Posted: 10 November, 2016
The issue of immigration has been a highly discussed issue throughout the country. And, with the influx of refugees seeking asylum within the United States, this discussion has accelerated, with both sides of the debate digging in their heels and holding firm to their stance. Those who have argued for tighter restrictions on immigration have cited increased terrorism threats worldwide and high levels of unemployment throughout the country. While arguing that the most important thing that is needed is the protection of American lives and jobs, what is so easily forgotten about is what the nation was built on, and where the vast majority of Americans originated from.
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The plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty openly welcomes the tired, poor, huddled masses – those yearning to breathe free. She opens the door to these tempest-tossed individuals, offering refuge from their suffering. The United States is a nation built on immigrants. There have always been disenfranchised people around the world, throughout history, looking for a better life for their families, and since it's settlement, this country has served as a safe haven for those willing to start over and work to build a better life.
To close the doors now on everyone looking for the same opportunities as our families had would not only be highly hypocritical, it would also go against the fundamentals of what this nation was built on. When people talk about the American dream, they talk about the hope and potential for a better future. Our families had that opportunity, and now we are able to enjoy the same.
As the Statue of Liberty has stood proudly on Ellis Island, welcoming immigrants from around the world, we cannot forget the words scribed at her feet. We all came from somewhere else, and we have all come here seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life for ourselves and our families. Whether it was our grandparents, parents or ourselves who first made the move to this country, we all came for these same reasons.
In the face of everything happening in the world today, we can see people who are looking for the same freedoms for their families. These are not terrorists, as studies have shown time and again. They are simply people looking for a place to live in peace, without worry for their children, and their other loved ones.
Welcoming immigrants to our shores shows that we are willing to give everyone a shot at the American dream. But, more important than that, it shows that we are with them, banded together against those that would do them harm. We are willing to offer them refuge from those dangers, and vehemently oppose the situations and threats they are running from.
It took people from different backgrounds to build our country into the great nation is has become today. Shutting our doors to new immigrants will only stunt our growth and development as a country. As we continue to welcome new immigrants to our shores, we can keep progressing, keep building and keep moving the world as a whole forward in a more positive direction.