There has been a decidedly anti-immigration tone to some of the comments attached to my politically bent posts. Looking through op-ed pieces written for my opinion writing course I found the following column on immigration. I think it appropriately addresses some of the questions of immigration and I hope it adds to the discussion on immigration. I am interested to know your collective thoughts on immigration; please comment at length.
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
- taken from the Statue of Liberty
America has always been a nation of immigrants—a literal melting pot or tossed salad of races, religions and ethnicities. They came (and come) from all parts of the globe—from all parts of Europe, Africa (many pressed in to slavery), Asia and points between. With the aforementioned (and obvious) exception of African slaves, they came of their own free will. They came, some seeking one thing, others, fleeing another. Whether escaping poverty, persecution or some other privation, America, and all she stands for, gave these people hope—hope for a better life for them and their families.
As sure as they have come, their coming has caused resistance on the part of immigrants who had the fortune of getting here first—though not by much. It is all too easy for those resisting immigration to blame every societal problem from crime to joblessness on the immigration. This accusation is neither new, nor unique. Simply Google “immigration” and on any given day there will be dozens of articles and columns addressing the issue of immigration. So long as America offers protection to the weak and jobs to the poor, they will continue to come and we must form a consistent and workable plan to allow those who come with good intentions, to enter legally.
Guarding our borders and protecting the Homeland from terrorists is a serious issue whether you are from a border state like Texas, California or Washington or from the heartland. A terrorist entering through the Mexico- or Canada-US border can easily travel to any other point nationwide to launch their attack. American citizens, regardless of state, must be aware of the threat this presents to them. They must understand that immigration policy affects them in more ways than simply providing cheap labor to mow their lawns, clean their houses, or work their farms. Successful border and immigration policy will allow foreign workers to come to the US to enjoy those dreams of freedom and prosperity. These immigrants will raise families, send their kids to school, learn English and better work skills and will gradually improve their socio-economic position. They will, in effect, live the American dream circa 2005.
The principle remains the same—let all who want to come who have good intentions enter the US and work—but let them come legally. Nuts and bolts rules can be worked out on the basis of this idea—this idea that brought my own ancestors from Germany and Norway five generations ago. They will come and they will work and they will live and in so doing, continue to add to America, making her strong and great. Let us extend the hand of welcome to those who seek this freedom, this opportunity and actively and strongly resist those who want to destroy our way of life and the very freedoms and privileges that encourage so many want to live in America.