Immigration remains one of the most controversial issues in the United States. For decades, the U.S. tried to balance its population and labor force needs with the growing number of foreign newcomers. Even the strongest barriers did not help to reduce the inflow of foreign citizens to the U.S. On the contrary, many of those who wanted to work and live in the United States had to come and live there illegally. As of today, the issue of immigration is further complicated by the tough political and economic conditions in the United States. America enacts laws to promote diversity and inclusion and, simultaneously, limits the number of legal and illegal immigrants. Organizations and employees must be aware of these trends. Regular “diversity” meetings will help employees to express and clarify their attitudes toward immigration and redirect their efforts to accept and encourage diversity in the workplace.
In 2010, Tara Bahrampour attracted readers’ attention to the issue of immigration. According to Bahrampour (2010), a brief statistical analysis shows that “across the country, more laws expanding immigrants’ rights are enacted than those contracting them.” Those areas which have been accustomed to an influx of immigrants are more likely to enact immigrant-oriented laws (Bahrampour, 2010). Instead of sending people back to their native countries, these jurisdictions try to figure out how best integrate these people into the community (Bahrampour, 2010). For example, in New York, citizenship requirements were eliminated for a number of occupations, including teacher, police officer, and firefighter (Bahrampour, 2010). In the Washington region, immigrants can enter and participate in a number of social initiatives (Bahrampour, 2010). As the number of foreigners in America increases, the immigration phenomenon becomes less controversial. People are getting used to the presence of immigrants, whereas immigrants are becoming more organized and politically active (Bahrampour, 2010).
The issue of immigration is as old as the United States itself. The entire history of the U.S. is a history of immigration (Bodvarsson & Berg, 2009). Over the past 200 years, America has received more immigrants than any other country of the world (Bodvarsson & Berg, 2009). As a result, from an almost completely unrestricted entry of immigrants, the U.S. slowly moved to severely limit the access of potential immigrants to the country. America is still one of the most popular immigration destinations, but to become a U.S. citizen or at least enter the American territory, newcomers must pass a minefield of legal and administrative barriers.
The political context of immigration is no less problematic. Illegal immigration remains an issue of President Obama’s concern. Obama’s victory has silenced most xenophobic voices on the national political arena (Moses, 2009). Nevertheless, the issue of immigration continues to persist. On the one hand, immigration is claimed to negatively affect the state and wellbeing of the American citizens by taking a share of the economic and social resources through welfare and wages. On the other hand, these legal and, especially, illegal immigrants actually “keep the country running” (Moses, 2009, p.2). They build the houses and pick crops, care for the sick, and wash pools and bathrooms (Moses, 2009). Without immigrants, the American state would hardly meet its economic and social goals. Unfortunately, despite this realization, most immigrants are treated as second-class citizens (Moses, 2009).
The message sent by Bahrampour (2010) is dubious. On the one hand, the author tries to present the United States in its best, “humanitarian” light. By saying that the country does not want to discriminate against immigrants but helps them to adjust to the new conditions of life, Bahrampour (2010) actually implies that the U.S. is open to foreigners and can help them to meet their basic needs. On the other hand, Bahrampour (2010) claims that only harsher immigration laws can benefit the American society. The author writes that in the face of harsher immigration laws, immigrants become more politically and civically engaged (Bahrampour, 2010). The statistical data provided in the article are rather compelling: even if the U.S. wants to enact harsh immigration laws, the number of laws expanding immigrant rights exceeds the number of laws which contract them. This statistical information makes the whole article more objective and persuasive, but it is clear that the country is moving to the point where entering the country will become much more problematic for foreigners.
The impacts of immigrants on the economy and labor force are controversial. According to Borjas (2003), a 10 percent increase in labor force supply results in a 3-4 percent decrease in wages. Consequentially, immigrants are viewed as people who take a significant share of American citizens’ material resources. Simultaneously, immigrants work in the lowest-paid jobs, which many Americans are simply unwilling to take. As previously mentioned, immigrants may care for the elderly and handicapped, clean bathrooms or work in agriculture (Moses, 2009). Therefore, they compensate for the lack of the native labor force in different sectors of economy.
The impact of this article on employees is difficult to predict since different employees will tend to interpret its meanings in entirely different ways. Organizational attention to diversity grows exponentially, and employees become extremely sensitive to the effects of immigration on their workplace position and wages (Ferdman & Brody, 1996). The best way to educate employees about diversity is to provide diversity training. However, in the case of this article, organizing a meeting with employees may suffice to let employees express their opinions and develop better attitudes toward diversity. Based on what these employees say during the meeting, the organization will develop new diversity training frameworks or adjust the existing diversity training models in order to meet the unique training needs of employees.
Immigration is still one of the most controversial issues in the U.S. In her article, Bahrampour (2010) writes that the number of U.S. laws expanding immigrant rights exceeds the number of laws against immigration. The political and economic contexts of immigration are extremely complex. Many native-born Americans perceive immigrants as those who take their resources and reduce their wages. Diversity training has the potential to mediate the effects of the media on employee attitudes toward diversity and inclusion. A meeting with employees can become the starting point in the development of relevant and appropriate diversity training models.