Immigrant Workers

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Chapter: 1 Introduction


Foreign immigration to the United States is on the rise and with it questions about the impact of immigration on American institutions and the economy. As at the turn of the century, when America was the asylum for the poor and oppressed of Europe, policymakers are again debating whether immigrants take jobs away from native workers and whether immigrants put a strain on the welfare institutions of the society (Ginny, 2011). The migrants came from many different nations, for different reasons, and with diverse socioeconomic, political, religious and racial backgrounds. But the core questions about the overall impact of the immigrants on the host country and about the host country on the immigrants have remained remarkably similar over time (Richard and Robert, 2009). By and large one wants to know if the immigrants will assimilate into American society, or if they will remain an impoverished underclass living on the fringes of the mainstream.

Background of the Study

The racist and obviously exploitative views that older Americans held toward Immigrants now seem merely to be the crotchety preaching of an older age. These immigrants did assimilate. Racist attitudes toward the black Americans who migrated northward into the nation’s cities from the third to the seventh decades of this century are still prevalent (Vernez, 2009). And even less so, are there definitive answers on the fate of the Cubans, Haitians, Koreans, Mexicans, Philipinos, Indians, Bahamians, Vietnamese or other more recent migrants to this country.


Thus it might be useful to look back for comparative purposes on the experience of European foreign-born in the urban areas of the United States in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries to get some sense of how the process worked out over the long haul. Clearly, things were quite different then than they are now. The country was only beginning to industrialize; the frontier still loomed (OECD, 2012). Yet available evidence indicates that many of these earlier immigrants were just as impoverished, just as culturally ill prepared and just as unskilled as today’s migrants. Their experience might therefore provide a few clues to the processes that today’s immigrant face.

It is not easy to develop long-term indicators of assimilation and mobility for immigrants. Ideally one would like a set of income or wage statistics for natives and foreigners over time. Further, it would be useful to have unemployment and occupational data to examine how the immigrants entered and survived the American labor market (Ilona, 2011). Unfortunately, no such neat statistical series exists. What is available is a great deal of documentary evidence, local studies on the experience of particular immigrant groups in particular cities.


Aim of the Study

The aim of the study is evaluation and analysis of Immigrant worker in the particular region this study will focus the immigrant workers in United States.

Research Questions

1. What role immigrant workers play in the economy of United States?

2. What is the historical background of the immigrant workers in United States?

3. What are the cultural diversifications or region diversification of the immigrant workers in United States?

4. What are the professional classifications of the immigrant workers in Unites States?


Chapter: 2 Literature Review

Immigrant Workers’ Role

Since immigration has been such a charged issue for so long, it is one area which statisticians investigated early. The U.S. Census has been collecting and publishing data on the foreign-born since the mid-nineteenth century, and it is to these data that one may look for help. Their concerns were a bit different from ours because the nineteenth-century economy was different. Basically one is interested in an index of economic status and wealth (Kallick, 2010). Income, one of the best social and economic indicators used today, was not considered as useful then. Nor was education before the days of widespread compulsory schooling. What our statistical forbearers felt was particularly revealing of the socioeconomic impact of immigration was the distribution of occupational roles held by natives and foreigners, and these data have been published in the federal census for cities states and the nation since 1999. These data may be used to describe where and how immigrants entered the American economy; further, by examining enough of it. One may draw some broad conclusions about the timing and rates of social mobility and assimilation (Hiromi, 2005).


In all these cities, certain large occupations contained a noticeable number of foreign-born workers, defined as 1 percent of the city work force. Most of these jobs were in what the census called “manufacturing and mechanical industries.” Immigrants were a significant proportion of the shoemakers, masons, carpenters, textile operatives, tailors, tailoresses and dressmakers in all these cities between 1999 and 2010. They were also evident as retailers, or what the Census called “traders and dealers” (Ginny, 2011).

Historical Background

Immigration slowed down for a 10 year period during the war and after the Winnipeg strike. It didn’t rise again until the mid to late 1920’s as the economy picked up and companies like the railways need more exploitable labour from Europe. However this was short lived as the depression took hold. In March 1931, Order in Council P.C.695 was adopted, restricting immigration to American citizens, British subjects, and agriculturalists with economic means (Prodromos, 2012). The great depression meant the end of the line for a lot of immigrants. Deportations of immigrants who, for lack of employment opportunities, became public charges increased to a total of 16,765 from 1930 to 1934. In 1932 the “red raid” gathered up left wing leaders from across Canada and interned them in Halifax. Despite public protest and one being a Canadian citizen by birth, they were deported.

