Immigration to America has been a complex demographic event that has been a major source of both cultural change and population growth throughout much of U.S’s history. Before 1880 most immigrants to the U.S came from Western and Northern European countries. However, this changed in the later years because more and more immigrants began to arrive in the U.S from Eastern and Southern Europe. Most of these people came from countries like Turkey, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Poland, Rumania and other nations. It is asserted that over 24 million people from this region came to the U.S from 1881 to 1920. Most of then came on ships through Ellis Island and New York Harbor. Unlike earlier European immigrants, these immigrants were either Jews or Catholics. As a result, they not only brought new customs, but also new ways of doing things. They also preferred to reside in big cities such as New York, instead of dispersing to the Western farmlands.
Apart from the new immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, the 1965 act also allowed for another wave of new immigrants. This new wave of immigrants came into America between the 1980s and 1990s. Most of these immigrants do not come from Europe, but from Latin America and Asia. After World War II, there was a labor shortage in the U.S that compelled the government to initiate the “bracero” or day laborer program. This program allowed thousands of Latin Americans, especially Mexicans to come the U.S to work as day laborers. It is believed that in its peak year in 1959, more than 450,000 Latin American immigrants entered America. This inflow has continued over the years, and by 2001, Mexico had sent more immigrants to the U.S than any other nation. In recent years, there has been an influx of new immigrants of Asian origin, especially from India, China, Korea and Philippines. When Congress abolished the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese immigration to America restarted in 1943.
In conclusion, the presence of these immigrants has been controversial. Critics and observers are blaming them for being un-Americans in their customs, religion, family lives and language. They are also blamed for the rising crime rates in major cities. They are also blamed by the mainstream press for introducing anarchism, communism, and socialism, which are considered to be alien political beliefs. On the other hand, their presence is considered controversial by labor organizers who blame them for the problem facing American unskilled workers such undermined wages.