Immigration and Social Welfare Policy (United States)
John M. Herrick
The history of the United States cannot be understood without acknowledging the millions of immigrants who have settled within its borders and who have shaped its culture. Popular belief holds that the United States is a refuge for the oppressed from across the globe, but history shows there have been confusing and complex immigration policies and practices in response to changing social needs and pressures. Theories have arisen to characterize the immigration experience. The “melting pot,” or assimilation, theory contends that immigrants blend into the United States and eventually become Americans, often by ignoring or forgetting their roots. Another theory, that of the mosaic, holds that America is a land of many peoples from different cultures and ethnicities who adapt to the United States but also retain their cultural and ethnic identities. These theories can be used to help understand immigration history and how the nation has responded to the ...