It seems like immigrants are very much in the news these days—and not in a positive way. Most Americans, if they look back one or two generations, are the children of immigrants. The desire of peoples around the world to live in America is usually based on the universal goal to build a better life for themselves and their children.
No country in the world offers more freedoms and more opportunity than ours. There’s been much talk about rounding up the 11-million undocumented immigrants and deporting them to their home countries. Besides the sheer impracticality of such action, besides the inhumanity of breaking up families where the children are legal citizens but the parents are not, consider the loss to our country.
Immigrants have always brought new energy, new ideas and an appreciation for American ideals that has renewed our country. Diversity has been our strength—not a weakness—since our country was born. Immigrants have added much to the quality of life in our country and continue to do so.
A short list of famous immigrants includes: Albert Einstein, Madeleine Albright, Joseph Pulitzer, Felix Frankfurter, Irving Berlin and Saint Frances Cabrini, to name but a few. They have been artists, lawyers, judges, diplomats, scientists and world-
Instead of making it hard for immigrants to become citizens, we should welcome them and give them a path to citizenship that is reasonable and attainable. I think we would quickly find that our most loyal citizens were once immigrants. They are our strength and our future.
Let us remember Emma Lazarus’s inspiring words: “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!” Those words express the spirit of America and challenge each of us to treat others—no matter their origin or circumstances—in a humane and caring way. When we rise to that challenge, America is truly great.