Last Updated 01 Apr 2020

Discuss Three or Four Examples of Radical Changes Brought About by Past Waves of Immigration

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What do people gain when immigrating? It’s really hard to tell. However, what we do know is that immigration brings about radical changes to society. Nowadays, many countries with immigrants have great changes. For example, skillful Korean labor and Chinese immigration to the United States are the two typical examples that can illustrate that immigration has made radical changes. From the past to the present, immigration has generated great influence—not only positive influence but also negative one.

Many things have been influenced by immigration including the accelerating economy, the mixing of cultures and languages, and racist sentiments, such as anti-Chinese discrimination. The biggest benefit that immigration brings about is stimulating economic growth. Take the first wave of Korean immigration to the United States started in 1903 when Korean labors came to Hawaii as an example. At that time, Hawaiian sugar plantation owners needed labor to meet the shortage of labor resources. Labor is the key element to the development of productivity.

Skillful and vigorous Korean immigrants (primarily male adults among 20 to 30) developed the Hawaiian sugar plantation and facilitated the local economic growth. (Koo, Hagen. , & Yu, Eui-Young, 1981, p 2-8) With far more labor-abundant, the United States has stimulated economic growth. Immigration has brought huge economic benefits due to the labor resources which is an important factor of economic growth. Societies include a number of cultures and languages because immigrants bring their native cultures and languages to new countries.

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That’s the reason why we can see many Americans enjoy eating Korean food pickles and Europeans become more familiar with Korean movies A Li Lang in the 64th Cannes film festival. Edward (1999) found “Even though the majorities speak English in United States, significant portions are other language speaking, like Korean”. As we can see, immigration facilitates the current rise of multiculturalism, or the assimilation of a society of many different cultures and languages. Immigration not only brings about positive influence but also has negative impacts on society.

In many cases, immigration causes conflicts. In 1848, the California Gold Rush attracted many Chinese immigrants to the United States. The industrious but uneducated Chinese people promoted the exploitation of gold mines. However, according to Mark (2005) “Employers desired low-wage labor, perhaps opposing exclusion because the Chinese were inexpensive, highly productive workers and their presence increased company profits and reduced the bargaining power of native worker. Therefore, many Americans attributed their unemployment to the Chinese immigrants. Because Chinese immigrants lacked an effective political voice, they encountered hostile discrimination and ultimately, legislative prohibitions on further immigration when Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 (Mark, 2005, p 779). Chinese Exclusion was not the only case of how the ethnic majority mistreated the immigrants. Everything has two sides, we cannot only notice that immigration brings up some positive effects, it also causes restrictions.

Diverse cultural immigration can increase the development of society and bring many other benefits (Korean labor brought promotion of economic growth and their cultures and languages), but it also causes problems (the Chinese Exclusion). In order to reduce the conflicts, the government should take actions, like modify and enact legitimate laws. From the overview of ancient and modern, immigration does bring about radical changes which promote the development of society and human beings.

References Koo, Hagen. , & Yu, Eui-Young. (1981). Its demographic patterns and social implications for both societies. Korean immigration to the United States, 74, 2-8. P. Lazear, Edward, (1999). Culture and Language, Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 107, no. 6, part 2: S95-S126). Kanazawa, Mark. (2005) Immigration, Exclusion, and Taxation: Anti-Chinese Legislation in Gold Rush California. The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 779-805

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