Immigration in America; Past, Present, and Future Erin Deel HIS 203 Professor: Kimberly Hornback May 9, 2011 Immigration in America The inscription written by Emma Lazarus on the statue of liberty says the following; 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-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door! It sounds lovely, it is a beautiful poem filled with hope and the implication that this is a nation who will take anyone in.
Unfortunately, none of that lovely poem is true and it never has been. The ugly truth is only certain types of immigrants need apply. We don’t want any tired, poor, huddled masses in our country yesterday, today or tomorrow. Anti immigration laws are nothing new and they do not appear to be any kinder today than they were in times past. Even our president who got elected by minority and immigrant people hoping and praying for change seems to be carefully sitting on the fence concerning the issue. We should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system,” the president said, “to secure our borders, and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation. In the end, it’s our ideals, our values that built America, values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe, values that drive our citizens still. ” “Although Obama dedicated only about 40 seconds to immigration, his words spoke volumes.
By stating his commitment to “secure our borders” and “enforce our laws,” the president was signaling that immigration authorities will continue raiding private homes in search of “illegals,” forcing employers to turn over undocumented workers, and splitting up families with deportations” (Gonzales, 2010). “The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, as it is formally known, would provide a path to citizenship for individuals between the ages of 12 and 35 who meet certain requirements and enable them to attend college or serve in the military. In the days following the bill’s passage in the U.
S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 216-198, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev,, was unable to muster the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster and bring the measure to the floor” (Jones, 2011). The Republican majority made this bill uncertain at the time but on December 18th 2010 the bill was in fact killed. There will be no Dream Act at least not in that form. It is beyond disappointing and it would have hurt no one to pass the bill. The purpose of the Dream Act is to allow young people with moral standards to be able to receive permanent residency so they can have a future in this country.
It isn’t amnesty, as opponents of the bill have claimed. Young people who have come to this country, land of opportunity, and want to contribute to its prosperity and well-being should be allowed to do so. The Dream Act is not a free ride and it does not provide a free pass; young people who want to take advantage of it would have to stay out of trouble and prove themselves. They would have to conduct themselves correctly. The bill did not pass though and it is not likely to pass in the near future especially with the conservative rightwing Republicans in the majority.
This bill was likely killed by the following reasons; •Americans fearing an influx of Mexicans into the US. •Plain old prejudice, after all they certainly do not kick up the same ruckus if Caucasian immigrants come down from Canada or come from any European country. •They say they are worried about increase in crime. •They don’t want them to take our jobs. •They multiply like rabbits and suck off the welfare system. (This could actually go under the prejudice category) •They don’t bother to learn English and they should learn it before they set foot here. again prejudice) Today the immigrants from Mexico seem to be the scapegoat and being in economic turmoil the US citizens need someone that can be blamed for everything. “Millions of people from around the world immigrate to the U. S. each year, many for similar reasons. And more and more immigrants are coming from Asia. The 2010 U. S. Census showed that Asian-Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the U. S. According to the census, anyone with ancestors from the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent is considered Asian. There are more than 20 countries in Asia, including
China, Japan, and India” The first great wave of Asian immigration to the U. S. was in the 1800s, when tens of thousands of Chinese came to find jobs. Many of them worked on railroads in the West. May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. This month was chosen in part to honor the work Chinese immigrants did on the transcontinental railroad. It was completed on May 10, 1869, in Promontory, Utah. Today, Chinese-Americans are still the largest Asian group in the U. S. , followed by Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese, Koreans, and Japanese, in that order. ” (Smith, 2011).
Throughout history of the US there has been influx of immigrants and they have always faced prejudice. The Chinese endured it in the 1800s when white people were afraid they would lure decent white women into their dens of sin by getting them hooked on opium and turning them to prostitution. There were many hate crimes directed toward the Chinese immigrants in this time period. They are not that liked in today’s time either. We eat in their restaurants’ and look down on them or are suspicious of their motives. They are portrayed as sneaky and a possible threat to our economy today.
This brings me to another group of people who are an unpopular group to immigrate here. Muslims are a group that everyone looks at with suspicion and sometimes animosity. This is due to the attacks of 911. When it comes to this group, most Americans are very nervous and apprehensive of welcoming them into our country. As a matter of fact, they do not even care to have the Muslims who are American citizens enjoy the same rights as everyone else. They are viewed almost as pariahs and most people are pretty unapologetic concerning outright hatred of this particular group of people.
It does not seem to concern most people how educated they are or what they could offer our society. We just plain don’t want them here. We can be and are irrational when it comes to racism and immigration. As much as we like to tout ourselves as the land of the free and the home of the brave that sentiment only applies to people we feel are worthy of US citizenship and that doesn’t include any “huddled masses” or “refuse from anyone’s teeming shores. ” That point is proven time and time again here in Florida when a boat load of Haitians arrives, or are intercepted in our ocean.
At least the Cubans are afforded the wet foot dry foot act and if they can get on land before they are caught, they are welcomed into America with open arms. If you so much as give water to Mexicans illegally crossing into America, you can go to jail. As much as I can understand US Immigration policy is different for different people. It seems very unfair for the majority of people seeking US citizenship. The only reason for the different policies for different people seems to be pure, ugly, ignorant racism which will continue to rear its ugly head as it did in the past, does in the present and probably will continue far into the future.
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