Advanced Conversation on Immigration 🗽 Current Issues with Jennifer (1)
Hi. I'm Jennifer from English with Jennifer. In this video,
I'd like to help build your understanding of immigration in the US. today.
I'll be sharing some personal background information, but my main goal is to provide
vocabulary for English language learners who would like to talk about this important issue.
I'm not going to promote a political agenda, and I'm not going to state which political party I belong to.
You're welcome to express your views in the comments, but please write with respect and sensitivity. Okay?
And hey, don't forget to subscribe. You don't want to miss new current issues on my channel.
If you had to guess my ethnic background, what would you say?
Some of you know my family history, but I bet the majority of you don't.
Ethnicity has to do with a person's cultural background. If I'm asked about my ethnic background,
I know someone is interested in my ancestry. They want to know where my parents are from.
"Nationality" is a similar word.
But I often associate it with a legal or official context. On my passport,
my nationality is listed as the United States of America.
In my mind, I consider my nationality to be American.
The two words "ethnicity" and "nationality" are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are arguments about the differences.
The truth is someone can ask me one of the following questions, and my answer will be the same.
What's your ethnic background?
What nationality are you?
I explain that I'm American by birth.
I was born and raised in the U.S.
But by blood, I'm half Filipino, and then I'm a mix of Polish, Serbian, and Hungarian.
I have the values and the mindset of an American, but I was raised with awareness of family's ancestry.
Looking at me, most people assume I'm white.
I actually got a little upset at a doctor's office when they listed my race as "white"
without giving me the chance to identify myself. I usually check off "other" because that's how I feel.
I don't want to put myself in one category.
Race is about skin color and other physical qualities.
I'm half Asian, and the Eastern European part of me makes me half white. In the end, I feel like a true American.
We call the U.S. a melting pot because people come from all over the world, and that's how it's been in my family.
I'm the result of mixing of mixing nationalities and ethnicities.
So what's all the talk about immigration today? Why is it such a big issue if the U.S. has always been a melting pot?
Well, one factor is that election season is upon us.
Every presidential election is a chance for us to think as a nation.
Should we continue certain practices or should we change them?
Should we improve the current situation by reforming our laws? If so, how?
Who will those changes benefit?
We argue over this.
There have been arguments over land,
resources, and identity since the beginning of our country's history.
I'm an American, but I'm not a Native American.
Every U.S. citizen needs to remember that unless you're a descendant of a Native American,
all of our ancestors came from another country.
Native Americans were the original people who lived here before the European settlers came.
A descendent is one whose ancestors came from a certain group.
The early waves of immigration came from Europe.
Later, we had immigrants from Asian countries, like China, then Japan, the Philippines...
More recently, immigrants have come from South and Central America.
We've been a nation of immigrants for over two centuries.
Americans also argue over who should be able to come to the U.S. and who should get citizenship.
You can be a citizen by birth or a naturalized citizen.
A naturalized citizen receives citizenship after
applying and going through the process of naturalization.
My husband and my father are naturalized citizens.
My great-grandparents on my mother's side were also naturalized.
That's why my grandparents and my mother were citizens by birth.
In the U.S., there are different paths to citizenship. One path, for example, is through marriage.
We talk about these different paths today. What are they? What should they be?
Who should have them?
There's a group of immigrants today known as the Dreamers. They fall into the category of illegal immigrants.
The term "illegal immigrants" is not preferred by everyone.
Some feel that "undocumented immigrants" is a kinder, more sensitive term.
Dreamers don't have the documents to be here legally. They were brought to the United States as children.
Their parents brought them into the country, so the decision was not theirs.
Dreamers have grown up in the U.S. They've become a part of American society, but they don't have citizenship.
Should a path to some kind of legal status be given to the Dreamers?
Some say yes, and some politicians have supported a bill called the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act would help the Dreamers become legal.
DREAM is a long acronym that's kind of hard to remember, but I will tell you that A.M.
stands for "alien minors."
It can be confusing to hear different words that basically refer to the same thing.
Illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, illegal aliens.
"Illegal alien" is probably still used in official documents, but it's not something you hear in conversation.
Your use of "illegal" or "undocumented"
can reflect your political position, so choose your words carefully.
In official contexts, you might also come across the terms "foreign nationals" and "noncitizens."
They refer to the same thing: people in the U.S. who don't have citizenship.
A lot of immigrants are here in the U.S. legally. Some received the right to live and work in the country permanently.
They receive green cards. They are green card holders.
I'm not mistaken, they're also called permanent residents,
permanent resident aliens, and lawful permanent residents.
With all the different terminology, you can see how it's often simpler to talk about "legal and illegal immigrants."
