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Immigrants to the US Essay


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Immigrants to the US


The British colonial administration governed the New World and when the first European immigrants reached its shores and moved further inwards, they met accommodative Native Indian tribes. This immigration was predominantly voluntary as Europeans looked towards a better life in the New World which was devoid of religious intolerance and presented numerous economic activities (Network Lobby, 2014). However, some of the immigrants came to the New World as involuntary immigrants by reason of being unwanted unlawful persons or as slaves from the Dark Continent. The contemporary US society is still the preferred destination for most of the world’s immigrants and has been an integral part of its social and economic prosperity. This essay seeks to look into reasons why so many people in the world look to immigrate to the US today.

Current Statistics on Immigrants in the US

According to Zong and Batalova (2015), immigrants in the contemporary US society include legal permanent residents, naturalized citizens, asylum seekers, refugees, international students, and people with long-term visas as well as unauthorized immigrants. In 2013, it was estimated that more than 40 million immigrants resided within the US and as such continues to attract an estimates 20% of the world’s prospective immigrants (Zong & Batalova, 2015). Immigrants therefore translate to about 13% of the total US population according to these statistics. There are a number of reasons as to why the number of immigrants into the US continues to increase. These reasons are dependent on the so called push and pull factors dictated upon by such issues as globalization, the economic health of US economy, political windows of opportunity, social factors, the state of immigrant home countries, as well as many others.


Globalization came as a result of rapid technological developments in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century in such critical economic sectors as transport and communication. Sea transport became cheaper and air transport was introduced making international travel more accessible to hundreds of thousands of people. Communication also improved significantly and later on exponentially as a result of new inventions and innovations in solid state physics.

Globalization resulted into a more integrated international community where the movement of goods and people was critical to the development of international trade and more so national economic growth (Zolberg, 2012). The nature of the US economy is such that it is dependent on immigrant labor and expertise towards ensuring its industries are able to satisfy the demand of their goods in international markets. The US economy depends on immigrants for innovative practices and cheap labor which are pivotal towards greater economic development. On the other hand, immigrant countries tend to encourage residents to immigrate to the US as a means to realize foreign exchange inflows from the US in the form of remittances (Zolberg, 2012).

Political Reasons  

The US is considered as one of the most liberal countries in the world as a result of its heavy inclination towards democratic principles as well as advocating for the upholding of the UN sanctions human rights and freedoms (Zolberg, 2012). Many countries do not conform to such ideals and the result has been political turmoil and in most cases numerous civil wars. The US has been accommodative to people seeking political asylum as a way to uphold the dignity and rights of fellow human beings. The US political administration at times tends to allow in more immigrants in an effort to influence election results to their favor.

Economic Reasons

The US as the world’s only major super power is home to the most diverse and largest industrial economic base. As such, when its economy is in good shape and exhibits encouraging growth trends, it allows in more immigrants in an effort to lower the cost of production in its industries (Zolberg, 2012). During such economic times, it is common for American industries to send out recruiters in an effort to attract the best skills and expertise from the international labor market. The US also enters into numerous economic agreements with many other countries which tend to influence migration in favor of the US.

Social Reasons

The US has one of the best education systems on Earth and as such, its institutions of higher learning play an important role in pulling for immigrants to the US as international students (Mauk & Oakland, 2013). It is common to find that most of these students tend to opt to remain as immigrants after they have completed their education. The wide labor market in the US also serves to encourage this trend. The religious freedoms witnessed in the US are unparallel in the world and as such there are numerous religious immigrants in the US (Mauk & Oakland, 2013). This is also one of the reasons why the US continues to have so many immigrants today.


There are indeed numerous reasons as to why the US continues to attract so many immigrants each year. It economic, political and social institutions tend to formulate policies as well as strategies which favor immigration. This paper has looked into some of the international push and pulls factors which have resulted into so many immigrants coming to the US each year. Given the numerous advantages immigrants associate residing in the US with, this number is likely to increase or remain the same in future.




Mauk, D. C., & Oakland, J. (2013). American civilization: an introduction. London, UK: Routledge.

Network Lobby. (2014). The History of Immigration Policies in the U.S. Retrieved from

Zolberg, A. R. (2012). Why not the whole world? Ethical Dilemmas of Immigration Policy. American Behavioral Scientist, 56(9), 1204-1222.

Zong, J. & Batalova, J. (2015). Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States. Retrieved from

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