Canadas and US’s Approaches to Immigration
Canada has adopted a policy of multiculturalism based on encouraging the retention of individual ethnic identities to the extent that they don’t disturb the societal cohesion and peace. This ethnic heterogeneity in Canada was reflected in the 2001 Census which recorded almost 200 odd ethnic groups. The term “cultural mosaic” is often used to describe this phenomenon though many scholars have of late questioned the epithet because Canada’s society is more than a cultural mosaic. On the other hand, the US approach is based on the premise that the immigrants have to integrate into US society with little or nothing of their individual ethnic identities being retained. It’s described as the “melting pot”. Again the term conjures up an image that is often associated with veiled compulsion to abandon one’s past and integrate into the US society with steadfast commitment.However, the recent developments in both countries have taken the debate of multicultural societies and integration one step further. Despite a plethora of literature on the subject, there is still a considerable gap between these unfolding developments and the subsequent explanations of phenomena. The connotations and denotations of these developments have to be understood well in order to be fully knowledgeable of the underlying nuances.Canadian society is described in terms of a cultural mosaic that has virtually been known for a huge shift away from the American melting pot experience while there has been a considerable amount of controversy over the nature and the shape of the mosaic. The US experience has been different though as Hirschman (1983) suggests the melting pot has been subject to some of the greatest jolts received in the form of what he and many others call “theemergent ethnicity” – a more radical form of ethnic identities and bonds that have been crystallizing the US societal fabric in hitherto unassailable directions. It’s just as much the impact of highly dense ethnic neighborhoods populated by immigrants as is the class-specificity in employment on an otherwise unsuspecting analyst.