America has a history of acceptance and tolerance towards people who choose to immigrate to this country. The United States came to be known as "the land of opportunity" because people were free to work hard and succeed here. Many of us forget that this country was built and populated by immigrants seeking a better life. The famous poem (The New Colossus) by Emma Lazarus proclaims that the [...]Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
In spirit and in practice, America was open to those seeking the chance at a better life. The reality is quite different today. The process of immigration is long, tedious - and quite simply out of reach for many who aspire to live and work here. This happened gradually but deliberately. Today, immigration is feared by many Americans because immigrants threaten their job security.
Immigrants often speak broken English, or no English at all. Immigrants have different cultures and may not be eager to assimilate into the American way of life. Immigrants tend to be drawn to neighborhoods where they are among people who are similar to them, thus clustering and adding to the ghetto-ization of cities. Sometimes high-unemployment rates among these communities can lead to criminality. Furthermore, it can strain the American education system if many children do not speak standard English.
Despite this, we must not lose sight of the fact that immigrants provide America with many advantages. The richness and diversity of their cultures, for example. Also, their willingness to work hard and take on certain jobs that Americans would otherwise refuse - at least at the same wage level. They provide a supply of willing labor for those industries which are in need. Americans benefit from the goods and services that their inexpensive labor allows.
There are also those...
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