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Spaces and exchanges: the impact of immigration in the USA

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Spaces and exchanges

The notion I’m going to deal with is spaces and exchanges.                                  To begin with, I’d like to give a definition of the notion: an exchange is an act of giving and receiving something else in return. It can also be seen as a continuous movement or circulation.                                                                                                     Nowadays, the different spaces of the world are connected with each other and they exchange. Today, there is migrations, communication, and trade between all countries in the world through globalization. Actually, the progress of transportation and telecommunication has accelerated the rhythm of exchanges.

The issue of immigration to the USA belongs to this notion of spaces and exchanges. As a consequence, we may wonder what the impact of immigration to the USA has been.

In the first place, we will study the first migrants in the United States with Elis Island then in a second time we’ll see the Mexican migrants and crossing this border.

To begin with, Elis Island opened in 1892, and was used for the control of immigration. It is located in New York, near the Statue of Liberty, which the immigrants would see from their ship as they arrived. People immigrated to New York from all over the world, but most especially from Europe that escaped the oppression of politics and economic in some countries. When people arrived at Ellis Island, they had to be registered and examined by doctors and officials, who decided if they could enter the United States.              If most registrations were successful, some could take a few days. Official numbers say that from 1900 to 1914, 5000 to 10 000 people passed the registration at Ellis Island every day. At Ellis Island, immigrants had to be patient and go through different procedures to be registered. They had to be in a good physical condition, have no mental problems or diseases, and their identities had to be checked, They had the right to 29 questions that allowed them to cross the border.                                                                                          Most people succeeded in entering the USA: about 80% of the people were accepted on the territory every day after only a few hours, and without the need of more controls. Following this, laws are put in place to limit access to the United States. In the years 1930, a great economic crisis affected America, resulting in a decline in immigration, which caused the closure of Elis Island in 1954, which has now become a museum. The United States is a country formed by their immigration, from all the countries of the world, and Ellis Island represents this diversity.

At present, we will talk about the exchanges between Mexico and the United States with the immigration of the Mexicans to the United States and the dangerous crossing of this border. The USA appears as a land of opportunities. The border acts like a magnet for Mexican immigrants who dream of a better life in the USA. Actually, the job offers are limited in Mexico and the standards of living are much lower than in the USA. Contrary to Mexico which is struck by unemployment and poverty while the USA appears as a land of opportunities as far as the job market is concerned. That is the reason why many destitute Mexicans cross the border, whether legally or illegally. While they move to America hoping for better prospects, they are often offered menial and painful jobs and accept low wages. That is the paradox of the situation of the Mexican immigrants: they represent more than half of the immigrants in the USA and while some Americans aim at limiting their numbers, others view them as a cheap labour force. As a result, immigration is a highly controversial issue. On the one hand, the border is watched over by patrols whose goal is to prevent illegal immigration, even if it implies resorting to violence. On the other hand, part of the American economy seems to be based on this unskilled workforce, ready to endure difficult working conditions. To answer those who are convinced that undocumented immigrants are taking away jobs from American citizens, proimmigrants insist on the painfulness of these jobs, convinced that American workers would not accept to work in such conditions.                           In any case, this migration pattern is the basis all kinds of exchanges. As we have just said, it enables economic exchanges. Besides, immigration tends to create a multicultural society, with the emergence of TV channels in Spanish for example.


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