Table of Contents
Introduction on the Asian American Community
The Asian Pacific American community refers to Americans who were born in Asia or the Pacific Islands or whose parents trace their roots in these regions. The Asian Americans were recorded to have been among the early settlers in the USA, and some of the countries these immigrants were coming from include China, Korea, Vietnam, India and Philippines. The majority of the Chinese migrated to the country during the Gold rush, which occurred in 1849. There was a limited movement of Asian Americans into the country starting from 1921, when national quotas were put in place to limit the movement of immigrants from Asia, Africa and Arabian countries. This was the case until 1965, when massive migration of this group of people began. This occurred secondary to the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in 1965, which lifted bans of Asian migrations into the country. This saw the number of immigrants rise from 490,000 people in 1960s to an estimate of 12.8 immigrants into the country in 2014. Studies indicate that indeed the number of Asian Americans continue to increase within the country, although there has been a decline in the rate of growth of this population whereby there has been a decline from 65% rate in 1990 to 12% during 2011-2014 (Zong and Batalova, n.p).
History and Trends of Immigration in the USA
Foreign immigrants started to enter the country in as early as 18th century, an era in which industrialization occurred. Most of the foreigners were a source of cheap labour in the industries, and the presence of illegal immigrants was not an issue until in early 19th century, when the country became aware of the increasing number of immigrants. Some national policies were implemented, which limited the entry of foreigners from different countries. Since then, there has been a gradual increase in the number of immigrants in the country. The number of individuals migrating into the USA has for long caught the attention of the public. Immigration has raised contentious discussions at all levels of governance, which are basically constituted by the federal and the state governments in the USA. The majority of the immigrants are Asian Americans. Despite their entry into the country for different reasons and using different routes, most of them have acquired legal permission to be in the country as citizens. However, Asian Americans are still among the largest group of immigrants who unlawfully inhabit the country. Studies by the migration policy institutes (MPI) indicate that during 2009-2013, an estimate of 1.5 million Asians out of the entire 11 million illegal migrants were in the country (Baker and Rytina n.p).
Chinese, Korean and Indian natives made up largest number of illegal immigrants in the country. Discussions have been held over and over regarding the extent to which the government can grant amnesty to those who live in the country illegally as well as whether immigrants, who got into the country at a young age, should be granted permission to work within the armed forces or attend state colleges. The issue of enforcing the immigration laws to limit the entry into the country has also been a contentious debate. It is worth noting, that all these questions and discussions are informed by the number of immigrants within the country as generated by the federal immigration department. A legal immigrant is defined as an immigrant who had been granted to be the permanent resident of the country by way of birth, green card, asylum or as a refugee. On the contrary, an illegal immigrant is any individual who is in the country without a legal permission while he or she is not native in the country or the one who has had a temporary permission to stay in the country, and after the time had elapsed, failed to leave. Reports by Homeland security indicated that in 2012 the country had a total of over 20 million illegal immigrants. Current reports reveal that the total number of Asian immigrants is higher compared to other groups. The American community surveys indicate that in 2014, the Asian American immigrants were 12.5 million, proving that this group had the largest number of immigrants in the country as compared to Africans and other groups of people (Baker and Rytina n.p).
There are many reasons of the increased migration of Asian people into the country. Such include the social unrests in some Asian countries, and on entry to the USA, these immigrants are received as refugees or asylums. Inclusion of the European countries and family ties are additional ways through which immigrants attain legal permanence in the country through the green card. Many citizens who are native in the USA are, however, raged because they believe that the flooding of illegal immigrants into the country has resulted in the competition for the available job opportunities. Others are afraid that the immigrants will reduce the cost of labour while enjoying the benefits of services at the expense of the taxpayers’ money. This kind of thinking has made the discussion of immigration policies contentious. Those who feel that the benefits accorded to the immigrants are greater than they deserve will definitely support policies which limit entry into the country. It is a discussion where the leaders are unable to come up with a definite conclusion (Baker and Rytina n.p).
