Why should America continue to allow immigration?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is true that America is a nation formed from immigrants.  But, if one studies the history of Ellis Island, New York, one learns that not everyone who came to America was allowed to stay.  People who had medical conditions, who were criminal, etc. were deported almost as fast as they arrived. (The pejorative term for Italians--WOP--comes from so many of their "Being Without Papers," the proper documents, to allow them to enter the United States.)

In addition to a conditional entry, no immigrant was entitled to anything who was not a citizen.  If he/she were not a citizen, he/she was termed "illegal immigrant" and was deported.  This deportation of illegal aliens was standard procedure in the early twentieth century.

Finally, the immigrants who came from Western and Eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, worked and paid taxes and learned English. (They were on no welfare programs.)  Many of their children, in fact, refused to speak the native language in the home, insisting to their parents that they were "Americans," not Polish, or Italian, or Swedes, etc.

Nowadays, the majority of immigrants who come to the United States are greatly different from the immigrants of Ellis Island.  They come from third-world countries--not Europe--they can arrive carrying disease (leprosy, tuberculosis) that had been eradicated from the U.S. and remain; they are from countries who pose terrorist threats to the United States, many are of criminal backgrounds, and a high percentage of them do not contribute to the economy, for they either collect welfare benefits such as free hospitalization, schooling, food stamps, etc. Or, if they work, they often take the maximum tax deduction so that little comes out of their paycheck.  Much of their money is sent back "home" to family.  Then, after a year many leave and pay no income tax at the end of the year, either.  Effort to assimilate into the American culture is not often apparent.  Immigrants do not attend ESL classes to learn English.  Also, for example, they frequent churches, stores, even hospitals and clinics that cater to their native tongue.  Even car dealerships and retail stores accommodate them.  So, because there is no need to become an American, they do not.  Millions are illegal immigrants--an estimated 14-20 million--who simply use America for their needs.  (Witness the devastation of the economy of California that illegal immigrants have made, an economy that was once the fifth largest in the world, standing alone.)

With the unemployment rate at the dizzying level that it is, it is not unreasonable to wonder why more people should enter the country.  While the Japanese are having fewer children, there are many, many people in this country who are reproducing rapidly and the population is increasing.  That some of them are not inclined to work, and that many are ill-equipped and uneducated is also a fact.  But, there is no shortage of able-bodied people in this country.  Besides, most of the manufacturing is no longer conducted in this country. There is no logical reason to continue immigration.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

People who argue that immigration is going to kill America need to look back at some history books and see how many worries there were years ago about immigrants failing to assimilate.

Look at the history of anti-immigrant parties (the Know-Nothings) and anti-immigrant groups (the KKK in the early 1900s).  Look at how many foreign language newspapers and such there were in American cities.  Look at the fact that America was more immigrant (by percentage of foreign-born people) than it is today.

All the arguments made against immigration in the second post were used back in the old days and America has yet to fall.

I think many people are just worried today because more of the immigrants today have brown skins and last names like mine and they think we'll never assimilate.  But people have said the sky was falling before and, as far as I can tell, it's still up there.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are the most usual arguments for why the US should continue to allow immigration:

1.  It renews and supplements our pool of workers -- both skilled workers and unskilled.  Other rich countries that don't allow much immigration (notably Japan) are having trouble mainitaining their labor pools as their native population grows older and has fewer children.

2.  It is the American way.  We are a nation of immigrants and that is part of the fabric of our society.  We would be untrue to our origins if we did not allow immigration.

There are, of course, other arguments for and against, but these are the two most important arguments for immigration.

triste5 | Student

I think that America should keep allowing immigration to a certain extent. And its not just because I am a latina. The United States should allow certain people to stay here for example the immigrants that truly come here to get ahead in life. The ones that really do have a dream to accomplish! And well the certain ones that just come here to live off the government are a different story. don't get me wrong or anything cause there are plenty of people in this country that were born here and still live off the government! But what I'm trying to say is that some people truly do deserve the chance to come here to the United States to become something better!

I know plenty of people at school that are from different countries and are seriously here to become something great in life, but because of all the things going on at the moment against immigrants it's not possible for them to achieve all their dreams and goals. Anyways I'm sorry I went a little off topic, but I do think that the United States should keep allowing people to come here, but like I said to a certain extant.