The article is about the struggle underwent by immigrants, African Americans and women to bring in equality among the USA citizens whenever they were pushed down in public areas such as work places and schools, against the denial of rights and hindrances to lead a discrimination free life. Since the day of independence US government supported diaspora and immigrants by sanctioning open borders policy which constituted of no laws or acts for almost 80 years, it has been a subtle support from the US government and the people of US. It is clearly evident from the events that are discussed in the following paragraphs that they lacked the quality of adaptability.
Immigrants and their life in USA
Throughout the History of USA, policies to save the immigrants from discrimination confronted various forms of prejudice such as racism, sexism and discrimination at all levels and in all aspects. The restrictive immigration act has made it even more difficult for unregistered immigrants to undergo a lot of process for a legal recognition in USA. In cases where there is a failure to maintain statutory records for their citizenship or immigration, marriage with a USA citizen or living with a USA member or family takes a span of three to ten years to become eligible for marriage or abode through gaining green card, which is the only option.
Indian immigrants in the USA were about to gain independence, a year before India gained independence, when U.S. President Truman signed the Luce-Celler Bill by 1946 to sanction them the rights of citizenship, perhaps it all ended so early since the President faced his death before the bill came into existence. Though the open border policy was signed right after the independence it did not help the immigrants much as they were inspired by the regulation of immigration in Europe which followed no rules to shape immigration.
Asians were denied the right for citizenship, where they were used for their economical labor skills. Chinese were the first ones from Asia to reach USA, where they were vehemently denied employment opportunities by unions there. Punjabi immigrants of India found Canada to be their favorite place for labor since they required no visa to reach Canada, with British and Canada being British dominions. Increased labor from India threatened Canada to an extent to close doors for Indians and tighten the travel between USA and Canada that they started targeting USA there upon.
People who reach USA as immigrants equip themselves with the expected professional requirements, required foreign languages and cross cultural work qualities. Perhaps one noticeable thing is that unlike Canada and Australia there is no official attempt from USA to scrutinize the immigrants for their education, experience or any expected capabilities. This is mainly for the reason that USA does not want to assume the responsibility to assure them a job, hence the scrutiny for their educational qualification and experience is not tightened.
The past ten years of history in USA projects a record of the immigrants who landed in USA with their graduation done abroad such as Latin Americans, Asians and Europeans are 42%, 21% and 18% respectively. (MPI analysis – USA Central Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press, 2007, Educated immigrants struggle to find work)
The immigration policy had statutory rules to accept heterosexual marriages, transsexual relationships were never recognized and it was considered illegitimate. In addition it a tough task for the transgender individuals to gain citizenship in USA, they were ordered to get the documents from the host country to their guest country which was most of the times impossible. There are also cases where the families were forced to break up as they do not fall within the limits of the judicial boundaries.
Let us have a look at the statutory steps taken towards the welfare of the immigrants. Mexican problem – USA restricted liberalization of Mexicans in USA, which increased the population of Mexican by 22 percentage from 8.8 million to 14.4 million within a span of 20 years from 1920 to 1940. Mexican population settled in their Mexican communities which made their presence in the whole of Southwest of USA. Mexican- American population started spreading rapidly with the direct increase in demand for Mexican food, music and Spanish language everywhere.
The economic crisis in 1930 was attributed to the rapid Mexican immigration and racial bias. Report says that almost 50,000 Mexicans in 1924 left to Mexico due to exemption to work in American industries. All possible efforts from USA judiciary were attempted to curb the flow of Mexico into USA which were exploded by the Cantaloupe strike by 1928 under the guidance and support of Mexican government with the result being the freedom for Mexican women to work in industries(Gamio, 1930). Owing to the increased demand in labor force during the World War II, almost 3,50,000 Mexicans who fell in the category of temporary workers were made permanent. Meanwhile the anti- immigrants moment picked up the moment between 1970s and 1980s. Perhaps they were given the vote to right in 1975.
Takao Ozawa, a Japanese who applied to US District Court to be a citizen of US, was denied on the grounds that he was a Japanese even after having shown a proof of 20 years of residence in US. This questioned the Naturalization Act of 1906. Followed by it in 1923, the case of Bhagat Singh Thind which argued for no eligibility of Asian Indians for the citizenship in US made US statutory bodies to research on the definition of white to give them extra privilege. This made a clear evident that almost all the immigrants were denied the vote of right.
World War I in 1924 created a revolutionary change in accepting almost all the temporary workers as permanent workers granted with the right of citizenship inclusive of Indians. This became compulsive as US was in great demand of workers I war industries which lead to tiring and unflinching work attitude to meet the demands. This was sanctioned with the thought of encouragement to the workers.
Congress in 1943 helped the repeal of the Chinese exclusion act demolishing the intention of discrimination of Chinese immigrants which led to the complications in the relationship between Filipino and Indians with US in 1946, as the act was biased towards Chinese not considering Indians and Filipinos in the picture.
In 1952, Immigration and National Act was passed with the system introduced to prefer the scrutiny and selection of immigrants based on the educational values, skill sets and experience. It just continues to reflect discrimination by acknowledging the national origin quota system to continue. Despite President Truman’s veto the act gained public support influenced by the Congress. Perhaps the Voting Rights act in 1965, the sanction of voting rights to the immigrants was a great relief. The Voting Rights Act was amended in 1971 and 1975 for the setting of voting rights to 18 years old individuals and including language aids to immigrants who lacked language knowledge.
