Julia New blog 4 skilled and unskilled immigrants

This particular article caught my attention because I have always wondered if being a skilled or unskilled immigrant worker mattered in terms of social and economic mobility. While there is a common widespread belief that skilled immigrant have the upper hand because they are typically more educated and experienced in their field. Also, the more educated and skilled an immigrant is, the more likely they would be offered a citizenship or visa. However, this article debunks the common notion that even unskilled immigrant workers can move up economically as well with diligence and perseverance. The author gives examples of many unskilled immigrant workers who go from being unskilled and uneducated to highly skilled and highly educated. Basically, she believes that unskilled immigrant workers should be given the chance as well because they definitely have potential as well. She also mentions that if it weren’t for some unskilled immigrants like Irving Berlin, who was an uneducated song writer, America would not have had some of it’s iconic tunes such as “God Bless America” “White Christmas” or “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” would not have existed and our iconic tunes would be a lot more different if he was skilled. If he wasn’t granted immigration rights, he could have been killed during the Holocaust or something of the sorts or his song would have been totally different.

This graph shows the amount of immigrants each year from 1821-2005. There is a peak in immigration from 1921-1910, and then a drastic decrease since 1911. Perhaps the reason for the drastic decrease in immigration was because by the 1911s, they needed to start regulating immigration otherwise the country would become overpopulated. Places like Illis Island made sure immigrants were strong, healthy, competent, understands enough English, and had potential to succeed in order to become a citizen. This way, not everybody who wanted to live in America were able to. Eventually, citizenship became granted to immigrants based on the merit based system. The more educated, skilled, and experienced they were, the more likely they were granted a citizenship because they would more likely contribute to society than an unskilled worker.


Even unskilled illegal immigrants such as strawberry pickers and factory workers have been proven to be useful to the U.S. economy. They take the jobs that typical U.S. citizens would not dare to touch and are willing to accept the extremely low wages in exchange hoping for a better life in America. Now, they have become the backbones of the economy and have been preventing America from going bankrupt. Without them, we would not get a lot of our produce or food for most farmers now are illegal immigrants. There are nearly 8 million illegal immigrant workers in the United States. Illegal Immigrants are often needed to support businesses as well as many professional workers. http://www.voxxi.com/immigrant-fact-sheet-5-reasons-economy/

This graph illustrates the amount of illegal immigrants per legal workers in a lot of the hard manual labor careers. There is still at least 20% of manual laborers who are immigrant workers, though the portion does not seem that much compared to the rest of the laborers, 20% still makes a big difference in many businesses.


Now immigration has always been a controversial topic, but immigrants have shown to be rather important in society. Especially now with America’s economy not in good shape, and an increase in illegal immigration population, offering citizenship has become increasingly harder and harder to come by. Now, it seems like we are starting to have an overpopulation problem. However, immigrants typically want to live in America to have a better life, and therefore denying them citizenship is rather harsh as well. For many, the merit based policy may seem unfair because a lot of uneducated immigrants come to America to have a better life for their children since they could not have a good life in their native country. However, it merit based policy would encourage immigrants to work hard and earn their citizenship and would discourage the increase amount of illegal immigration. Either way, the immigration rules now require sacrifices on both parties. The merit based system may seem unfair to those who come from poor countries or poor families since not everyone has the privilege to be educated. Since I was born in American myself, and my parents legally immigrated to America from Taiwan, I don’t understand what it is like to be an immigrant and what they have to go through just to get a citizenship. Since I was born in America, I was automatically a U.S. Citizen. I never had to work for my citizenship, it was just given to me because I was born here, so I often take that for granted. I do agree that not everybody should be granted a citizenship, and there should be some selective process in deciding good citizen candidates. I would also take into consideration how much they need to be in the country like if they are escaping from war, famine, depending on the reasons for immigrating. Also, I do not think it is right to automatically be granted a citizenship if a non citizen married a citizen because it is really easy to manipulate the system and make the country more out of debt. Sure, a citizen and non citizen should be allowed to be married, but the non citizen has to earn their citizenship as well. There has been many instances where people only marry for the citizenship and the leave quickly after getting what they want. In general, immigration is a nasty topic to get involved in because there are so many variables and so many ways it can get complicated. But I do agree with the author, unskilled immigrants should be given the chance to prove themselves; for we have had some really successful unskilled immigrants.


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