Challenges to Social Integration
Social exclusion is not a new concept but rather one that has existed for a very long time now. The term connotes the differential treatment between various social groups residing within a particular country or beyond the borders. In general, therefore, it refers to the dissolution of the social bonds within the society. Such a dissolution means that the socially excluded groups are incapable of accessing some facilities or achieving their rights like other members of the society. One of the socially excluded groups in the US are the immigrants. The group is excluded socially through the passage and exclusion of discriminatory laws against them and excluding them from the national political, social and economic issues. The paper discusses the social exclusion of the immigrants in the US.
The Social Exclusion of Immigrants
Exclusion through Discrimination
One of the manners in which the immigrants are excluded from the American society is through discrimination. The discrimination is usually either based on race or ethnicity. In the history of the United States of America for example, the introduction of the Jim Crow laws curtailed the rights of the immigrants especially the Black Americans. The black population in the US was never allowed to vote and therefore being unable to participate in important national discussions. Further, there were schools specifically reserved for the whites and those specifically reserved for the other ethnic groups. Likewise, in the public transport system, there were spaces reserved for the whites where the black people were never allowed to sit. One of the people who tried to fight this kind of exclusion was Martin Luther King Jnr. Who waged a demonstration leading to a ruling being made by the Supreme Court to end the discrimination in schools. While such pronouncements were made by the court, however, discrimination on the black people who are immigrants in the US remains rife today. President Barrack Obama in his campaign for the presidency, for example, faced a lot of discrimination from a section of the white population simply because he is black.
Exclusion of the Immigrant Undocumented workers
In today’s business economy, unfortunately, part of the society in the United States is taking advantage of the undocumented workers who are always immigrants. These undocumented workers are always identified by the use of fake visas and other forged documents. The majority of employees in the United States of America especially the manufacturing, mining, Agriculture and production companies prefer using these undocumented workers. The reason as to why they prefer using them is because they can exploit their ignorance to evade liability in the event of the happening of an accident in the course of their wor. To this extent, the undocumented workers end up being excluded from the other society of the documented workers who enjoy a variety of benefits. For example, the documented workers qualify for participation in the trade union which fights for their rights and welfare unlike the undocumented ones who are not. Secondly, every employer in the US is expected to take out a medical and insurance cover for its workers. Unfortunately, the companies employing the undocumented workers do not incur this responsibility, and the workers themselves cannot follow up because it may lead to their arrest. The result is that these workers right to social security are not protected. Further in the event of any accident, they also take care of their hospital bills. Further, the move ends up affecting the workers financially as the employers end up underpaying the workers. Finally, therefore, the undocumented workers who are immigrants end up being excluded from enjoying the social benefits enjoyed by the other documented workers.
Exclusion through blocking of Entry into the US
Immigrants flock into the US for various reasons which are usually security related. Countries like Syria which are facing wars due to political instability have made it inevitable for the world to have refugees. Refugees are people who flee their countries in search of protection in other countries due to the fear of being persecuted either on racial, political or being members of a particular social group. Most of these refugees end up seeking asylum in the US. While they expect to find the freedom and an environment where their rights are protected, they end up facing an even more frustrating life due to their exclusion. Some of these refugees are denied entry at the borders for various reasons. For those who manage to get entry, they face language barriers, lack of the provision of essential services and housing problems. The businesses men in the US further frustrate them by charging very high amounts of rent. Some cases have emerged whereby the refugees are accused of carrying bedbugs in the hotels and are forced to stay in certain apartments where there rental fees is hiked tremendously. Such an exploitation make these immigrants feel unwanted from the American Society.
The American politicians have also made it a hobby of discussing the refugees in a manner which is humiliating to them. The Republican Presidential Flag bearer, Donald Trump, for example, has been heard severally stating that he will not allow the Muslim refugees into America. Trump believes that the Muslim refugees are responsible for the terror attacks in the US. Such reckless statements cause the Muslim refugees in the US to fear for their lives. The art of making the refugees a subject of debate on the media and political scenes, therefore, cause the refugees to feel excluded from the entire society. Sometimes these refugees even end up being detained and denied the vital documents required for their stay in the US.
Exclusion through the Denial of the Right to Vote
Most immigrants in the US do not have a right to vote. The effect of this action is that the immigrants are not given an opportunity to participate in the electoral and political process in the US. It, therefore, means that they cannot elect the leaders of their choice. Their voice on issues of national development is curtailed and are therefore at the receiving end of all sorts of discrimination because they have no one to defend them. When the immigrants are denied the participation in key decision-making situations, they serve like second class persons and therefore creating a rift between the immigration community and the host community in the US. The result is that they are not respected by the host communities and are a target of the whole population when matters of national security are tampered with in Americ.
In conclusion, Social exclusion refers to the detachment of some ethnic groups, races from the mainstream communities due to factors beyond their control. Some factors such as political exclusion, discrimination, exploitation of the undocumented workers and the utterance of xenophobic words towards them make them feel very less fortunate and unwanted and therefore leading to their social exclusion from the community. Such kinds of action, therefore, make it very difficult for social integration to happen within the US. The menace can therefore only be solved through the respect of the equality and fundamental rights of each person, and embracing unity amongst all groups.