Struggle of women and immigrant women to gain rights in USA
It so happened that Mexicans in 1920s were very interested to settle down in USA, with the Mexican community being formed in the whole of Southwest of USA, perhaps until the 1928 Cantaloupe strike the women were vehemently denied the access to work in American industries. When Mexican American women were denied rights to work in the agricultural fields, Emma Tenayuca, a Mexican American who became the labor leader when in her school years, voiced for their rights and conducted a march in 1931 in Austin. She was responsible for the national level labor activist moment which was shaped for a span of ten years between 1930s and 1940s. (Gonzales, 1999). During the world war II due to increased demand of laborers in war industries, women happened to come under the paid section.
By 1970, Mexico underwent a stable economic growth, in view of expanding the industrial section, it planned to buy loan from the neighboring countries. With an idea of repaying loans through the industrial turnover, Mexico claimed loans and it confronted a huge flow of foreign investment especially from USA which was used to build maquiladora (assembly plant). Foreign manufacturers were invited which gave employment for a whole lot of unskilled Mexicans with a significantly lower wage than for the American laborers, especially women were paid less in comparison to the American workers. It involved hectic work with a lot of physical strain but low pay.
A party started by feminists; the pacifist National women party which was actually launched before 1914, led by Alice Paul with the fortifying effort from higher, lower level employees, working women and women entrepreuners enhanced awareness among women and claimed the constitution for equal rights and laws for the protection of women. The best claim which was accepted and transferred into act was the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act 1921 which assured a monetary value for pre and pos- natal care and involved various considerations for females. Carrie Chapman Catt took efforts to carry the party “the League for Women voters” until 1947 followed by Alice Paul.
Struggle for freedom by African American
1920s was popular the launch of Harlem Renaissance which was the mushrooming of the literary, art and intellectual aspects by the unflinching efforts of African-American to prove the mettle in New York. Agricultural workers from South and musicians from north of Harlem moved to the North and South of Harlem respectively. This was termed the Harlem Renaissance.
In 1931, nine African Americans were accused for having raped two white women in Scottsboro Ala, though there were not enough evidence to support the claim, the jury of the Supreme court tried to convict them and eventually sentenced long prison terms for five who were alleged for this. It is still believed that the convictions were based on unproven evidence and was intentionally perpetrated to punish the black and support racism. Communists further tried to examine the case which made things worse. Similarly an African American was beaten to death for allegedly having whistled at a white woman, this happened in Mississippi in 1955.
In 1947, the credit goes to the baseball player Jackie Robinson when he was asked to sign the Brooklyn Dodgers. This was a clear evident that the color barrier started to wrecked slowly. He also earns the credit of being the first African American base pall player in the modern major leagues. Later after this incident was the upcoming of the World War II, when President Harry S.Truman supported the India and and African American to grant citizenship. Truman also decided not to support the Voting Right Act in 1965, which was biased favoring the national origins supported by Congress. He later started campaigning for the ideology of Communism.
Later in 1954, racial segregation was very obvious when Board of Education of Topeka, Kans denied to give admission for Linda Brown breaking the policy of “separate but equal”. After the arguments cam to an end, the court ordered that the schools must be desegregated. This is the drive to the enforcement of Civil Rights Act 1964 under the support of President Johnson. The act was very particular about precluding discrimination to any immigrant or any citizen based on the gender, race, color, ethnicity.
Especially the act was applicable to employer who deny aspects such as employment opportunities, promotion or hike, any faulty complain favoritism to employee based on the above mentioned traits. Civil Rights Act of 1964 employed “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)” which was entitled with the responsibilities of fulfilling this Civil Rights Act 1964 that no employer should take the advantage of being a white to discriminate any person on grounds of sex, interracial relationship such as marriage, friendship, so on.
Martin Luther King took responsibility to launch The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, which was proudly claimed a part of the Civil Rights group, perhaps the colored students were denied opportunity to study there by the Governor Orval Faubus. The discrimination continued to happen even after the enforcement of laws which punished discriminators if found guilty. Perhaps , in 1963 Martin Luther King carried out campaigns to spread anti-segregation and he was imprisoned for his dream speech.
The above paragraphs clearly describe the attributes of Americans to suppress the immigrants based on the grounds of gender or color or race. Perhaps one fact should be understood that USA is their country and they do not intend to fly to another country to become a resident there. Though there are repeated complaints that they show racism or they project partiality on different grounds, the fact is that they practice hip hop now, which was introduced to America by an African American. They have selected Barrack Obama to rule their country who is neither a Christian nor an American, they cherish the album singers and songs most of whom are African Americans. Will smith is the best paid actor there and almost no American is a pure white but a product of interracial marriage. These years were the gestation period for them to convert themselves to the changing environment.
Juliana Barbassa. (July 14, 2007). Educated immigrants struggle to find work. By, Associated Press. From http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-07-14-skilled-immigrants_N.htm
Inder Singh. (July, 2006). Struggle of Indians for US Citizenship. Guyana Journal. From http://www.guyanajournal.com/immigration_indians.html
Berta Joubert-Ceci. (Apr 27, 2006). Immigrant struggle lifts up all workers. Wokers world. http://www.workers.org/2006/us/immigrant-struggle-0504/
Unknown author. p-9. (2004). womens-project. Spring. From www.womens-project.org f
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: www.nnirr.org
Legal Momentum: http://legalmomentum.org/issues/wel/marriagepromotion.shtml (formerly the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund)
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: www.ngltf.org
Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, 1943: www.state.gov.
Messrs. Geo. W. Wickersham, David L. Withington, T. H. (1922).U.S. Supreme Court
TAKAO OZAWA v. U S, 260 U.S. 178 (1922). From http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US;vol=260;invol=178
Alma M. García. (2002). The Mexican Americans. Illustrated Edition. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0313314993, 9780313314995
Richard J. Evans. (1977). The feminists: women’s emancipation movements in Europe, America, and Australasia, 1840-1920. Revised edition. Taylor & Francis
encyclopedia : www.infoplease.com