A short opinion piece about immigration in America
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.
- Emma Larzarus
In lieu of the recent rallies in the United States, as well as terrorism woes amongst nations, one has to wonder if the state of immigration as we know it is going to change for the better or worse.
I am an immigrant in every sense of the word. I was not born in the United States, but I have made this country my home for the past ten years and counting. My entry was relatively 'lax' in comparison to the new rules and regulations. I had a passport, I went through the protocol and got my citizenship after lots of fees and forms/applications filled out. I now consider this country a second home, and almost feel a bit possessive when I see others taking up residence here without 'permission.' Case in point; the illegal immigrants who cross the borders.
So yes, they all hope to have a better life over here, and wish to escape the hardships of their native land; after all, America is the land of the free and work will be easy to come by. However, as I see the dead bodies lying across the acrid desert or floating in the ocean, either shot by border patrols, or drowning from swimming for so long, I wonder if it's really worth it. Is it worth dying just to get into a country that will accept you anyway just as long as you go through the right procedures? But what about the cost of the fees to apply? They can't afford it. What does one expect them to do then?
I propose a plan that might already be in action as I type this. I am not asking for the government to give them automatic citizenship for breaking the law and entering illegally. As one who went through a lot just to get my green card, I will find it quite unfair for them to get the easy way out. However, I'd suggest that they be given temporary work permits for a small fee. If after a certain amount of time, they prove themselves to be hardworking, law-abiding citizens, then they should have the right to seek permanent citizenship in the United States. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
Immigration is a touchy subject all around, and it's definitely fueled some bitterness amongst the different races in this country. The rallies, predominantly by the Hispanic community last month, created a lot of debate and worry amongst Americans that they were being over-run and overwhelmed by the influx of those immigrants. So much so that Spanish is now considered the second unofficial language of the United States. The underlying, but boiling stew of racism is even more palpable. Sparked by the recent terrorist threats and plots by Middle-Easterners, it's no wonder they are now looked at as Public Enemy #1. How are they to enter this country when they're already 'hated' by a majority of the people?
It's a double edged sword, and a situation where the phrase 'One bad apple spoils the whole bunch' comes into play – although this is not always the case. I will agree that Immigration laws should be stricter, however I do not think they should be biased according to people's races or creeds. There are so many immigrants from all over the world who do good things for this nation, and the powers that be should not be swayed by a group of individuals who are hellbent on destroying what we have worked so hard for.
At the end of the day, I can only hope for a world where borders and barriers are finally broken; and we can all live in harmony as one.
Remember, remember always, that all of us... are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt