Immigration

Emma Tran

Essay 1

Give an overview of immigrant history in the United States from 1820-1920. There were two major waves of immigration. Identify them and explain their differences.

The Great Migration was the largest mass movement in human history. From around 1820-1920, 23 million immigrants came to America. There were two major waves of immigration: Old Immigrants and New Immigrants. The Old immigrants started coming to North America from 1820- 1860 and were primarily from Northern or Western Europe: Germany, England, and Norway. Most were Protestants and could read and write. They were also skillful in professions and experienced in democracy. Many were wealthy and came to America with their families. New Immigrants started coming to North America from 1880-1924 and were primarily from Southern or Eastern Europe: Italy, Poland, Russia, China, and Japan. Immigrants were either Catholic, Orthodox, or Jewish. Most could not read or write and were unskilled in professions. A majority of them came alone with little to no money. The typical new immigrant was a young male, either Catholic or Jewish, and spoke very little to no English. He also had little money and education. He usually came with hopes and hard work.

Essay 2

Approximately how many illegal immigrants are now residing in the United States? What are the top five nationalities of illegal immigrants? Where are the top five places they reside? (Include numbers in each state.) During what period in our history did the largest arrival of illegal immigrants occur? Why do you think this was so?

According to data from 2014, 11.3 illegal immigrants reside in the United States. This means that they are living in the US without citizenship, a green card, or visa. The top five countries these illegal immigrants originate from, in order from greatest to least, are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Philippines. The top five places illegal immigrants reside are in are as followed, from greatest to least: California with 2,820,000, Texas with 1,830,000, Florida with 730,000, New York with 580,000, and Illinois with 540,000. Illegal immigration peaked in 2007 with 12.2 million illegal immigrants residing in the US. Today’s massive amount of illegal immigration is due to the early 1940s, during the war years. A shortage of workers caused the US government to set up a program, the Bracero Program, to import Mexican laborers to work temporarily in agricultural during harvest season and then coax them into going home. This was probably because the usual workers were being drafted into war, causing the labor shortage, leading to the Bracero Program. The immigrants saw this as an opportunity for a higher pay because of the better economy and the opportunity for a “better life.”

Essay 3

What are some valid indicators that tell whether an immigrant has assimilated (adapted/adjusted) into American society? You should identify at least three indicators. Why do these signify assimilation?

There are many valid indicators that tell whether an immigrant has assimilated into American society. The first, very obvious one is that they speak English. The main language spoken in America is English so it is vital to know at least the basics. A second indicator is that they have become self-reliant, hardworking, and morally upright. This is the work ethic that a majority of Americans have adopted is integrated into American society. A third indicator is that they take pride in their American identity and believe in its principles, including the fact that America is a “free country.” These signify assimilation because they have accepted that they are in America. They are an American citizen. They have conformed to the American society and have become “Americanized.” They fit in with society and do not hide themselves away from the rest of the country. They do not cling to other cultures and societal expectations. These assimilated immigrants take a step into America’s melting pot and explore their new home’s culture.

Essay 4

Define citizenship. How does a person become a citizen of the United States? Explain the two-part process. What is it called?

Citizenship is “the ​state of having the ​rights of a ​person ​born in a ​particular ​country” (Cambridge English Dictionary). There are many ways one can become a US citizen. The simplest way is to have been born in the US, or land acquired by the US. This rule is also applied if one has been born, for example, abroad, and the parents had been US citizens at the time of the child’s birth. If not born a US citizen, one can apply for naturalization. Naturalization is a two-part process consisting of a test and an interview with a USCIS officer. The test covers English and Civics, which is U.S. history and government. It is required to pass the naturalization test and interview. Applicants are given two opportunities for the test: the initial test and a retest, over the portion that has been failed. Once one has been granted naturalization, one must take an Oath of Allegiance to the US.

Essay 5

To what degree should we be proud or ashamed of American society and government between 1880 and 1920? Explain your answer.

We should be ashamed of the American society and government between 1880 and 1920. We should be ashamed of the poor treatment of the immigrants on Ellis Island. Families and friends were separated due to the detainment and harsh screening. Although they were trying to make America a better and safe country, we should still be ashamed. Immigrants faced long interrogations and screenings while still trying to catch their breath from the long set of stairs. This was the treatment they faced after the hard, long journey from Europe (and Asia). If they were detained, the treatment was the same as the treatment in the ship steerage without the boat rocking. Children were separated from their parents. Wives were separated from their husbands. America was falsely advertised to immigrants. This included the “cheap land” that was actually no longer available in the American West.

Lady Liberty

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The idea for creating a monument for the United States was initially proposed by Edouard de Laboulaye from France in 1865. Later, sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commisioned to design a sculpture to commemorate America’s 100th year anniversary of independence with 1874 as the completion date. It was named “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Both the US and France contributed to the construction. The US was responsible for the creation of a pedestal while France was responsible for the creation of a statue and assembling it in the states. Due to a lack of funds, both nations held events to raise money for the statue’s effort. In 1883, poet Emma Lazerus wrote a famous sonnet titled, “The New Colussus” for an auction to help raise money. In France, Bartholdi was assisted by engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel to design the framework for the statue. In 1884, architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the pedestal in America. A year later, the funds for the statue had been obtained and the two parts were completed: the pedestal, in April 1886, and the statue, in 1884. Almost a year later in the New York Harbor, Lady Liberty had arrived on a Frence frigate named, “Isere.” The statue was then reassembled in 4 months time.


The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom to millions around the world and is a tribute to those who created her: the people, the ideals, and the hope. A bronze plaque of Emma Lazerus’ “The New Colussus” has come to symbolize the statue's universal message of “hope and freedom for immigrants coming to America and people seeking freedom around the world.” (http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/)

Ellis Island

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Ellis Island is a small island in the New York Harbor in the upper bay off the New Jersey coast. It started out at 3.3 acres but grew to 27.5 acres due to landfills and excess earth from the mainland. Formerly a military fort, it transformed into a national gateway, providing as the barrier for immigrants. When immigrants would reach Ellis Island, they were prompted to a baggage check. After, they were to climb a large set of stairs to which a doctor waiting to briefly examine them awaited. After this, immigrants would go down the “stairs of separation.” One set of stairs led to New York, while the other led to New Jersey. A third set of stairs were for those who were going to be detained. The detainment dormitories were similar to the ship steerages. This was for those who failed the medical or legal screening. Following, immigrants would be screened and asked a series of up to 29 questions. On June 15, 1897, a fire burned the immigration station and caused the US Treasury to call for all future structures to be fireproof on that island. President Lyndon Johnson declared the island a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965. Ellis Island is a symbol of the story of American Immigration. Today, almost half of America can trace their family history to at least one person who passed through the border at Ellis Island.

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