Wednesday, May 29, 2013

International conflict

International conflict Introduction There is no doubt in America that the founding fathers had a different idea of typical “American” citizen. Under this conception, were the individuals of “Nordic” ancestry originating from Northern and Western Europe. However, across the border line were people of Eastern European, as well as Asians, and Mexicans. Collectively, they were viewed as stain on the social fabric of what was considered the American life. The origin of this conception can be traced back to the colonial history of America (Keely, 1979). It is a conception that persisted in the minds of the Americans for ages. A major conflict emanated from the increase in immigrants into the United States. The United States has historically been receptive to immigrants from all parts of the world. Because of the increase in the number of non-Americans in the country, a large part of the Americans have held the feeling that their American identity is threatened. This movement of people from all cultures around the world is problematic because of the conflict of cultures as evidenced by historical conflicts among different groups in the country. Although many of the United States citizens are descended from immigrants, the people have not always been welcoming to new immigrants. Besides the issues of cultural conflicts and threat to the American way of life, the settled Americans have always viewed new immigrants as competition. There have also been tensions between the idea of our country as a nation created by immigrants and the idea of national security. There have also been tensions between legal obligation of Americans to be just, fair race and nation of origin notwithstanding, and discriminatory and prejudice attitudes that have impacted on immigration policy as well as treatment of some immigrant cultures. There have also been conflicts between the desires of employees to have a better pay ad the desire of the employers to control the economy with the immigrants providing low cost labor (Briggs, 1996). African culture The immigration of Africans into the United States has been in many senses a record of racial and ethnic conflicts. All the new immigrants into the United States have faced resistance from the native-born Americans, but the immigrants from the African nations have been most affected. The African Americans have faced not only disproval, but also clear discrimination and violence. Nativism, a social and political movement that set the native-born Americans against new immigrants has been a common part of the American history. The origin of problems among immigrants of African descent is in the institution of slavery. Following the institution of slavery, Africans became stigmatized. This stigma came to be the basis for the stronger anti-African racism that has persisted in the history of immigration in the United States (Hume, 2002). The conflict as far as this culture is concerned emanates from its treatment as second-class citizens. For example, in the Second World War, the Africans in the United States were only allowed to enlist as segregated units. The conflict between the African Americans and the native-born Americans began with the efforts of the slaves to gain freedom from their masters. With the existence of laws like Jim Crow laws and grandfather clauses, discrimination against blacks did not end even after emancipation. Criminal activities and other forms of discrimination against people of color persisted. The emergence of protests and lobbyist movements took effect in the beginning of the 20th century. Racial tensions became prevalent in the country in the 1920s. Racial violence in the United States was widespread in the 20th century (Briggs, 1996). Some of the Americans and African Americans sought emigration as a conflict resolution method. The American Colonization Society, during the 1820s and 1830s was the major force behind the suggestions to return African Americans back home where there would be greater freedom and equality. During the time, under the colony of Liberia, thousands of African-American slaves were moved to Africa from the United States. According to the founder of the movement Henry Clay, “unconquerable prejudice resulting from their color, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country. It was desirable, therefore, as it respected them and the residue of the population of the country, to drain them off” (Sale, 1997: 264). This statement was true based on the fact that conflicts did not end for the African Americans who were left in the United States. Due to the continued racial conflicts in the country even after emancipation, other ways of resolving the conflicts had to be designed. The civil rights movement in the United States resulted to the passage of the Civil Rights Law of 1964 that sought to end the conflicts related to racial discrimination in the country. It is at times referred to as the Second Reconstruction era. This name echoes the unresolved conflicts of the Reconstruction era in the United States (1863–1877). The civil rights law, to a great extent solved some of the major conflicts and led to acceptance of African Americans as part of the American population (Hume, 2002). The Asian culture The modern United States immigration policy against Asian culture has its roots from the events following the First World War. The breakdown of the Ottoman Empire, German Empire, Russian empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire following the war caused an enormous uprooting of individuals, causing