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3: Immigration and Migration
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- 3.1: History and Background
- Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence. Immigration occurs for many reasons, including economic, political, family re-unification, natural disasters, or poverty. Many immigrants came to America to escape religious persecution or dire economic conditions. Most hoped coming to America would provide freedom and opportunity.
- 3.2: Intergroup Relations
- Assimilation theory posited that immigrant assimilation was a necessary condition for preserving social cohesion and thus emphasized a one-sided, mono-directional process of immigrant enculturation leading to upward social mobility (Warner & Srole, 1945). Assimilation ideas have been criticized for lacking the ability to differentiate the process of resettlement for diverse groups of immigrants; they fail to consider interacting contextual factors (van Tubergen, 2006).
- 3.3: Intersectionality
- Within intersectionality theory, an individual has multiple intersecting identities that are informed by group memberships such as gender, class, race, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, religion, nativity, gender identity, and more (Case, 2013). Intersecting identities place an individual at a particular social location. Individuals may have similar experiences with other individuals within one community, but their experiences may also be quite different depending on other identities they hold.
- 3.4: Social Institutions
- As the United States continues to address immigration policy, it is important that the public and elected officials have the best information possible about the effects of immigration. The findings by sociologists and other social scientists that immigrants have lower crime rates and that immigration has apparently helped lower the U.S. crime rate add an important dimension to the ongoing debate over immigration policy.
- 3.5: Social Change and Resistance
- With the rise of tougher immigration policies and xenophobic-driven hate crimes, immigrants in the United States have many obstacles to overcome. The next section will highlight some of the most pressing legal matters, as well as, human rights concerns that require a need for social change through a social justice lens.