In the mid-1860s and late 20th century, Amethe rica experienced major immigration waves.

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In the mid-1860s and late 20th century, Amethe rica experienced major immigration waves. Majority of the immigrants were forced to come to the US due to war, hunger, and poverty in their homeland. They were also motivated by the need for better economic opportunities in the country. Others came to the country against the will. The immigrants came from different parts of the world including Europe, Asia, and Africa among others. The coming of the immigrants raised concerns for the native-born Americans leading to immigration criticism which led to immigration policies. Some of the policies were aimed at controlling the influx of immigrants. Immigration and immigration policies in the US led to economic growth, improved diversity, and hostility towards immigrants.

Immigration led to economic growth in America through increased demand for consumer goods and a steady supply of cheap labor. From mid 1860s, the US experienced an increase in population of immigrants mostly Germans and Irish. Issues such as war, revolution, and famine in the home countries drive the immigrants into the US. The increased population called for more consumer goods. The immigrants took over the production jobs offering cheap labor[1]. The immigrants played a major role in the transition to the urban industrial economy. They were over-represented in mining, and skilled traders.  During the industrialization era, immigrants made up the majority of the workers. The majority were less skilled but provided a cheap labor force for industrial development. For the few with know-how, they helped in increased productivity in the agricultural sector. This brought up a change in living approach. The immigrants settle in urban areas where they could be assigned the labor. The native-born Americans believe in living in rural areas. However, the waves of the immigrants created a new trend of urbanization[2]. Even though the natives were against this trend, the urban areas started growing and developing. The population also started growing and eventually cities started attracting more people. The agriculture and industrial sectors started boosting the US economy.

The immigration laws improved diversity in the US[3]. During the global depression in the 1930s, and during the Second World War, the immigrants flow into the US reduced. After the war, the labor force was required forcing the congress to encourage more immigrants into the country by passing special regulations attracting immigrants from the Soviet Union and from Europe. However, the Immigration and Nationality Act encouraged immigrants in the Uthe S to sponsor their relatives in the country. This changed the demography of the country. A new ethnic and religious diversity was brought into the country characterized by Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists. People from across India, Africa, China, and Asia. America has changed to a society composed of various races including Latinos, blacks, Asians and the whites. The immigrants came to the US with their culture and ways of doing things. After the interaction, the different cultures influenced each other[4]. The native-born Americans saw their culture, religion, and politics being changed by the immigrants. Some African American engaged in politics due to the legal support of the immigrants. America saw a surge of immigrants who are more supported by the federal government though they still faced discrimination in the country.

The backlash to migration led to widespread hostility towards the immigrants.  The differences between the immigrants and the native Americans in religion, politics, race, and job threat forced the native-born Americans to direct hostility to the immigrants. The immigrants were considered unfit for American citizenship and for labor in the country. Immigrants suffered racial segregation, and discrimination. For example schools were segregated with whites schooling separately from other races. The hostility led to the emergence of civil rights[5]. The fear of changes in social order brought by immigrants made the racists respond with violence. This brought up a new wave of protests seeking for racial equality. Majority of the immigrants faced racial injustice including innocent killings, slavery, and brutal attacks. A change was experienced with civil rights activists leading demonstrations against racism[6]. The African Americans started the fight for their rights while other minorities joined them later. In the 1960s, a change occurred when the immigrants made significant progress in fights for civil rights. The passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a great step towards equal treatment in the US. Although, this was not the end of hostility towards immigrants, it was a great step towards equality irrespective of race in the US.

In conclusion, it is clear that immigration and immigration policies in the US led economic growth, improved diversity, and hostility. Immigrants in the US provided cheap labor which helped in the economic development of the country. The labor force participated in the agriculture and industrial growth. The population of the native-born Americans was not large enough to promote the economic wellbeing of the country. The immigration policies established by the federal government encouraged more immigration leading to a greater diversity into the country. Even with these benefits, the native-born Americans were against the immigrants as they accused them of changing their culture, religion, and politics and taking away their jobs. The immigrants have changed the US in terms of urbanizations, culture integration, and equality.


[1] Sukkoo, Kim. Immigration, Industrial Revolution and Urban Growth in the United States, 1820-1920: Factor Endowments, Technology and Geography. (Washington University in St. Louis and NBER, 2007) 23.

[2] Kim, Immigration, Industrial Revolution and Urban Growth in the United States, 30.

[3] Scott, Corbett, Jamseen, Volker. & Lund, John. U.S History (OpenStax, 2014).

[4] Tomas, Jimenez. Immigrants in the US: How well are they integrating into Society? (Migration Policy, 2011), 3.

[5] Corbett, et al., U.S History, 28.5

[6] Corbett, et al., U.S History, 28.5