DACA and Its Role in Migration of the Asian Americans in the Country
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is the program that was initiated by Obama in 2012 to protect individuals above 15 years, who were in the country illegally, from facing deportation. According to the law, all illegal immigrants in the USA are candidates for deportation. However, the DACA had been able to prevent deportation of a significant number of immigrants from the country. The DACA serves to provide relief to immigrants facing deportation as well as enable some of them to access work within the country. According to a report by Sylvia Rusin in 2015, the DACA authorized more than 600,000 illegal immigrants to stay in the country. However, not every immigrant is eligible for this relief. In order to be a part of the program, one must conform to certain qualifications pertaining his age, the place of residence, history of criminal activities as well as education level attained (Clauson n.p).
Reports by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicate that a significant number of Asian Americans and Pacific Island natives have been seeking DACA grant. The grant is renewed yearly, and there are different rules and regulations for different ethnic groups. In 2015, for instance, only 87,000 of Asian Americans were granted the relief; it is quite a competitive grant, and individuals applying for it must meet all the demands to be accepted in the country (Rusin n.p). In 2017, Donald Trump has threatened to end the program, and nearly 800,000 of immigrants, who have enjoyed the benefits of the program, could face possible deportation soon enough (Clauson n.p).
Reasons Why Illegal Asian Americans Immigrants Should Not Be Deported
Deportation is a lawful act, which involves expulsion of illegal immigrants from a country. After the recent 2011 shooting, the immigration department has come up with more stringent rules concerning migration into the country, and serious measures have also been employed to deport illegal immigrants from the country. Citing increased crime rates from illegal immigrants, the department has come out to strongly defend its actions. It is true that immigration has greatly encouraged the growth of the country’s economy while supporting dynamism. Immigrants are consumers, entrepreneurs and taxpayers, who have been adding to the gross domestic product of the country. They are consumers promoting local and international production, and it is therefore evident that the success of the country’s economy lies within the immigrants, both illegal and legal. The stringent measures by the immigration department to limit the entry of immigrants and deport those who illegally reside in the country can have detrimental effects on the country’s economy (West 427).
The benefits that come from the immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are more than can be imagined. Native citizens are all anxious and afraid of the increasing number of illegal immigrants gaining entry into the country every other day, but this shouldn’t be the case given the many benefits that the country gets from them. From the above discussion, it is clearly seen that Asian Americans form the largest population of immigrants in the country both legally and illegally. It is also evident that the majority of the Asian Americans strive to acquire legal permanent residence in the country, mainly through green cards. The Asian Americans are an outstanding population because they are also the most educated population with majority having a bachelor degree as compared to other immigrants as well as natives within the country. Therefore, they are likely to get better paying jobs, especially management jobs, which translate to higher income. This also means that they pay more taxes to the government. All of the above proves to be advantageous to the entire country as far as economic productivity is concerned. The Asian Americans also form a diverse population with different cultures. This has led to a more culturally rich society, which the USA can be proud of (Hagan and Rodriguez.1799).
Deportations are costly, and given the large number of illegal immigrants of the Asian American and Pacific Island nativity, it would lead to a loss of tremendous sums of the government’s money, which is basically taxpayers’ money. This money could be better used to develop other sectors, e.g. the health sectors and streamline functions, to ensure access to quality and affordable health care to all people within the country, an obligation which the government is still unable to meet. Some of the Asian Americans are in the country courtesy of having some family members within the country, and some may have delayed acquiring legal permanence through the green card for the reason that the process is lengthy, and many avoid such. Deportation of such members will cause break up of families, and those deported or those left behind could develop stress out of such an act by the government. It is also important to note that some immigrants are survivors of violence, and deporting them will make them more vulnerable to assaults and violence. The USA has taken many steps in coming up with Human Rights Acts. It can definitely come up with a plan to take care of immigrants, who are vulnerable to deportation (Hagan and Rodriguez1799).
