How would I write an essay on the current ongoing debate on whether immigration is beneficial or harmful to US society? (I need to state my position and reasoning.) Why do most social scientists...

How would I write an essay on the current ongoing debate on whether immigration is beneficial or harmful to US society? (I need to state my position and reasoning.)

Why do most social scientists maintain that race is "socially constructed"? If race is a social construct, why do so many people attach significance to physical characteristics such as skin color?

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These are two questions that seem to be unrelated, so this response will focus on the first. In looking at the issue of immigration, you may want to consider the following approaches. Note that the prompt is asking about immigration in general and not illegal immigration, which is generally the focus of contemporary immigration debate (with the exception of some fringe groups who wish to rein in legal immigration as well).

First, you might want to consider the history of the United States. It is often said that the United States is a "nation of immigrants," which is an entirely defensible...

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kanessa270 | Student

1.) This is an interesting question because the popular viewpoint is that immigration is harmful to the job market. However, when you look at the numbers (link attached), it appears that the US will rely heavily on immigration in the years to come. Why? The 'baby boomer' generation is getting older, and people are no longer having as many children as they used to (this is called a 'demographic transition'). Eventually, the US will have a large population of elderly people - retired and needing medical care - and a smaller population of working-class people. This will create a financial strain as the smaller working class has to provide not only for themselves, but for many elderly people.

Immigration is a potential solution to this problem. Many immigrants are younger people in search of a job, meaning that the working-class population in the US is boosted by immigration. Suddenly, instead of a small working class supporting a large elderly population... the numbers start to even out, and the financial responsibility to each individual member of the working class is lessened.

(I'm including a link below to a simulation that gives more info on causes and effects of the demographic transition... can be kind of fun to play with.)

2.) According to Merriam-Webster, a social construct is "an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society." People in different societies - towns, countries, clubs - have created different ideas of what characteristics should belong to a person of a certain race (this can be a challenging idea - my 3rd link has a more in-depth explanation).

Now, when I say 'characteristics,' this too often means 'stereotypes.' Skin color is considered significant because it allows an observer to easily categorize a person and assume things about them that may or may not be true. Because race is a social construct, "the degree to which a person is categorized into a racial category can vary" (Hodson... third link again) depending on the ideas/stereotypes held by the observer.

I hope this is helpful!