Back in 1965, the United States government created the Immigration and Nationality Act (also known as the Hart-Celler Act) in an effort to reunify migrant families. This law abolished the earlier quota system of national origin that had been established in 1924, after thousands of immigrants arrived in Ellis Island. As we said before, the new policy aimed to reunite immigrant families, and this benefited in particular many mothers and sisters who had been left behind in their home countries. So, today there are more female immigrants than men, and this ratio presents interesting challenges and opportunities to the economy and political life in the United States.
According to Fiona Citkin of the Huffington Post, immigrant women not only make up 13% of all female population in the country, many of them are more highly educated than their native born counterparts, holding Master’s and Doctoral degrees (11.6% vs. 10.8%).
The largest influx of immigrants comes from Mexico, but in spite of the vital importance of immigration to the economic growth of the United States, in recent years more immigrants from Mexico have been forced to leave rather than come to this country. The Bush administration drove away tens of thousands of immigrants, and between 2009 and 2014, over one million Mexican immigrants returned home, leaving agricultural areas in States like California, Nevada, and Oregon in dire need of help. “…the $374 billion U.S. agriculture sector is critical to the U.S. economy, but its health depends on a functioning immigration system…”, said the American Immigration Council.
According to Pew Hispanic Center “the slow recovery of the U.S. economy after the Great Recession may have made the U.S. less attractive to potential Mexican migrants, and may have pushed out some Mexican immigrants as the U.S. job market deteriorated.”
In 2014, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorized a program known as the H-2A that allows U.S. employers or agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs on a temporary basis. However, there are so many forms to fill out and so many regulations to meet, that many desperate farm owners prefer to hire undocumented immigrants directly, thus affecting the national economy and that of the immigrant workers themselves. H-2A visa shortcomings are key factors in a 27 percent decline in market share for U.S. growers, accounting for $3.3 billion in missed GDP growth and $1.4 billion in unrealized farm income…”, said an article published on Immigration Impact, of AIC.
The H-2A program does not establish any annual limitations on the number of temporary foreign workers that may come to the United States (although employers must certify that there are no local workers that can perform a job before they hire a non-immigrant workers). Also, by following protocol when hiring immigrant workers, those workers are protected by laws from physical abuse and exploitation.The H-2A visa not only applies to agricultural work. It also allows individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement, representatives of foreign media, temporary religious workers, artists or entertainers, and TN NAFTA professionals to legally work — again, on a temporary basis — in the United States. Still, in spite of the recession and massive deportations of recent years, “There are more Latino voters than ever…”, says Pew. In fact, 1.2 million Hispanic immigrants will have became U.S. citizens by the end of 2015 and that represents today 27.3 million Hispanics eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election. More Latinos voting, will mean new attitudes and influence not only on immigration — the most important issue to all immigrants in this country — but also in parenting, the economy, and education.
Immigrant mothers (most of them Hispanic) are much stricter and influential than the average American mother is in the 21st Century. According to Pew Research, Hispanic parents of children ages 13 to 17 have strong opinions on areas on appropriate or inappropriate behavior in school, at home, and on their children’s social lives as a whole.They are also wary of the Internet and constantly monitor what their children are watching online.
A very interesting aspect of the Hispanic style to raise children is the way they are taught to behave towards others — in person and online. Asian and Hispanic immigrants tend to live longer with their parents — Asians more than Hispanics. Hispanics are also wary of guns, 75% of the Hispanic population in the United States say that “it’s more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun rights”. (Pew Research).
Today there are large numbers of professional immigrants working for corporations in Michigan. While agricultural workers are leaving the United States, in Michigan, Hispanic professionals are arriving in large numbers to make up for a shortage of engineers in the state. Reinventing Michigan, a publication by the Michigan government, states that immigrants are powerful job creators, and that “for nearly every immigrant with high-tech skills coming into our country, more than two and a half additional jobs are created for American workers.”
In the words of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, “We need to encourage immigration in Michigan. That’s how we made our country great.”