty different impression of Native American authority and occupation. Native American communities, on the other hand, saw Europeans’ presence as an invasion and explored a variety of ways to cope with it. Because of the European remarkable power of weaponry, the native American people could not resist or build a more positive relationship with the Europeans in the long term.

The third group of people, Africans, played a significant part in the European conquest of the Western Hemisphere during the 17th century. European efforts to create settlements in the western hemisphere failed due to a shortage of people to carry out the laborious task of colony construction. Spanish enslaved Native Americans, for example, in areas under their jurisdiction. The English came up with the notion of indentured servitude as a solution to Virginia’s labor shortage. In the West Indies, slavery was used by almost all European nations at one point or another. It was not long before slavery spread to neighboring South and North American colonies. The colonization of the Western Hemisphere by the Europeans was complicated due to the interactions of many different peoples. Each group had to deal with problems that were not of their creation or control. These people used whatever resources they had at their disposal to react. For the vast majority of people, these methods were insufficient to win. However, these individuals were not just passive victims; they actively shaped their futures. Even though many of them failed, their efforts should not be devalued.

New immigrants provided a convenient labor supply for unloading ships, building roads and bridges, and transporting products throughout the middle part of the nineteenth century. With the expansion of industries and the need for low-skilled labor, immigrants, mainly young men in their prime working years, remained the most cost-effective source of labor for the United States economy (The Library of Congress b). Immigrants were often more ready to accept lower earnings and less favorable working circumstances than native-born employees. Output efficiency improvements resulted in better earnings that could be re-invested in modern technology, resulting in further production and, subsequently, higher pay for employees. The United States grew into an industrial superpower decades after the American Civil War. Industrialization has led to the growth of many other sectors such as metal fabrication, petroleum refining, and the production of electrical power. As the railroad network grew, it connected even the most distant portions to the national market economy.

American society revolutionized due to industrialization, which resulted in a new class of affluent industrialists and a thriving middle class. It also resulted in a significantly increased blue-collar working and middle class. It was millions of freshly arriving immigrants and considerably greater groups of migrants from remote rural areas who provided the workforce that enabled industrialization. The diversity of American culture has increased to unprecedented levels. Not everyone benefited from the economic prosperity that characterized this period. Some employees were jobless throughout the year, and their pay was poor when paid for their time on the job. Many employees supported and joined labor unions as a result of these circumstances. Meanwhile, farmers were suffering due to technological advancements and increased output, which resulted in more competition and lower pricing for agricultural goods (The Library of Congress b). Due to difficult economic conditions on farms, many young people were compelled to relocate to urban areas to pursue better employment prospects.

USA policies towards immigration

Systemic racism indicates that today’s predominantly Latino illegal immigrants suffer significantly worse punishments than white Europeans of the past for the identical violation of unlawful admission. Structural racism may be defined as a system that discriminates against immigrants based simply on their race (Kamasaki). Undocumented immigrants, who are primarily Latino and of race, have none of the benefits that were formerly afforded to white immigrants. There was a change in immigration from Europe to immigrants from countries like Latin America and Asia, and Africa, which was frequently framed in racist discussions focused on Latinos. According to estimates, an estimated six million family members of “illegal immigrants” in the United States are affected by today’s harsh immigration rules, including US citizens or legitimately present in the country.

As a result of the institutional racism prevalent in the immigration system, these immigrants face the danger of deportation daily and are often denied public services. The immigration proposal would help correct this racial imbalance by legalizing the status of illegal immigrants whose sole transgression is doing precisely whatever their white counterparts achieved centuries ago (Bier). After two years of residency, illegal immigrants who haven’t committed any additional major crimes in the United States would be eligible for legal status under the new proposal. Similar legislation would cut our fiscal deficit and remove structural racism in our immigration system simultaneously, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Benefits of Immigration