economic and political volatility in its wake. Back in the United States in 1920, the need for labor was affected by the initial serious economic recession in three decades. Following the arrival of masses into the United States, in the initial years of the 1920s, the United States Congress was put under pressure to avoid the entry of more immigrants. In the 1920s, and due to the fact that the country was facing internal economic recession, unparalleled increase in international migration, immigration became a major issue in the American politics. Continued entry of individuals from Asian countries was viewed as a threat to the economy of the country particularly because of recession. Additionally, Americans considered it in their national interest to bar these immigrations. According to the Americans, the new immigrants seemed to pollute the Nordic blood of “common” American. They also threatened the security as well as the moral fabric of the American society (Keely, 1979). This more than ever before, created political pressure for restrictionist immigration policy that was in line with more culturally and ethnically stable as well as homogenous citizenry. Immigration policy in the years following the First World War borrowed from the Immigration Act of 1917, which had borrowed from sundry laws, typically enacted in gradual manner between 1882 and the beginning of 1900s. The Act of 1917 increased the groups of immigrants that could be excluded from entering the United States. In the act, there were passages related to the “Asiatic Barred Zone.” This denied entry to individuals from east of Iran to the Pacific. This was viewed in the country as a way of addressing the issue of racial and cultural conflicts. Asians were viewed in the country as “undesirable race.” While the quota system persisted against Asian cultures, there were efforts to eliminate discrimination on the basis of color, race, sex or nation of origin (Hero, 2010). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted as another way of dealing with conflicts in the United States emanating from immigration. With the act, the United States congress sought to reevaluate its immigration laws. While the humanitarian values debate seemed to be gaining grounds in avoiding discrimination against the minority in the country, it was countered by the prevailing quota system as a way of protecting the United States economy as well as its national interests. The final nature of the immigration ct of 1965 seemed to reflect the success of the humanitarian camp, however, restrictionist side succeeded in bartering a deal toward protection of labor laws. While the Asians were allowed to continue entry into the United States, the restrictions that were imposed on who should enter played a positive role in addressing the conflicts emanating from new immigrants from Asian countries into the United States. The united states immigration policies might have seemed discriminatory, but at the end of the day they were a major element in dealing with the issues and conflicts in the country that were emerging from massive Asian immigration at such a time when the country was facing internal problems such as recession (Briggs, 1996). The Hispanic culture According to Bodvarsson (2009) there has been an extraordinary increase of Mexican immigrants into the United States. It is estimated that there are 11 million Mexican immigrants in the country, as well as another 10 million United States born Mexican Americans. This group constitutes about two thirds of the whole group of Hispanic immigrants in the country. In general, Hispanics make up almost half all foreign born American residents (Huntington, 2004). The rapid increase of immigration to the United States from Latin America has led to an increase in the general Hispanic population in the country. The cultural group that is generally known as Hispanics comprises of immigrants from Latin American nations as well as their descendants. Migration from these nations has been so large such that in 2002, the Hispanics became more than African Americans looking at the minority groups in the country. In the 2002 census, the U.S. Census Bureau provided an estimate of 37 million Hispanics in the country as compared to about 36.1 million African-Americans. The increase in Hispanics in the United States has always been viewed by majority of Americans has unfavorable. According to Huntington (2004), “the persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages.” The author does not see the increase in Hispanic immigrants in the United States as being favorably. Like many Americans, he suggests that Hispanics are less likely compared to previous immigrants to assimilate, gain knowledge of English, and attain income equivalence of native-born Americans. Such huge immigration from a single culture has always been a source of conflict in the destination country. It is a fact that the large waves of immigration into the United States will continue to be a cause of conflicts between different cultural groups in the country (Hero, 2010). Due to the American sentiments against Hispanics, their immigration seems to be the major focus on the active opposition to immigration into the United States, not different from anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany that targets the speedy increase in Turkish immigrants to the country or the French resistance to additional immigration from North Africa. The United States has always resolved such conflicts by enacting policies to restrict further immigration into the country. Immigration from Mexico