Данная работа раскрывает миграционную обстановку в США. Кроме того, приводится законодательная база, ее эволюция. Затронута так же история вопроса и развитие проблемы миграции во временном контексте. На основании анализа причин миграционных процессов, устанавливается роль законодательных актов, изданных для урегулирования такого рода отношений.
The migration situation in the United States of America has always been in the focus of attention of both American politicians and the society. Today, the migration issues raise even stronger debates due to general political, economic and social instability in the world. The USA is one of a few highly developed countries, where the population is growing rapidly, not only due to natural increase, but also because of the immigration process. The US provides a huge platform for the implementation of economic interests and political freedoms, and these are the main reasons for the rapid increase of immigrants from different countries.
The first settlers were mostly Protestants, who came to North America from Western and Northern Europe in the XVII century and in the first half of the XVIII century, often escaping from religious persecution in their homeland. In seemingly ideal conditions of ethnic, cultural and religious closeness of the first immigrants the elements of xenophobia and group prejudices were apparent despite the fact that Americans positioned itself and still does as a nation of immigrants.
The structure of the immigration flows began to change in the XIX century. The Revolution, the formation of independent states in Latin America, that got involved into the sphere of economic and political influence of the United States (including completely open, based on the declared in 1823, "Monroe Doctrine"), the development of transport and communications, political changes in many parts of the world - all this led to the intensification of immigration and a change in the tendencies of the territorial and ethno-national structure of migration flows.
The first waves of immigrants were Protestant, but in the middle of the XIX century intensive immigration from Catholic countries of the Mediterranean and Ireland began. The fears of a possible change of religious and ethnic balance spawned among Protestants and as did the requirements to introduce immigration quotas to prevent the strengthening of the Catholic groups. Many Protestants then believed Catholics immigrants to be "the agents of influence" of the Pope. In 1840-ies, for example, there was a party under the name "Know Nothing", which was opposed to the admission into the United States of immigrants from Catholic countries, allegedly preparing a coup and a massacre of the Protestants in the United States. Several similar parties under various pretexts tried to ban the Chinese and Jewish immigration.
This distrust to Catholics is felt even now. In the history of the United States only one Catholic - John F. Kennedy - was elected president, though Catholics make about 25% of the total population of the nation.
Since the 1890s, significant migration flows streamed into the United States from Central and Eastern Europe, including a large-scale Jewish immigration. In 1890 the share of immigrants from Western Europe in the immigration inflow reduced to less than 50% compared to more than 95% in 1860.
Immigration growth peaked in the first decade of the XX century, when about 9 million people entered the country. In 1910, 14.7% of US residents were born outside the country. The increase in the number of immigrants and the changes in religious and ethnic makeup of the nation caused a strong public reaction. Numerous calls to limit or even stop immigration for a certain period were voiced.
At the beginning of the XX century a number of stringent administrative measures was adopted to limit the influx of immigration and to regulate its ethnic and regional structure. In particular, the Immigration Act of 1917 identified several categories of migrants not to be received, and made alterations in the already existing literacy qualifications. The new restrictions were introduced in 1918, 1921 and 1924. New changes were made to the legislation on migration in the postwar period. The Internal Security Act (1950) effectively banned the immigration of Communists and other left-wing "subversive elements." Revolutionary changes in migration legislation aimed at removing regional and racial restrictions started in 1960, in the framework of the general liberalization and the civil rights struggle. Immigration Reform Act (1965) increased the annual immigration limit and eliminated the regional and ethnic quotas, however, the number of people entering from the same country was limited to 20 thousand people.
In early 2004, President George W. Bush made a new legislative initiative to partially solve the problem of illegal immigration. The initiative made it possible for the US illegal immigrants, with the support of the employer to obtain a work permit valid for three years. During this period they were able, after payment of taxes and fines apply for permanent status. Otherwise, they could leave the country and take their money legally. Supporters of the initiative claimed that it would allow to establish control over the illegal migrants, would bring them out of the "gray zone", providing them with civil rights and guaranteeing the payment of taxes by them. Opponents believed that such a measure would only create additional incentives for illegal migration.
It is noteworthy that Bush planned to initiate the program at the very beginning of his presidency. But he was forced to postpone his undertaking in connection with the terrorist attacks in September 2001 and the subsequent tightening of immigration controls, and due to a general deterioration in relations with Mexico, that refused to support the US in Iraq. Unusual is the fact that Bush supported by conservative political layers made quite liberal positions in this issue, going against a large part of the Republican Party. This can be seen as evidence of the seriousness of the problem, of which the president, the former governor of Mexico bordering Texas, was fully aware.
Legislative initiatives in the area of migration have been actively discussed in the legislative assemblies of the States: only during 2007 they examined more than 1,500 specialized bills, 244 of which were adopted - 3 times as much as in 2006.
With the arrival of the administration of Democrat Barack Obama in the White house in January 2009, the immigration reform once again took place among the most radical of the expected beginnings. Obama's response to this situation was a peculiar and unexpected: in June 2012, he bypassed Congress (using the fact that the congressmen took a vacation) and issued Executive Directive on immigration. The Directive, in particular, blocked the deportation from the U.S. as illegal the immigrants under the age of 30 who had no serious problems with the law and either received a diploma of graduation from high school or served in the U.S. armed forces.
Nevertheless, due to the system of separation of powers in the United States, comprehensive immigration reform is still in question, as it requires the passage of the administration's proposals through Congress and the absence of objections by the judicial authorities on their conformity with the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, despite Obama's victory in the elections on 6 November 2012, the prospects of full-scale reform in this sphere are obscure.
According to the assessments of many sociologists, the American society is in the process of the shift from the traditional model of the "melting pot" to the model of "salad" or "mosaic". The idea is that society can break down into quite distinct ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic communities and become "multicultural" in a rather unexpected way. In the case of the "salad bowl" the country will be populated by American-Chinese, American-Mexicans and other communities; in the case of "mosaic" scenario the Chinese, Mexicans and other ethnic communities will live in the United States, but retain their old identity. The irony here is that the most important role in the occurrence of this dilemma is played by globalization and the technological revolution, facilitating the preservation of migrants’ ties with their homeland. A recent survey of 2,500 Latinos showed that 90% of them feel the need to as quickly as possible and effectively adapt to the American culture. However, for the same 90% it is important to preserve ties with the national culture. In general, the survey results show that in our time, the integration of immigrants into American society runs the same way as it did a hundred years ago.
The formation of the global labor market and large-scale labor migration have already become daily reality of the globalization era. The American experience of immigration policy, both positive and negative, confirms and reminds us that coercive solutions in this area cannot work. It is necessary to have a dialogue and to find a compromise on the level of the elites and the society in general.