by Cat Galley – Research Assistant
Immigration within the United States has been widespread and unstoppable since the 1700’s. From 2012 to 2013, “the foreign-born population increased by about 523,000 or 1.3 percent.” Each person has a different reason to immigrate into the United States, moving and choosing to restart their lives.
Religious freedom and freedom of persecution were the main actions that drove individuals to immigrate. The first individuals to settle in the United States were fleeing religious persecution and the need for religious freedom.
Another motive for emigration is the oppression faced in an individual’s home nation. Oppression can be based on religion, sexual orientation, race, gender, or political views. Those examples are the most common but there are many other types of oppression that individuals face.
Another decision to emigrate is based on economic motivation, which many times constitutes an increased number jobs or a better standard of living. This motivation is what many individuals immigrating from Mexico experience. The inability to sell crops or make a living in their own nation, leads them to relocate. The hope of prosperity and ability to find a job is a major motivation for these individuals.
Many times, after years of living within the United States, family reunification becomes a main reason for migration. Family reunification results in two-thirds of immigration into the United States. Many individuals after moving to the United States and saving enough money will help pay for family to come up and live with the first individual that migrated.
Through the massive amount of immigrants that call the United States home, there has been a creation of a network of immigrants. This network can be different based on the way an individual migrated to the United States but essentially these networks are the same. The Migration Policy Institute stated that, “migrant social networks are one of the fundamentals of the migration process…” These ties are usually based on family or friends that are already based within the United States. Organizations can also be used as a resource to assist with migration. These networks allow individuals to adjust more easily to a new way of life, while also assisting with jobs and schooling.
The last main reason for migration can be due to the need for humanitarian protection. This motivation for migration has become a major topic and reason for migration in the past few years. This is mainly in the form of refugees. Refugees will be discussed more in depth by the Center on Human Rights Education in the next quarter.