The whole topic of immigration in the United States really irks me. I, as a 4th generation German American, take pride in this country because it represents diversity, or sometimes referred to as a melting pot. Even more so, people come to this country to be free. That was true a hundred years ago and it is true today.
We are a country of many nationalities, whether it be Caucasians with European decent, Black Americans with African decent, Hispanics with Mexican decent or H’mong with Vietnamese decent, just to name a few. Even though I am a 4th generation American, I am very aware that my nationality is German.
My family to this day still has customs that were done by our German ancestors, and eat foods that were originally eaten by them also. The foods are very interesting and I am surprised they have lasted this long. Since my family were farmers, we butchered our own meat. To this day my father and mother make blood sausage, head cheese, pickled heart and pickled tongue. In the fall after deer season Dad also makes venison sausage. My sister still eats all of this, but I have lost my taste buds for eating most of it. Once in a while I like a taste of blood sausage, which is an unusual mixture of ground meat, raisins, cinnamon and blood, and the venison sausage my Dad makes is fabulous.
At Christmas we always have Kugen, which I think was originally pronounced kuchen. It is a type of cake in Germany. Instead our kugen has transformed to a type of sweet, raisin bread with a sugar-crumble topping. Also at Christmas we have grandma’s brown cookies, which are a frosted molasses cookies. We sometimes have quarter nuts, also called pepper nuts, which is pfeffer nutz in Germany. They are small quarter size, hard cookies with molasses, anise and walnuts.
My great-grandfather selected the place they would live in America based on a type of tree that was in Germany on their farm. If the land had white oak, they knew the land would be good for farming.
We are a country of immigrants. Only the Native Americans can claim true American decent. I believe that this diversity in our country is what makes America great. I love going into a city and explore all of the boroughs that have inhabitants from different areas in the world and all of the merchants in the boroughs carry goods representing the ethnic people in the area.
This country has drawn people from all over the world to come to the land of opportunity and a land of prosperity. I just don’t understand what the problem is with this immigration. It is these people who have made this country great.
On the Statue of Liberty it reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”. The Constitution of the United States starts with the words “We the people…”. This is what our country is all about. This is where our pride originates from. Why would we in this day and age turn our back on the people who want to participate in keeping this country to be the mightiest in the world. Out of hunger comes the drive to work hard which can result in a taste of prosperity.
People have come to this country to escape religious persecution. They came to have freedom. Whether that is freedom of speech or freedom to practice any religion. They come so their voices can be heard with no recrimination. We are the land of the free. Why wouldn’t an immigrant want to be a part of this great nation which is like no other?
With opportunity comes progress. Where would this country be if it wasn’t for the immigrants? It is the immigrants who were hard workers and were who contributed to building the best country in the world and at the same time improving their own life. It is known that if one works hard great things can happen, and in our case that great thing is America.
The immigrants came to America and they became Americans. They became proud Americans who were responsible, hard-working citizens, who love their country and supported their country. Even my family knows their heritage and still celebrates some of the German traditions, but that does not make them less of an American. Though we come from different nationalities we are “One Nation Under God.”
One of the arguments against immigration is that America is one of the few countries, Canada being the only other, that believes if you are born in America, then you are automatically an American citizen. There is a movement in this country that wants to judge the children’s right to citizenship based on the citizenship status of the child’s parents. By law, all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States, which is written in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Another argument against this clause in the 14th Amendment is that there are approximately 10.8 million illegal immigrants in the United States right now, and more than one-third of those undocumented parents have an American child due to birthright citizenship.
Sarah Palin has made references to there being a need to “take back America.” Take back from whom? America hasn’t went anywhere. There is nothing to take back. We are all immigrants and this is the heart of what America is. Without immigrants we no longer have America.
The previous Minnesota governor, who is eyeing the prize of being president of this country, edged his way into the debate over immigration reform saying he supports changing the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment to prevent the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States from gaining automatic citizenship. “We’re the only, or one of the few, developed nations in the world that allows somebody to come here illegally, give birth to a child, and then have the child be a legal citizen of our country,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “The only way to trump the court’s decision is to amend the Constitution.”
All of this attention on immigrants from the GOP, the far right, the Christian right, the tea party, or whatever they want to call themselves, is for what? Saving money? With every child there comes two hard-working parents. Two more people with that hunger to improve their lives and be a part of the American dream. Do you really believe that these immigrants plotted to get to America, sometimes endangering their life, establish a home to keep the family safe, to acquire a job to feed the family, which is hard because they are undocumented, get pregnant, have a baby just for the purpose of going on welfare? And while this all is going on they are constantly looking over their shoulder praying that no one knows that they are here illegally. Really? That sounds like a lot of work, a lot work to be on the bottom rung of the social stratta in this country. The only group lower is the homeless.
So what has got the GOP so hot? What do they treasure and won’t get if immigrants come to this country. Is power the thing they treasure? The type of power of being an elected official? What could an immigrant do that would prevent the GOP from having that treasure? Oh, I get it! It is the votes. Could it be that the Republican party is afraid of immigrants because the immigrants’ children will grow up and will vote, and most likely not vote for a Republican? Eventually even the parents will become naturalized citizens sponsored by their children. That adds up to a lot of votes. Think about it. The whole discussion about costs and welfare, is a ruse. The real fear is that these new citizens of American will vote with the Democratic party.
Here are some things to consider before you boot immigrants out of this country:
- Twenty-six percent of U.S.-based Nobel Prize recipients from 1990-2000 were immigrants (Peri 2007)
- Immigrants account for 24% of patents, twice their share in the population” (Hunt, 3)
- A one percentage point rise in the share of immigrant college graduates in the population increases patents per capita by 8-22%
The point is that the next Carnegie or Einstein could be wasting away in an undeveloped nation instead of filing patents in America. How much tax revenue has been collected due to the enormous number of patents filed by foreign student or immigrants? How many thousands of firms make more money because of these inventions? Also, how many billions of dollars in value have been created by ventures where one of the founders was an immigrant? Google, Yahoo!, and eBay were all co-founded by Americans who immigrated as children. Would we really close our doors to Google, Yahoo and Ebay? Does our economy benefit from them? The answer is yes.
The “Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996-2008” reports that, “In recent years, immigrants were nearly twice as likely to start a new business as individuals born in the United States.” Cutting off immigrants in this country could actually cause a collapse of our economy. Do we really want all of these new businesses to go away?
Another notable is Levi Strauss, the inventor of blue jeans, who was born in Bavaria in 1829. Strauss emigrated to New York City in 1845 and learned the wholesale dry goods business. Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1847. When he was 11 years old, he invented a machine that would clean wheat. His most famous invention was the telephone, which he patented in 1876. Immigrants have been the foundation of this country.
Take a moment and think about this topic. Don’t let the GOP ruin this country. Let us remain proud and free. Let us prosper and support this nation to be its greatest. Here are a few famous quotes that relate to the greatness of America and its diverse population:
For more information see THE FISCAL COST OF IMMIGRATION by Edwin Rubenstein.
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