Immigration is a complicated issue. Most countries have issues with illegal immigration and governments struggle to come up with solutions. I have a lot of thoughts and sympathies for people fleeing their countries who do not have the means to go down the legal path of immigration, but today I just want to focus on legal immigration. Legal immigration was something that was celebrated, especially in America. We are a country that founded itself as a refuge from tyrannical governments that restricted religious beliefs and restricted protest and freedom of speech. As the poem clearly states on our wonderful statue that has welcomed immigrants to our shores for decades …
“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!”
This was the sentiment of a bright new country and this sentiment has lasted for hundreds of years.
When I first moved to America in the eighties I couldn’t be more excited. You see, to a person who was raised in another country you recognize all the opportunity America has to offer. The vastness of the geography alone fills you with wonder. I guess what I am trying to communicate is that nobody loves America more than an immigrant. We understand how it is to live without the freedoms and opportunities that America has to offer. I know the country I came from was not a war torn, violence filled nation but honestly even with a country like England I can see how America offers a better quality of life in many respects and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I can only imagine how immigrants from violent countries must feel when they bring their children to the safer shores of the US and can feed and educate them in a way that they couldn’t in their own countries. Trust me … they really love America.
Of course I am a European immigrant. No one has ever told me to “Go back to where I came from” (Well they have but only when they are asking me to give them a tour of London). However I feel the attacks on immigrants quite deeply. They sadden me immensely because I think of the excitement I felt as a new resident of America and the pride I had when I became an American citizen.
If we continue to tell Americans how they should worship, how they should love, and what they can and can not protest then we are turning into the very country that our original immigrants who first landed on these shores and then fought for Revolution were trying to escape from.
Let’s give young girls like me the same joy and excitement and be welcoming to our legal immigrants because trust me immigrants do not take America for granted … they already recognize what a great country this is and they are so grateful to be here.