Canada put up a virtual blockade during WWII in an attempt to keep Jewish refugees out of the country. Taking in a small number, but not without complaint from Mackenzie King, who in expressing his concern stated “to keep this part of the continent free from unrest and from too great an intermixture of foreign strains of blood”, apparently this meant Jewish blood (Vernez, 2009).

War always seems to bring out the worst in us, and WWII is no exception. After the attack on Pearl Harbor we rounded up most of the Japanese in British Columbia, (75% of whom were Canadian Nationals) and sent them to relocation camps. With only 24 hours notice they were carted off and their belongings sold at auctions for government profit (David, 2010).

We can not blame all this on the war, the government unsuccessfully attempted to deport 10,000 Japanese as late as 1947. 4000 Japanese were deported by the time Mackenzie king bowed to public pressure and gave up the fight. Of the 4000 deported half were Canadian-born citizens and a third were children under the age of 16 who couldn’t even speak Japanese (Vernez, 2009). Politicians can’t take all the blame either, they are just responding to the will of the people. Thankfully, not all the people, there were always protests along the way, just not enough of them.


Occupational and Professional Categorization

The presence of a large number of the foreign-born in these occupations in all the cities indicates several things. First, all these occupations were large and open to new labor. Second, these occupations were such that the technology used, the skills required and the materials of production were similar in a preindustrial and an industrial environment (Joanna, 2002). Textile and apparel production, leather working, woodworking and masonry construction are crafts and industries found in preindustrial, rural society (Richard and Robert, 2009). Though these occupations employed modernized technology and new organizational forms in nineteenth-century Newark or Philadelphia, they were still partially familiar to rural European immigrants (Prodromos, 2012). Thus these occupations, despite their often dreadful working conditions, became vehicles of transition from a rural, preindustrial society to an urban, industrial one.

The foreign-born also concentrated in seems small occupations. They formed a large proportion of the workers in the occupation, though the occupation itself employed only a small proportion of all immigrants (David, 2010). One wants to focus on these occupations to determine why immigrants were able to work in occupations with only a limited number of openings. By and large these were jobs that natives had abandoned, or could not perform, or which the immigrants had initiated themselves. To identify these occupations, one should look at those cities that have relatively smaller foreign-born work forces, and thus would have fewer people who could work at such positions (Richard and Robert, 2009).

In the case of the bakers, cabinetmakers and blacksmiths, the occupations, though sweated or partially industrialized, had their parallels in rural preindustrial society (Joanna, 2002). The low status domestic and personal service proprietary jobs, such as barbering, livery stable keeping, saloon keeping and hotel keeping, suggest that the services were performed within the immigrant community, or were undesirable enough for natives to abandon them to the immigrants (Kallick, 2010). Finally, the presence of foreign-born laborers in the more specialized industries, such as sugar refining and rubber and chemical manufacture, suggests employer recruitment of a limited number of immigrants for these particular dirty and dangerous jobs.


Cultural and Regional Diversification

In all the cities, the foreign-born entered these jobs. Whether they went on to dominate them was determined by the situation in the particular industry and the relative strength of the foreign-born in the city as a whole. Thus in Paterson, the immigrants were 40 percent of the silk workers in 1880; in 1920. They comprised 60 percent of them. In Philadelphia, the foreign-born composed about one third of the woolen and other textile operatives (Pierrette, 2001). Such patterns suggest that native-born workers were leaving the silk industry but not the Philadelphia textile industries. The consistent presence of the foreign-born as traders and dealers should also be noted. This occupation is one of the first avenues of mobility open to the foreign-born (Hiromi, 2005). Immigrants became retailers for their own community and perhaps for the city as a whole. The proportional representation of the foreign-born as traders and dealers is remarkably stable for the different cities over time. For all seven censuses, the foreign-born had a mean representation of about 50 percent. The cities with larger foreign-born populations had a greater proportion of foreign-born traders and dealers (Borjas, 2007).

Beyond these general patterns for all the cities, there were more specific patterns of participation of the foreign-born in the work forces of the individual cities. A significant number of the foreign-born, again defined as 1 percent of the work force, worked in those industries characteristic of the particular town: for example, railroad workers in Jersey. City, potters in Trenton and hat-makers in Newark. Between 38 and 68 percent of the workers in these occupations were foreign-born in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s according to the census (OECD, 2012). These figures indicate that the major growth industries of these towns were also fueled with immigrant labor, though not to the exclusion of the native-born.


