Saturday, January 28, 2006

"Limited" Immigration

While Dr. D was reading the Emma Lazarus poem, "The New Colossus," I remembered my middle school days. For one reason or another, I had a free period to do whatever I wanted. Instead of playing outside, I found myself in the school library trying to look up the history of the Statue of Liberty. Liberty...what a great word. I find it interesting (and possibly ironic?) that the Statue of Liberty was commissioned by a few noted Frenchmen to celebrate the centennial of America's independence. A way, if you will, to celebrate America's pursuit for "human liberty." That the Lady Liberty was and still is the iconic symbol for immigrants to travel to America where there was a melting pot of ideas and innovation. Where is that melting pot now? In a January 9th, 2006 Wall Street Journal article titled, "How U.S. Immigration Evolved As the Nation Grew and Changed," the author, Cynthia Crossen notes that the issue of immigation and its concerns that are prevalent even today (i.e. a surplus of poor unskilled workers taking jobs from today's Americans) were also present in the early 20th century. So, this issue of immigration, while seemingly new, has actually been a concern for more than 80 years. Questions as to whom should we allow? Are there exemptions if the individuals seeking entrance into the US from "designated" countries? Who defines all of this? Even now, this past fall the Department of Homeland Securitty (DHS) has sought to revamp the questions on the U.S. Citizenship test. Whether or not those questions will be tougher or easier is up for debate, though most signs point to a toughening of questions. Given all the above, there seems to be a tension between accepting people seeking human liberty and those undermining American job security. What are your thoughts?


Noor M said...

It's interesting to me when people complain about international students stealing American jobs. Most international students have paid (usually in a much weaker currency) a large sum of money to American universities and thus have contributed (might I add significantly) to the economy before they can even start looking for jobs.
I hate the assumption people (both Americans and my fellow countrymen back home) make about every international student trying to become an American citizen. I am often asked this very question and it makes my blood boil. I am very proud of my country and would not trade my Indian citizenship for US citizenship even if it were handed to me on a platter. Yes, I am looking for a job after graduation. I am simply taking a couple of years off before I can go to graduate school. Working at a reputable firm in this country will increase my market value when I go home. Is wanting work experience such a bad thing? More and more students are beginning to think like me. Especially since Indian and Chinese markets have so much potential now. It makes me glad that the world is realizing that following the current world hegemon like a puppy dog is not intelligent international relations.

zahra said...

i guess all countries like to pick and choose who they want to let into their countries. i know that a lot of countries like to have professional skilled workers rather than peasants - ofcourse - they want to help the economy and not drain it. but then i guess we reach the point about humanity - when we see a young boy that has been forced to commit crimes against humanity, taught to shoot a gun at the age of 4 - who has now escaped and is trying to enter the US - and the US wont let him in because he is not really going to benefit the economy - i mean seriously - this young boy will be an orphan - so he will be living in a state funded orphanage, going to a public school and ultimately, costing the US money. on the other hand, if he is let in - will it really be worth it? we read about west african boys being harassed by other african americans because they are different. we read about these boys not really being treated fairly. we see this child living in an orphanage till he is 18 because no one wanted a forgeiner, especially one that may end up having issues

well, yes - the US - the country that has the american dream - everyone wants to come here because life will be great - will it really - is the taumenting procedure really worth it?

stacy h said...

Many people are sometimes shocked to find out that no matter how hard they work, they are stuck in the same place. Although the American dream seems dim these days, it still lives on. Our country would have never gotten to the place it is today without the hope that the American dream instills. However, there are always some people that end up behind others. Many of those behind aquired their position in society just because they were born into a lower class family. Those from low income families face barriers that do not give them the opportunities that are abundant to others. Being an immigrant adds so many more barrriers (language, culture, etc.) that must be overcome. If only our society could accept some of the differences and realize that they are what shape America and its dream, live would be a lot less full of hate and ignorance.