I also think it's easier to remember "green card holder" and "undocumented immigrants."
"Alien" by the way, always makes me think of an extraterrestrial, a person from another planet.
I don't think I'm the only one without association.
Immigration is a hot topic right now because of the numbers. You'll hear the word "influx."
"An influx of migrant families." That's a large number of arrivals at our border.
We have a high number of people seeking entry. Note the uses of the word "entry."
Seeking entry -- meaning they want to come in.
Gaining entry -- they're allowed to come in.
Being denied entry -- they're not allowed to come in.
The southern border with Mexico is where much of the present trouble is.
A port of entry is the place where people arrive and enter the country.
Back in the late 1800s when my ancestors came from Eastern Europe,
the main port of entry was New York. They arrived by ship.
History has shown us that large waves of immigration, whether they're from Eastern Europe,
usually lead to worry.
Concerns about resources and public safety are understandable,
But extreme fear can take the form of xenophobia.
That's the fear of people from other countries,
fear of foreigners.
It's one thing to be cautious or even uncomfortable, but xenophobes feel hatred towards foreigners.
It's not rational, and it's not fair, but it's also not fair to say that xenophobia is unique to the United States.
Prejudice exists in many places.
Prejudice is an unfair feeling. It's an unfair dislike one person has for another.
"Prejudice" has only one pronunciation. "Xenophobia" has two. Listen.
A xenophobe would be in favor of deportation.
That's the act of removing a noncitizen from the country because they're not here legally.
"Deportation" is the noun, for example: Some immigrants live in fear of deportation.
"Deport" is the verb: A country can deport an immigrant who has committed a crime.
Immigrants are deported under every administration.
Deportations can be complicated issues, especially when families are involved.
Those who support major immigration reform want families to be protected.
Families have been broken up upon entry at the border, and families have been broken up when one member is deported.
One agency name you'll hear in connection with deportations is ICE.
That's an acronym. It stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE is a federal agency, and they're basically in charge of maintaining border security and
preventing illegal immigration. If an immigrant is deported, it's done by ICE agents.
On any current issue, there are extreme positions. Some want the U.S. to be a place of refuge for all.
"Refuge" is a place of safety; its protection from danger.
Others say border control should be strengthened. There should be no illegal entry or forgiveness for illegal entry.
The main problem is that we have immigration laws, but the laws aren't working.
So what's the problem? Is the problem with the laws themselves?
Or is the problem with enforcement? Again Americans argue.
We argue about the solutions, too. Does border control mean that we need a border wall? Is the cost worth it?
If we reform our immigration laws, how should they be rewritten?
Note that we can reform our laws, rewrite our laws, we can change our laws.
We can also keep our laws, enforce our laws, and uphold our laws.
Okay. Let's move from a set of verbs to a set of nouns.
There are some words that shouldn't be confused in the discussion about immigration.
Migrants are people who move from one place to another like the U.S., hoping to find work.
That's why you'll hear the phrases "migrant workers" or "economic migrants."
Migrants might not necessarily want citizenship. They want a better life.
Migrants might have plans to go back to their home countries.
Immigrants come to a new country with the intention of resettling.
Refugees and asylum seekers are similar, but they are different. Here's what I understand.
Refugees are given refugee status. They were forced to leave their homes, so they come to a new country and receive protection.
Asylum seekers want protection,
but they're still waiting for it, and they may not get it if it's
determined that their lives were not in danger back in their home countries.
Note these collocations with the word "asylum": asylum seekers,
apply for asylum, claim asylum,
curb asylum seekers,
curb asylum claims.
The verb "curb" means to reduce or limit.
When it comes to asylum claims,
it's the government's difficult job to decide who is truly a refugee and who might be trying to take advantage of
Then for all those who receive refugee status, how should they be helped?
The dangerous place for a migrant to be is in limbo. That's the state of being nowhere.
Some migrants are in limbo as they wait for their fate to be decided.
One problem is that everything takes time.
How can we speed up processing at the border? How can asylum seekers get hearings more quickly?
There are numerous pending cases of asylum claims.
Perhaps many of these claims are credible and legitimate,
meaning believable and real, but it takes time for claims to go through our immigration court system.
Some are in favor of having migrants apply for asylum outside the U.S., not upon arrival. Would that help?
Would that be difficult?
Immigration is a sensitive topic. It's a topic that should be discussed with maturity and absence of hatred.
I invite you to share your views in the comments, but please be respectful.
I also believe that all sides should have a voice of this discussion.
No one is necessarily right or wrong because of their ethnicity,
nationality, race, or political affiliation.
Let's be open to different points of view. Some people are liberal and open to major reforms.