The United States has widely been regarded as a land of opportunity. It becomes the desired destination for many people to pursue their “American dreams.” There are continuously massive waves of immigration from most parts of the world to America. Since the1600s to the 21st century, the United States, which has absorbed a vast number of immigrants, has been well-known as the nation of immigration. Particularly, in her article “Key Findings Of U.S. Immigrants”, Jinnah Radford informs us that “The U.S. foreign-born population reached a record 44.4 million in 2017.”
Immigration, literally, is defined as the international movement of people from place to place, occurring across the globe throughout time. Immigration is harsh, but there are varying causes for it. With hope for better lives, immigrants choose to leave their native lands were there experienced severe unemployment, failing crops, rising taxes, complicated politics, unstable economy, wars, or religious persecution to immigrate to new countries to seek more opportunities and freedoms. According to “Land of the Free,” there was a mass wave of emigration worldwide taking place from the early 1800s to the 1930s, the decade of the Great Depression. At that time, almost 60 million people from Europe came across the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. More than half of them landed in America (Caughey, Franklin, and May). Until now, the immigration flow keeps coming and accounts for large portions of the Americans. As a result, the young generation, or named Millennials, are the most diverse generation in ethics and races. Immigration is an important issue and has drawn significant attention to not only the government but also the young adults who are increasingly impacted in different ways. Obviously, that great number of immigrants cause wide-ranging effects on the American millennials, in terms of living attitudes, cultural assimilation, and the competitive job market.
Being raised in differing races and ethics environments since their childhoods, the American millennials own open living attitudes, particularly in conceptualizing American identity. As a part of integrating the progress of immigration, millennials successfully absorb and widening the ideas of national identity, not being narrowed just by specific things like color. According to the report “Who Belongs? Millennial Attitudes on Immigration,” the data reveals that “white Millennials stand out as the racial group that is most supportive of restrictive policy measures.” While many non-millennials believe immigration has negative impacts on U.S. society as well as immigrants are singled out as causes of rising crime, heavy loads on social infrastructure, ethnocultural conflicts, and a competitive labor market. However, the fact is immigrants have a far lower crime rate than US-born citizens; the majority of citizens on welfare and food stamps are U.S. Caucasians. Overall, compared to previous generations, millennials are more accepting of immigration that they are not much influenced by social stereotypes.
Because immigration has enriched American culture rather than undermining it, millennials gain more chances to approach new things around the world. All American culture, except for the Native American, is immigrant culture. Immigrants flow coming from different places in the world have contributed their own distinct characteristics to a collective culture with a new language, cuisine, customs, practices, holidays, expertise, and art. Every aspect in life has been opened than ever that millennials can enhance their living experiences. By sharing culture and developing the friendship between those with various backgrounds, millennials can help the country gradually becomes more interconnected. Various ethnic groups live in harmony, build connection networks, and make the world more open, connected and united. Living in a diverse community helps millennials to earn more skills to be flexible and adaptive which is useful for them to live anywhere else.
Immigrants have made significant contributions to the competitive job market for millennials in short term and long term. In short term, immigrants create more jobs for millennials, contrary to the common misconception that immigrants take jobs from native US workers. Compared to the early waves of emigration, the new generations of immigrants who have practical knowledge, skills, experiences are likely to become entrepreneurs or work for themselves. They explore more opportunities that bring them more capital, add more innovative ideas, and aspire to the entrepreneurial spirit of America. According to “Facts About Immigration and the U.S. Economy,” 18 percent of US small businesses are owned by immigrants and they are about 30 percent are likely to start their own businesses than native residents (Costa, Cooper, and Shierholz). Undoubtedly, the successive waves of immigration play a critical role in boosting wages, strengthening the economy, and earning more funds for the government.
Apparently, the number of immigrants arriving has enlarged the U.S. working labor which will improve and increase the working skills for millennials in the long run. For decades, waves of newcomers have kept the U.S demography young, an advantage that expands the U.S. labor force. More working labor means more working skills displaying. It, hence, is a great chance for millennials to elaborate and improve themselves over time. Moreover, there are specific industries, like science and technology, that immigrants are capable of making advantage of with advanced degrees. In the article “Ten Ways Immigrants Help Build and Strengthen Our Economy,” Jason Furman and Danielle Gray claim that, “According to the Census Bureau, despite making up only 16 percent of the resident population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, immigrants represent 33 percent of engineers, 27 percent of mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientist, and 24 percent of physical scientists”. Generally, the workforce labor from immigration can bring more benefits for developing millennials’ career paths.
In conclusion, immigration has a combination of impacts on the American millennials from specific perspectives. Immigration is an integral part of the United States’ historical development and makes the U.S. strong today. Immigration waves have kept the U.S constantly changing perspectives -making it more flexible and adaptive. To gain more advantages of immigration in the long term, and not result in high social costs, there are practical immigration policies needed.