History of Immigration - Paper Example

2021-07-08 20:22:41
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Wesleyan University
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Is it the right thing to do to report the undocumented immigrant? The United States of America first experienced tremendous immigration pattern in the first part of the 19th century, and it happened in the periods between the 1880s to the mid of 1920. A majority number of immigrants had come to the United States with a vision of growing economically because of the economic stability of the country (Chatterjee, Sutirtha et al., pg. 67). Some pilgrims also came in the 1600s to the United States to search for their religious freedom.

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, thousands of slaves from Africa arrived in the United States which was against their will. Many of them were forcefully carried to work as slaves in the industries in the overseas. According to the statistics, a majority of immigrants in the United States of America come from Asia and Latin America. From time immemorial, America has been a country of immigrants beginning with its initial inhabitants being people who connected from Asia and North America thousands of years.

In the mid-1500s, the first Europeans who came from Spain and France made their settlement in now the present United States of America. The Europeans first established their residence in the year 1607 at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia. This is where most of them made their permanent home and did their cultivation. The first settlers who had come, their primary purpose was in search of the will and freedom to exhibit their faith.

Another group of immigrants arrived in America between 1815 and 1865, and a large proportion of them came from western and northern Europe. Nearly one-third of the immigrants came from North Ireland which was as a result of famine which had struck the country at large in the mid of the 19th century. Between 1840 to early 1850s approximately half of the population in America were the immigrants from Ireland alone. This was as a result of the famine which had impacted on the country. Between the period of 1820 and 1930 around 4.5 million Irish migrated to America.

In the 19th century, America also received 5 million immigrants from Germany and with a majority of them settling in Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis. In the census of 2000, a significant number of Americans had a Germany ancestry than in another group in the United States of America.

The history about immigrants started many years ago, and therefore the history of immigrants helps us in understanding whether we should report the immigrants or not. The immigrants have coexisted in America for many years, and therefore we can make our analysis by their history in the United States of America. As we will see under the utilitarianism school of philosophy, many people are to enjoy the events of a particular consequences and so with the history we can use the understanding the history as to derive the conclusion.

In explaining whether is it the right thing to do report the immigrants, we employ the understanding from the three schools of philosophy namely Utilitarianism, deontology and virtue of ethics.


Utilitarianism is defined as an ethical theory which lays the understanding of a particular phenomenon whether right or wrong on the consequences of choosing one policy over the other. The theory tries to explain not only one persons interests but also other people interests. It looks to the happiness of individuals in a broader perspective as it takes into account the general happiness of people in the society as a whole. Utilitarianism focuses on the quality of happiness rather than the quantity of pleasure. It emphasizes on the capability of achieving greatest happiness for a majority number of people in society.

In analyzing the consequences of whether is it the right thing to report the undocumented immigrants we look on whether doing that at the end will bring the greatest happiness to a majority of people in the society. The utilitarianism theory tends to ask the question if deporting the illegal immigrants at the end of the day will bring the greatest happiness to a larger number op people.

Greatest Balance of Goods over Harms

In answering no to the question whether it is the right thing not to report the undocumented immigrants then we will be employing a moral reasoning known as utilitarianism. Assessing down further to the components of the theory, utilitarianism is seen as a moral principle which sees the morally right of a situation by analyzing its consequences. The moral course of action should produce the greater maximum benefit to a greater number of people (Rawls, John, pg,611). The approach assumes whether the greatest happiness is brought by either pretense, manipulation or in another form of falsehood. The theory looks on the general great happiness to a large number of people in society.

A majority number of people employ utilitarianism form of reasoning in their day to day activities in making various decisions on matters which require urgent attention. The governments, therefore, employ this moral reasoning in assessing whether to do away with the illegal immigrants in their countries. The state, for example, the United States of America will analyze whether deporting the illegal immigrants will bring greater happiness to a large number of US citizens. The government will use the moral reasoning in comparing whether deporting them will bring either happiness or harm to a great number of people.

The government in coming up with the best method to employ, it will tactfully analyze the consequences on both sides as to ensure that it brings happiness to a majority of the citizens of America. After coming up with the appropriate course of action to undertake, the government will evaluate the numerous benefits and harm that could emerge from each course of action made during the process (Inglehart, Ronald, and Christian Welzel, pg,3-6). The government after coming up with a better solution, it will see the best course of action among others that could bring the greatest happiness or benefits after the costs involved have been taken into account.

