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Should We Close the Port of Entry ?

by Sophie Daubeny

Immigration by its nature is bound to cause a few issues because you are introducing an unknown element into an established society. The best that can be said for it is that it is by application or invitation rather than by force. Immigration is fuelling rapid growth in the nationís largest cities. America is said to be undergoing a population revolution in that the number of children in the average American family is decreasing, however the number of American citizens is increasing. Are we to say that the only way to preserve a "decent quality of life" for the Americans is to cut the number of legal and illegal immigrants who came to this country?

Josette Shiner said that immigration results from "burgeoning birth rates in developing countries." But it is not overcrowding that immigrants are feeling, it a lack of opportunity and freedom. That is why they come here, to the "land of dreams and opportunity." Immigrants come into our cities just as long-term residents are abandoning them. More than 1.2 million people left Los Angeles county from 1990 to 1996, but the area gained nearly a million people because of immigration and high birthrates. It is the tax base of new immigrant workers and small businesses that keep our cities alive. It is often said that the US is a nation of immigrants. The role of cheap immigrant labor has been critical in building the US economy. Immigration has been both voluntary and forced, territorial and economic expansion was a magnet for persons fleeing poverty and political repression.

The US has always had a complex issue with the incoming residents. Although they have been crucial to US economic progress, there has beena considerable hate and anger directed towards immigrants based on religious prejudice and the fear that they might take jobs from native born workers. The Bill of Rights does not grant foreigners the right to enter the US,but they are entitled to be treated fairly and have the right to free speech and religious freedom and protection under the First Amendment.

However it is worth mentioning that by creating such a melting pot of different cultures, one ends up either a society that is fragmented. It had been imperative for the United States to create a feeling of belonging that suits as many of the people as it can. Therefore each child entering the school system is taught the pledge of allegiance, regardless of color,creed or religion to encourage the belief of unity for this country. Patriotism is an unimportant part of integration to the American way of life. This has worked fairly well over the last hundreds of years or so but there are still groups who, whilst American citizens, describe themselves as Chinese Americans, Irish Americans, African Americans, Jewish Americans etc. This suggests that not everyone is willing to commit themselves wholly to just being American. Some of these groups feel that they are discriminated against and some would argue that dependant upon which state you live in, there is good cause for feeling aggrieved.

The United States appears to be well aware of these problems and many laws have been passed in order to give people the right to redress if they feel unfairly treated, but the bottom line is that unless the citizens of the United States accept that there are cultural differences and embrace them, the consequences of doing otherwise are too awful to contemplate as has been shown in such places as the former Yugoslavia.