A Western Haven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   What makes America different from other countries? Is itour system of democracy or the popular sport of American football? Actually,neither. The fact that we are a nation of immigrants is what makes us unique. All"Americans" are immigrants, or descendants of immigrants. Ironically,the issue of whether immigration should be restricted is a highly debatedcontroversy.

Restriction supporters believe more immigrants will disturbthe nation's economy and culture. In contrast, immigration advocates argue that,in fact, immigrants are productive and beneficial to society. Most important ofall is that the U.S. has become known as a "melting pot" because of itsblended races, cultures and ethnic groups. We were all immigrants to start with,so it is unfair not to allow immigration now. We have no right to take awayanyone's right to immigrate to our country in the pursuit of happiness.Restricting immigration would be both unconstitutional and harmful.

Onepoll shows that 62 percent of the nation believes immigrants take away jobs ofU.S. workers, thus destroying the working class. But, according to RobertMorrow's Immigration: Blessing or Burden?, 78 percent of the nation, includingthose previously polled, believes that "immigrants work hard - often takingjobs Americans don't want." According to David Cole, a professor atGeorgetown University, "There is virtually no evidence to support the claimthat immigrants take jobs from U.S. citizens. Instead, numerous studiesdocumented by the 1994 American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Right Projectreport prove that immigrants actually create more job opportunities than theyfill."

Some claim that immigrants are tearing apart the nation'sunity. How can America operate as a united country when millions of people fromdifferent countries speak different dialects and practice different customs? theyask. Newcomers will not assimilate, they assume, and will dilute"American" culture. But what is that? Perhaps these Americans stillthink that we are an Anglo-Saxon nation, but the United States consists of manycultures. The key to assimilation is the English language. Many come to thiscountry with the intent to assimilate because they know it is the only way tobenefit.

Watching my parents struggle as immigrants, I know howdetermined they were. Immigrants leave their friends and families to start overin a new country with nothing but hope. According to Morrow, they usually comefor one of three reasons: the United States offers opportunities and a chance forgrowth and economic gain; they were driven by war, famine and economic hardship;or they want to escape religious or political persecution.

My parentscame to escape political persecution and poverty left by the Cultural Revolutionin China, and they've gone through much to establish a sense of stability in ourlives. I can guarantee that almost all immigrants are determined to succeedbecause America is what they gave everything up for.

Others argue thatour country is in danger because of the millions of immigrants who enter eachyear. They say immigrants lack intelligence, talent and the ability to produce.Sure, immigrants may appear unintelligent because they are not fluent in English,but most are well educated and determined. When Albert Einstein is mentioned, youprobably think he's an American genius. Einstein, however, was an immigrant whotook the Oath of Allegiance and became a United States citizen in 1940. RobertFulton, an Irishman, presented the world with the ever-so-useful steamboat.Stephan Girard was a Frenchman who invested heavily in U.S. education. And themajority of the makers of Intel, one of the most widely-used computer chips, arealso immigrants.

Contrary to popular opinion, immigrants are not the scumof the earth. They bring their knowledge and integrity, which benefits society.

Restricting immigration is not only detrimental to our economy, but alsounconstitutional. Why do former immigrants have the freedom to enjoy the NewWorld, but not 21st-century immigrants? Why do we have the right to deny peopletheir right to pursue happiness when our Declaration of Independence grants allmen the right to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"

Isn't it logical that we should welcome immigrants? After all, the words,
Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning tobreathe free,
The wretched refuse of your
teemingshore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me;
I lift mylamp beside the golden door
are inscribed on the base of the Statue ofLiberty. Our Supreme Court recognizes that it is only just that we grantimmigrants the right to emigrate. Why should we restrict immigration when ournation's most powerful symbols approve of it?

Restricting immigrationonly violates the principles of our Constitution. There is no reason forAmericans to be known as selfish fools. Let us keep the Golden Door open, andwelcome all!




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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