Immigrants and the Election in the United States

On average, the United States welcomes about 3,000 new citizens a day. As a nation of immigrants, the USA continuously faces newcomers’ issues and policies. With the influx of Syrian refugees, immigration has become an especially important topic in the presidential election. Whoever will win the presidency on the 8th of November will be integral to how the country will view and treat its immigrants.

The Democrats have clearly advocated for immigrants and immigrants’ rights. Secretary Clinton has constantly celebrated the importance of immigrant contributions, and her plans as president include reforms for the citizenship process and better options for undocumented immigrants. Inversely, some sectors of the Republican Party, especially Donald Trump, have painted a negative picture of immigrants as criminals and rapists. It’s much more than just his ridiculous policy of building a physical wall; his comments and perspective has built a wall between the American people.

Citizens who are averse to change have been given a justification to hate newcomers. Job loss and crimes have been blamed on immigrants, even if only justified through stereotypes. For example, in cities like Hazleton, Pennsylvania, there has been an influx of Hispanic immigrants since 2001, and by 2014, 46% of the population has identified as Hispanic. Those living in poverty blame the availability of immigrant labour for the inability to find jobs. Increased crime and drug use has been blamed on illegal immigration. However, in reality the influx of Hispanic immigrants to this area has helped the workforce with their the aging population. While the problem of poverty should not be belittled, blaming a specific population is not a proactive solution.

Citizens who protest against the hate spread by Trump. https://flic.kr/p/EBiUXu
Citizens who protest against the hate spread by Trump. https://flic.kr/p/EBiUXu

The Republican Party lost a large part of the immigrant voting population because of the “Trump Effect.” However, real change will only happen if conservatives also denounce the way that immigrants have been portrayed in this election. Citizens have to realise that in a globalising world, immigration is inevitable. As a nation of immigrants, the United States should be aware of this the most. On the 8th of November, I encourage American voters to consider the impact of their vote on the immigrant population. Voting against policies that build a wall in society will be the first step to creating a more welcoming and productive America.

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