Possibilities for Occupational Mobility

The patterns of work force participation by immigrants were quite varied in these cities and take description in some detail before the complexities of the situation can emerge. Precisely because the size of the immigrant works force varied so much from city to city and over time, this population could not perform the same economic function in every city. One therefore wants to generalize further about the different role the immigrant’s played according to their overall strength in the city (Joanna, 2002). One can measure these differences by grouping the foreign-born workers into the standard classification groups used in the census at the time, namely including laborers, operatives, craftsmen, domestic and personal service, trade, transportation and clerical workers; and professional and public service (Vernez, 2009).

Again, it is not surprising that the opponents of Wilson’s view of the declining significance of race cite the existence of a large black underclass as evidence of the persistence of racism as a factor in limiting black mobility. Structural changes in the American economy and hence the urban labor market has changed the prospects for migrants—in what might be described as two contradictory ways (David, 2010). For those migrants or their children who make it into the postindustrial service economy or white-collar work, prospects for assimilation and mobility are good—one might add much better than for the earlier generations of European ethnics whose major avenue of opportunity was in the mass production industries, i.e., in blue-collar work. For those migrants, though, who remain in the declining industries or declining cities—classically the secondary labor market, the prospects are likely to compare unfavorably, not only with today’s upwardly mobile migrants, but also with the patterns of the European immigrants of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Richard and Robert, 2009). The cacophony of voices on immigration policy parallels the labor market situation. Since there are several current immigrant and assimilation experiences, there are also many answers on how and whether to regulate the flow.


Chapter: 3


This research is founded on the secondary data. The research encompasses the publications, articles and similar studies accessible on the internet. Keeping in view the approach taken in earlier studies the research began with a broad analysis of the existing literature. The findings & conclusions are based on the secondary data. The methodology used for the purpose of this research is based on the secondary data. This research is more or less based on the literature review & the conclusions are drawn on the basis of actual resources listed in the references.

The research approach used is qualitative. Qualitative research is much more subjective than quantitative research and uses very different methods of collecting information which could be both primary and secondary. As already mentioned, this study chooses the secondary method. The nature of this type of research is exploratory and open-ended (Prodromos, 2012).

The method of investigation used, consists of a theoretical framework of secondary data by reviewing the current position of the photography practices as used in the courtroom presentations.

Secondary research was conducted through a number of sources, including libraries & the Internet. A number of libraries were visited for gathering valuable data from textbooks & journals. The Internet was also a major tool in obtaining relevant information, leading to search for a no. of articles in journals & newspapers from database (Vernez, 2009). To prove the hypothesis, a research was conducted with the help of a three-step process which involved construction of an item pool, validation of the items, & pilot testing of the items. Also the data have been gathered through various sources out of which some are on line while some are on paper.

The main conclusive data are the result of a thorough analysis of the material found online. The research involved analyzing the news postings on the web over a phase of years. The approach employed was reading the abstract or body of each publication. The patterns of concentration of the foreign-born in small occupations reinforce the generalizations.





Ginny Garcia (2011) Mexican American and Immigrant Poverty in the United States. Publisher. Springer. 143-167

Barry Edmonston (2006) Statistics on U.S. Immigration: An Assessment of Data Needs for Future Research. Publisher. National Academies Press. 56-71

Stephen Castles, Godula Kosack, (2003) Immigrant workers and class structure in Western Europe. Publisher. Published for the Institute of Race Relations, London, by Oxford University. 78-96

Prodromos Ioannou Panayiotopoulos (2012) Immigrant Enterprise in Europe and the USA. Publisher. Taylor & Francis. 184-208

David E. Kyoso (2010) Immigrants in The United States. Publisher. Godfrey Mwakikagile. 207-216

Richard T. Herman, Robert L. Smith (2009) Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy. Publisher. John Wiley & Sons. 118-129

Georges Vernez (2009) Immigrant Women in the U.S. Workforce: Who Struggles? Who Succeeds? Publisher. Lexington Books. 79-85

George J. Borjas (2007) Mexican Immigration to the United States. Publisher. University of Chicago Press. 228-234

OECD (2012) Recruiting Immigrant Workers Recruiting Immigrant Workers. Publisher. OECD Publishing. 119-135

Joanna Apap (2002) The Rights of Immigrant Workers in the European Union. Publisher. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. 102-113

Hiromi Mori (2005) Immigration Policy and Foreign Workers. Publisher. Palgrave Macmillan. 69-83

Ilona Bray (2011) U.S. Immigration. Publisher. Nolo. 351-366

David Dyssegaard Kallick (2010) Immigrants and the Economy: Contributions of Immigrant Workers to the Country’s 25 Largest Metro Areas. Publisher. DIANE Publishing. 21-33

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (2001) Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence. Publisher. University of California Press. 101-125




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