The USA is one of the primary hosts of immigrants from various countries. In the vast majority of cases, immigrants come from developing countries (Tobia 71). Nepal is one of the regions people often try to leave. The country is trapped between the Himalayas and India that often defines political and social policies in Nepal (Oberst 481). In order to travel and trade, Nepalese people have to use Indian roads and ports, which makes the country rather dependent on India and reliant on “the goodwill of the Indian government” (Oberst 481).
In addition to the lack of political freedom, the country is characterized by challenging environmental peculiarities such as droughts and earthquakes (Chapagain and Gentle 1). An immigrant from Nepal coming to the United States is pursuing a better life and future. It is an overwhelming process wrought with fear and challenges that are personal, social, legal, and political.
Legal and Political Challenges
The process of immigration is quite lasting and difficult especially when it comes to the residents of developing countries. Those who want to enter the United States and obtain a visa should undertake many steps in collecting documentation and ensuring their economic ability (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). Those who enter the USA illegally face even more issues as it tends to be difficult to get a visa for such people.
One of the reasons for these difficulties is the current political agenda as President Trump and the Republican Party enact various acts that make immigration process even more difficult (Nakamura and Kim). Newcomers face various issues that have a strong effect on the way these people see the country. The hostility of the officials and ordinary Americans is one of the factors that makes immigrants return to their home countries.
Receiving work permits and obtaining residency is another challenge because of some economic issues and prejudice employers have regarding immigrants (“The Prejudice You Don’t Know You Have”). For instance, some people believe that immigrants are mainly unskilled workers with limited educational background. It is often believed that immigrants can perform a limited set of tasks. Therefore, Nepalese immigrants have to address many issues that make them feel overwhelmed and desperate.
As far as social acceptance is concerned, people in the USA are becoming less open these days. They become fearful of immigrants for many reasons. One of these reasons is the white majority’s unwillingness to lose their status as they are afraid of becoming a minority (Norris). The claims of many people regarding the rising number of immigrants and the demographic disproportion suggest that White people do have some concerns in this respect. Many Americans are also afraid of changes that are taking place, so they develop negative attitudes towards people who are associated with these novelties.
Moreover, there are also fears related to the lack of employment opportunities. Many native-born Americans (irrespective of the color of their skin) and those who came to the country some time ago think that newcomers will take their jobs (Norris). It is necessary to note that the new trends in the labor market have taken place for decades. Many people lost their jobs due to the development of new production processes that do not require many workers.
Machines are now performing numerous tasks, so blue-color laborers often lose their jobs. Staff reductions became quite common due to economic issues as companies had to optimize their business processes. All these factors contribute to the emergence of the atmosphere of intolerance and social tension. Americans do not try to analyze the reasons for the economic situation in the country but simply blame immigrants for every economic problem.
Another factor contributing to the lack of acceptance is the existing stereotypes regarding religion and ethnicity. Terrorist attacks that take place in different parts of the world and the shock of 9/11 make many White residents of the USA distrustful towards certain groups. Muslims are often regarded as potential terrorists even though Islam is the religion that condemns violence. Cultural stereotypes make people hostile to newcomers and can make immigrants adopt some behaviors that are not typical of their cultural groups (Alba and Nee 246). These people will try to seem the opposites of the existing stereotypes, but this approach can also lead to unwanted results. The created image may be regarded as even a worse option for the residents who would try to avoid communicating with people trying to assimilate in such a way.
One of the costs Baral claims to pay for living in the USA is losing touch with Nepal. Immigrants often have little time to maintain close ties with their relatives and friends living in their native country. In many cases, immigrants do not have an opportunity to communicate with their close ones due to the lack of resources. These disappearing links make immigrants feel “isolated and unhappy” (Baral). The lack of communication with the family and other Nepalese people leads to the Americanization of immigrants who came from Nepal. These people adopt new ways and behaviors that are typical of the American society.
Assimilation is another challenge for many immigrants and their families. It is noteworthy that scholars have not agreed on the meaning of the term, but people often sense it (Kivisto 5). Baral states that he is assimilating little by little as he takes up some behaviors and daily routines. The life in the USA is very different from living in Nepal, and the difference can now be traced in the changes in Baral’s life. This is a matter of jokes for his family, but it is also a reason for some sorrows. Baral is becoming a new man, which makes it more difficult for him to maintain links with his friends or even family members living in Nepal.
Arguments Against Immigration
People often name different arguments against immigration, but aspects related to national security and economy are rather common (Nowrasteh). The rising level of nationalism in countries and decreasing popularity of globalization makes immigration unattractive for many. Such politicians as Donald Trump who uses his high position to build walls reflect the trends existing in many societies (Nakamura and Kim).
Many leaders claim that they try to strengthen the national security of their countries, so they have to reduce the number of immigrants they accept. Stereotypes concerning some cultural groups, as well as the stories about criminal activities of immigrants, often receive the attention of the media. It is noteworthy that journalists are also partially responsible for the spread of a distorted image of immigrants. President Trump uses his power to decrease the number of quotas for immigrants coming from different regions. These measures pose additional barriers to immigration as well as the development of the American society.