Jeremy Bentham in his writings of utilitarianism provided a framework in accepting norms of what rules England should have made in the 18th and 19th centuries. Bentham developed an ethical analysis in relation with the pleasure an individual experienced, and he also developed an ancient hedonism which avoided physical pain but only pursued physical happiness to the greatest number of people. He finally came up with an agreement in which he believed could bring greatest happiness to the society at large. He believed that in experiencing a greatest net benefits, he could resort to making a policy that could generate maximum social benefit to the people in society. Jeremy Bentham motto was to bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people in society. In explaining the theory of utilitarianism, Jeremy defined benefits and harms regarding greater pleasure and harm in society. Alternatively, John Stuart Mill defined benefits in terms of the intensity or the quality of pain and pleasure. Nowadays people though value benefits and harm regarding the satisfaction that is derived or the monetary benefits that could accrue. The United States of America could, therefore, devise a method of ensuring what they will do regarding whether to report the undocumented immigrants could derive satisfaction to a greater number of people (HURTADO, JIMENA, pg,4,7). For example, the immigrants provide easily available labor force in the country thus there will be increased production in the country. A person who has attained citizenship in any country, let say an immigrant from from Mexico who has migrated to the United States cant be deported back to his country of origin because he or she is already a citizen who will enjoy his or her rights.If such a person commits any offense, may it be civil or criminal, the rule of the law of the land will apply, and if found to have committed an offense, he will be jailed. Fined or both. Contrary, an immigrant who is not a citizen of a country if he commits an offence that is either civil or criminal, in most cases the due process is not followed in most cases and that could to such person being deported to his country of origin as he cant enjoy the rights like a documented immigrant.

The immigrants assist in boosting the economy as a whole by providing the available labor force in the market. In a country with labor, there is increased levels of production as opposed to a country without. The immigrants also enjoy the social interaction with individuals from diverse countries, and this brings a good relationship in the country. The social interaction among immigrants leads to a positive bonding of people in society at large. The bonding increases efficiency in places of work as a result leading to increased production in the market.

The statistical data for immigrants in the US stood at 43.3 million which was 13.5% of the 321,4 million population in the country. In the year 2012, there were 20.9 million female immigrants in America which accounted 51.3% of the total foreign population.

The government of the United States, for example, could choose on the best course of action which conforms to the general rule of utilitarianism that could bring the greatest happiness to a majority of the people. Therefore in evaluating whether is it the right thing to do report the undocumented immigrants, we employ the moral reasoning of utilitarianism in coming up with the best-viewed conclusion. We dont look at the economic impact of chasing away the immigrants rather the moral reasoning of bringing maximum social benefit to a high number of people.

Problems with the Utilitarianism approach

The utilitarianism approach has a myriad of difficulties in using it as the only way of making moral decisions in society. The utilitarian requires people to assign values to the harms and benefits resulting from the best course of action we choose in arriving at a particular moral reasoning. It is usually difficult to measure the values of costs and benefits and also in comparing them. In doing away with the immigrants, it 's hard to ascertain the cost of deporting them and the benefits of the immigrants remaining in the United States. Utilitarianism also fails to into account the criteria of determining justice in its reasoning. For example in South Africa, it was said that South Africans including the blacks were happy under the leadership of the whites but this was not the case. It is unjust in making such a claim because that resorted to civil wars for a long time, famine, unrest, economic deterioration among others.

The approach at times does not look on whether the best course of action undertaken is appropriate or not. At times the best course of action ends being unjust. The approach is also unscientific as it only derives its reasoning through evaluating the maximum social maximum benefit and harm of a particular phenomenon.

The utilitarianism approach assists in coming up with the best solution to the greatest number of people in society. Its explanation should be adopted in deriving to desired answers on many issues in society.

Conclusion of utilitarianism about the topic

As per the knowledge discussed above the theory, bringing happiness to the greatest number of people regardless by whichever means, the answer to this then lies whether deporting the immigrants will either bring more joy to a bigger proportion of individuals or not.


Deontology focuses on the moral theories that guide in assessing of the choices we make and what we ought to do. Deontological theories is divided into four classes. Namely, Agent-centered deontological theories, and patient-centered deontological theories, contractarian deontological theories and deontolog...

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