has been particularly restricted especially for permanent immigrations. Public laws passed in 1976 and a1978 restricted the number of people who could enter the country from each country. The unified world policy prevented the unprecedented immigrations from all countries including Mexico. In 1978, the unified policy restricted Mexican visas to 20,000 each year and also closed the labor certification loophole. Additionally to address the issue of illegal immigration from Mexico, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was enacted in 1986. Given the fact that Mexico, is bordering the United States, law enforcement at the border of the two countries has been active. This law enforcement system is important in ensuring that the government actively addresses the issue of undocumented immigration from Mexico (Briggs, 1996). Alternative resolution It is evident that the policies adopted by the United States government to deal with conflicts emerging from increased immigration have not always been effective. It has always been a challenge for the United States government to come up with a set of immigration policies to successfully deal with the detrimental immigration scenarios. One such challenge has been seen in the efforts by the United States Congress to modify the nation’s poorly designed policies in 2006 and 2007. The failed efforts reveal the complexity of the problem as well as the numerous conflicting views and interests that must be addressed to have an effective conflict resolution system. Additionally, the quota system implemented as a way of dealing with the conflicts emanating from immigration failed in their desired purpose “to maintain the cultural and racial homogeneity of the United States” (Grant, 1919: 17). Policies such as the nation of origin quota legislations were not favorable as responses to the economic and social issues emanating from more immigration. They were more of efforts to handle post-war frustrations and transformation as well as efforts to go back to pre-war “normalcy.” However, there are other conflict resolution possibilities that the United States government can implement to deal with conflicts resulting from massive immigration into the country. According to Fears and Fletcher (2005) illegal immigration into the United States can be addressed through implementation of temporary immigration programs, like the Bracero Program following the Second World War. The temporary immigration programs will reduce the illegal immigration without increasing the permanent immigrant population. Under such programs, the United States will deal with the problem of labor demand by providing authorization to immigrants on temporary basis. For instance, immigrants from Mexico will be provided with temporary worker documents to work in the country for a limited period of time and then they will return to their country permanently. This will address the issue of illegal immigration to the United States by the immigrants who are not able to access permanent documents to remain in the country. As a conflict resolution possibility, it will reduce the number of people who will have to stay in the United States indefinitely lowering the possibility of conflicts of cultures and other conflicts that are likely to result from increase in diverse cultures in the country. Given that the United States will not stop attracting immigrants, it is important that the country seek policies that limit the level of immigration (numerical limitations). There should also be a limit on the number of immigrants from one country. This is important in ensuring that no one culture dominates immigration into the United States. Such is like looking to admit people especially from countries that have low numbers of immigrants in the country. This can be checked in the process of issuing permanent visas. This is an important way of checking cultural conflicts resulting from uncontrolled immigration. Policies supporting tolerance should also be implemented in the country to ensure that the cultures that are already represented in the country co-exist in peace without major cultural, social and political conflicts (Hero, 2010). Conclusion The United States as a nation has faced various conflicts in its history as a result of the fact that it has been a major destination of migrants from all corners of the world. Different cultures finding their way into the country has led to the American’s fear for their national interest. There has always been fear that the social fabric of the country as well as the American identity will be lost in the integration of various cultures. The other source of conflict in the country has been economic competition. Immigrants into the country are always in constant competition for employment with the native-born Americans. This is made worse by the fact that immigrants tend to provide cheaper labor. The negative attitude towards immigrants in the United States has characterized the history of the country. Various immigration laws have been passed in the history of the country in the efforts to resolve the conflicts that have arose at different points in the history of immigration into the United States. Many of the policies have proven ineffective calling for research into more effective policies to address the issue of immigration and resulting conflicts which will persist into the future of the United States. References: Bodvarsson, O.B. (2009). Hispanic Immigration to the United States. Economics Department Faculty Publications. Paper 45. Briggs, V. 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