Illegal Immigration: Negative Deviance Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

Illegal Immigration
What is deviance? Deviance describes actions or behaviors that go against the social norms of a society. There are two types of deviances. Positive deviance is when someone over conforms to the norms of society. Like a straight “A” student in middle school or high school, this makes everyone else not like them because they make them look bad by doing extra. Negative deviance is the more recognized of the two. It’s when someone under conforms to society’s norms. For instance, a student who skips class and doesn’t do any work. Deviance is determined by three circumstances. Social status and power of the individuals involved; social context in which the behavior occurs; and the historical period in which the behavior takes place. Social status and power also manipulate deviance. During times of racial segregation whites were the ones in charge, if a white and black man committed the same crime the white man would get the minimum punishment if any, while the black man got the maximum and be labeled deviant for his crime. On another note, deviance is based on social definition and over a period of time. For immigrants, if they were in their homeland coming to America for a better life, it is considered a norm for their homeland. However if they are in America and did not complete the necessary process to become a citizen, then they are deemed a deviant for violating our norm, which is to go through the full process of becoming a citizen. Illegal immigration is not considered to be deviant in some countries since it’s their norm, but in the U.S. it is against the norm. Illegal immigration is a negative deviant because they did not follow proper procedure for entering the U.S. and currently the U.S. is trying to control it by making protocols stricter for those coming into the U.S. and limiting the green cards and visas given out. In Merton’s Strain Theory, Edwin Sutherland’s Differential Theory, and Travis Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory, also known as Social Control Theory, illegal immigration is considered a deviance, in the U.S., and they all explain how.
In Merton’s Strain Theory, he categorized five different types of people that exist within a society. Each type either accepts or rejects society’s goals and accepts or rejects the means society provides to achieve these goals. Merton gives types of people for his theory: Conformists, Innovators, Ritualist, Retreatist, and Rebels. Conformists are people that believe in society’s goals and have the means to get them, meaning they accept both the society’s goals and the means to get them. Ritualist are those that do not believe in society’s goals but have the means to get it, saying they accept the means but reject the goals. Retreatists believe in neither society’s goals nor norm means, so they reject both by not bothering to try to succeed. Rebels are similar to Retreatist, they both reject society’s goals and norm means, however Rebels advocate alternatives to existing social...

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