Why Do Immigrants Come to the United States Today?

Why Do Immigrants Come to the United States Today?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.75

     challenging words:    deport, humanitarian, economic, well-educated, employment, communication, further, agriculture, overall, terrorist, additional, thereby, theory, worldwide, religion, sponsor
     content words:    United States, Nationality Act Amendments, Eastern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere, Nationality Act, Refugee Act, Immigration Act, Illegal Immigration Reform, Immigrant Responsibility Act, USA Patriot Act

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Why Do Immigrants Come to the United States Today?
By Jennifer Kenny

1     Did you ever hear the expression "what's old is new again"? Well, when you are talking about immigration - that expression couldn't be more appropriate!
2     Immigrants coming to this land in the 1700s and 1800s were here to explore or to settle the new land. People came to experience economic opportunities, religious freedom, and political freedom. These were mainly European immigrants from places such as England and the Netherlands.
3     Then people from other countries started to come here. There was actually a peak in immigration to the United States from 1892 to 1924. In 1924, the first laws were created to set limits on the number of immigrants allowed to enter from each country. The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 changed that, though. It ended the quotas based on countries. From that point on in American history, immigration became like a chain. Immigrants here already often tell their relatives about their opportunities and sponsor their relatives to come, too. In theory, one immigrant encourages another immigrant and so on and so forth. Thereby, under the system, preference was given to relatives. At the time, there were hemisphere limits of 170,000 for the Eastern Hemisphere and 120,000 for the Western Hemisphere. In 1978, an additional amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act created a ceiling on how many immigrants could enter worldwide, and two years later that overall number was limited further through the Refugee Act of 1980.
4     The Immigration Act of 1990 set the ceiling at 700,000 immigrants and then later changed the ceiling to 675,000 immigrants. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act made it less difficult to deport illegal aliens in 1996. Then, as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, further acts such as the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 looked more closely at the new immigrants.
5     Many changes have occurred after hundreds of years of immigration to the United States. Why do people still want to come to the United States? The countries the immigrants leave for the United States have changed. Since the 1970s, the list of top countries has included Mexico, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, China, and the Dominican Republic. So, in general, while immigrants still come from Europe, more now come from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

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