Immigrants form a significant part of the USA both economically and socially. Asian Americans are more educated compared to the natives and are therefore more likely to acquire managerial jobs within the country. Deporting these people will mean a decline in the quality of workforce and hence productivity, which will consequently have a negative impact on the economy of the country. In fact, in 2015 more than 7 million of illegal immigrants were part of the country’s labor force while more than 700,000 young people had qualified to work within the country. Young people are more productive, and deportation of such a large number of people would deprive the country of significant productivity. Further reports indicate that most of the young immigrants, who are in the country, work, and so they pay taxes. This basically means that they don’t depend on the public services such as health care services or even pensions, which is contrary to the options of the majority of the native citizens. Every immigrant purchases the items, just like any other citizen, and by so doing pays taxes no matter whether he or she benefits from it or not. They stay in rented houses, and their rent is taxed. Given the large population of immigrants, one can only imagine what taxes the government collects from this group of people (Hagan and Rodriguez1799).
Immigrants have always had an impact on the country’s GDP. It can be quite a big task to estimate the contribution of immigrants to the total value of services and goods produced, but a study by the White House Council of Economic Advisers concluded that in 2007, the immigrants contributed 37 billion USD. With this kind of activity, people can clear their doubts as to the impact of immigrants to the economy of the country. Asian Americans form a big group of immigrants, and this indicates that they definitely contribute to the growth of the country’s GDP. This is another reason why they should not be deported (West 428).
Another study conducted to evaluate the impact of immigration on joblessness found out that there were no major differences between the immigrants and natives in joblessness rates. The differences were mainly noted because each group of people performed different jobs. While immigrants are more likely to work in construction sites, the service industry and the transportation industry, the natives are more interested in acquiring jobs in other sectors (West 440).
Generally, through their innovativeness and creativity skills, immigrants have grown the technology industry. The Silicon Valley among other high-tech industries was started and is owned by foreigners. In fact, most of the founders came to the country as students through scholarships. After the graduation, the country does not provide these young people a platform to show their great skills and talents. Most opt to stay within the country and start businesses. Saxenian, who is a social scientist, agrees that the biggest growth in the high tech industry began when Asian immigrants started streaming into the country. Silicon Valley attracted so many Chinese and Indians, and majority of the workforce in this company were Chinese and Indian immigrants in the early 20th century. This is not just a coincidence, but a fact to prove that the immigrants are talented and can largely benefit the USA. They should be given a chance to remain in the country and compete for the few job opportunities available. If they prove to be worth the job, which majority have, they can be granted the jobs (West 443).
The migration of the Asian community into the USA is a very contentious debate in the United States. One of the major reasons of an increased migration is social unrest in the Asian countries. However, most Americans feel that this increased migration does not benefit them, but rather is a disadvantage to them. Most Americans associate lack of employment to the influx of immigrants from Asia. This kind of thinking has made the discussion of immigration policies contentious.
The above discussion provides adequate support for the argument on the value of immigrants to the country. It can be argued that the discussions on immigrants can only lead to the appreciation of the many benefits the immigrants give to the country and by so doing, allow the undocumented immigrants in the country. They have added value to the economy, the culture and, to some extent, the political interests of the country. Asian Americans are a group of immigrants, who have stood out from other groups of immigrants, with most having attained a higher level of education.
Economic wise, the immigrants from Asia have contributed to the growth of the country’s GDP. Cultural diversity offered by the spectacular Indian tea houses and the various Chinese markets cannot be denied. In fact, these and many more cultural practices among the Asian Americans have led the USA government to set the month of to be an Asian Pacific Americans’ heritage month. This is a month when they get to celebrate their culture, history and traditions. The native citizens get to learn a thing or two from the heritage month. They have spearheaded innovation and growth in the high-tech industry and, indeed, have been and still are a strong driving force of innovation and business creation. Critics, who are against immigration, should look keenly at the facts and stop worrying about immigrants and taking away their jobs. It is therefore paramount to conclude that the immigration of Asian community into the United States is more a benefit than a disadvantage. Whether the immigrants are registered or not, the benefits far outweigh any purported disadvantage. Therefore, the deportation of undocumented immigrants of Asian Pacific should be discontinued at all costs.