Economic factors also have an influence on people’s acceptance of immigrants. As mentioned above, people are afraid of losing in the war for resources. The loss of a job and receiving a smaller salary are only some fears people have (Nowrasteh). Many people argue that immigrants abuse welfare, but this argument is ungrounded as well. Immigrants do not have access to almost all welfare opportunities. On the contrary, newcomers generate revenues and contribute to the development of the American economy without using all those benefits Americans enjoy.
The opponents of immigration do not pay attention to the favorable factors associated with the impact immigrants have on the economy of the host country. They concentrate on the issues that exist in the society even though many of these problems are not related to immigration at all. It has been acknowledged that the “smallest estimated immigration surplus” is 0.24% of the country’s GDP (Nowrasteh). The estimates exclude immigrants’ gains but concentrate on the benefits for native-born Americans. Moreover, the demographic situation in the USA is quite alarming as its population is aging rapidly. Immigrants are becoming the driving force that can deal with new demographic challenges.
Importantly, diversity has always been associated with innovation and progress as societies need multiple perspectives to develop solutions to the existing problems. It is necessary to remember about the outcomes associated with the major waves of immigration that took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. Immigrants contributed significantly to the development of the economy as they brought their knowledge and talent (Nowrasteh). They did not waste any opportunities as they knew that they had no chance to fail. The vast majority of immigrants tend to work hard as they believe in the American Dream and try to achieve their own goals in the new land.
Therefore, the removal of barriers to immigration will be beneficial for the US society. US residents will be able to look for new opportunities if they become more open and willing to integrate newcomers more effectively. It is essential to launch nationwide projects and programs aimed at educating people about the way immigration affects the development of the USA. Native-born people and newcomers should be targeted through different types of media with the focus on television and social networks.
It is critical to make people understand that competition is beneficial for all since it leads to personal growth and the development of the economy. This attitude will encourage immigrants to be more active. Irrespective of all the challenges, the journey to the USA is worth it, and people should know it.
The contemporary society has become more reserved when it comes to immigration. The experience of a Nepalese immigrant shows that these people leave their countries in search of a better future for their children. Immigrants have to address many barriers and challenges that are regarded as overwhelming because these people do not feel social support. They lose their ties and feel isolated in the new country. It is essential to develop effective ways to address the major issues related to immigration. At the same time, it is critical to pay the most attention to Americans’ attitudes towards the matter and numerous biases they have.
Kiran Baral has come to the USA quite recently and shared his feelings concerning his immigration experience. He is an IT professional and is fluent in English, but he also finds the process “extremely difficult” (Baral). One of the primary reasons for his desire to leave his homeland was the wish to give a better future to his children. It is noteworthy that personal reasons can be very different as some people are trying to escape from wars or other dangers (Tobia 71).
They may also want to solve their financial issues as many developing countries have a few opportunities for the proper compensation of labor. As mentioned above, Nepal is characterized by a specific geographic location that is also one of the factors making people leave their homeland. As far as Kiran Baral is concerned, he came to the country two years ago, and he is working hard to bring his family to the USA as well.
When he went to the United States, he knew “no one and nothing about life in the new land” (Baral). It was “scary” for him to go, but he had no choice due to economic and social issues in Nepal. Baral notes that he encounters some bias, but he understands that all people (including himself) have prejudice. Therefore, he does not mind it, but he adds that he never faced any violence or bullying. At that, he has heard many stories about violence against Nepalese people or other immigrants. However, irrespective of all the hardships mentioned above, the “hardest thing” for the immigrant was the separation from his wife and his two children (Baral). He feels “devastated most of the time” and dreams about living together (Baral). At the same time, such thoughts often serve as a stimulus to work harder.
Alba, Richard, and Victor Nee. “Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of Immigration.” Incorporating Diversity: Rethinking Assimilation in a Multicultural Age, edited by Peter Kivisto, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, pp. 235-277.
Baral, Kiran. Personal interview. 2019.
Chapagain, Binod, and Popular Gentle. “Withdrawing from Agrarian Livelihoods: Environmental Migration in Nepal”. Journal of Mountain Science, vol 12, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-13.
Kivisto, Peter. “The Revival of Assimilation in Historical Perspective.” Incorporating Diversity: Rethinking Assimilation in a Multicultural Age, edited by Peter Kivisto, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, pp. 3-32.
Nakamura, David, and Seung Min Kim. “As Trump Struggles to Curb Unauthorized Immigration, His Rhetoric Gets Tougher, but Quick Solutions Are Elusive.” The Washington Post. 2019. Web.
Norris, Michele. “As America Changes, Some Anxious Whites Feel Left Behind.” National Geographic. 2018. Web.
Nowrasteh, Alex. “The 14 Most Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They’re Wrong.” Cato Institute, 2018. Web.
Oberst, Robert. Government and Politics in South Asia, Student Economy Edition. 7th ed., Routledge, 2018.
“The Prejudice You Don’t Know You Have | Havi Carel & Richard Pettigrew.” YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks. 2016. Web.
Tobia, L. “Exposure to Violence and Conflict: Exploring Predictors of Unauthorized Migration to the USA”. Global Social Welfare, vol 4, no. 2, 2016, pp. 71-80.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services. “Immigration Handbooks, Manuals and Guidance.” Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security, n.d. Web.