Economic benefits

The economy of the United States benefits greatly from the labor of newcomers. Immigration has a direct impact on the economy by expanding the workforce of the country (Sherman et al.). Additionally, the influx of newcomers boosts as data implies that the economic gains of immigration for the U. S. are minor, in the range of $6 billion, and virtually likely or less $20 billion yearly (Borjas pp. 3-32). Permanent legal status for immigrants might raise taxes, boost productivity, and benefit the offspring of these immigrants, resulting in a significant economic advantage (Rouse et al.). Decriminalization might negatively affect the labor market for native and other immigrant employees. Concerns have been raised concerning the expense of social welfare programs because of the anticipated rise in legal immigrants in the United States (Rouse et al.). According to several studies, the threat of deportation of an undocumented relative discourages benefit take-up by citizens and authorized immigrants in the same household, even if those citizens are eligible for benefits (Rouse et al.). Moreover, granting legal status could increase benefit take-up within and between citizens or authorized immigrant families or friends of undocumented immigrants.

Immigrants also have positions that are critical to the health of our economy and our communities. The new law targets individuals without a college degree, yet they may be found across the economy and in specific sectors. As a result, companies in these areas will have a more difficult time attracting and retaining people. Immigrants also provide a workforce relative to retirees; immigrants assist in sustaining an aging native population, which in turn helps medicare and social security funding. Furthermore, kids born to immigrant households are upwardly mobile, which bodes well for the future of their own families and the general economy of the United States.

Humanitarian Benefits

Immigrant Aid Society was created by Jewish immigrants to give humanitarian help and support to refugees. Refugees of many nations, faiths, and ethnicities received assistance from the organization. The group works with persons deemed to be in danger because of conflict, persecution, or violence. Despite of the benefits provided by the Jewish immigrants, some dictators showed some signs of hatred and they were willing to chase them out of the country (Hitler pp.176). The Syrian refugees also had a more significant impact on the Americans. Syrian refugees living in Lebanon have diverse abilities, however, an infusion of lower-skilled employees might potentially benefit Americans with less education and experience (Yigit pp.13-31). Syrian refugees will contribute to the growth of the economy by integrating into their workforce, complementing our current workforce, and not relying on government assistance. There is no obligation to aid refugees, but we are responsible for avoiding harming them. Even worse, they cannot save their own lives because of American immigration prohibitions.


For over two centuries, the United States has been welcoming immigrants from Europe and other nations. Immigrants were given jobs and farms in several states, especially those with low populations. Additionally, immigrants faced racial and ethnic issues which instilled fear on other migrants willing to move to U.S. It was not until several decades later that the United States became an industrial giant because of immigration. As a result of immigration, ship unloading and road and bridge construction became more efficient. The economy would benefit if illegal immigrants were given permanent resident status. Permanent legal status for immigrants might generate taxes, increase productivity, and benefit the country, resulting in a significant economic and humanitarian benefit for the country.

Works Cited

Bier, David J. “Why the Legal Immigration System Is Broken: A Short List of Problems.” Cato Institute, Web.

Borjas, George J. “The Economic Benefits from Immigration.Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 9, no. 2, 1995, pp. 3–22, Web.

Hitler, Adolf. “Translated by Ralph manheim, Franz Eher Nachfolger.” Mein Kampf, 1925, p. 176.

Kamasaki, Charles. “US Immigration Policy: A Classic, Unappreciated Example of Structural Racism.” Brookings, Brookings, 2021, Web.

Nowrasteh, Alex. “Syrian Refugees Could Help America. We Should Welcome Them.Washington Post, The Washington Post, 2015, Web.

Rouse, Cecilia, et al. “The Economic Benefits of Extending Permanent Legal Status to Unauthorized Immigrants | the White House.” The White House, The White House, Web.

Sherman, Arloc, et al. “Immigrants Contribute Greatly to U.S. Economy, despite Administration’s ‘Public Charge’ Rule Rationale | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2019, Web.

The Library of Congress (a). “Overview | Colonial Settlement, 1600s – 1763 | U.S. History Primary Source Timeline | Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress.” U.S. History Primary Source Timeline, 2015, Web.

The Library of Congress (b). “Overview | Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900 | U.S. History Primary Source Timeline | Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress.” U.S. History Primary Source Timeline, 2015, Web.

Yigit, Ismail Hakki, and Andrew Tatch. “Syrian Refugees and Americans: Perceptions, Attitudes and Insights.” American Journal of Qualitative Research, vol. 1, no. 1, 2017, pp. 13–31, Web.

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