Whether you like to accept it or not, the United States was literally built on immigrants. From Columbus “discovering” the “New World” to the establishment of Jamestown, and to the flood of European immigrants during the 20th century, this country has never been without immigrants. Let’s not forget either what it says on the Statue of Liberty… “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. You mean immigrants, Lady Liberty? Even through all this, there are some Americans that will absolutely oppose the idea of immigration to the United States. But why? Immigrants actually provide economic stimulation when given the right opportunities, so what’s the problem?
For my English class semester, I wrote a research paper on immigration in Chicago and its effect on the economy. With all my research found, immigrants positively impact the economy both in Chicago and the United States, overall. We pay taxes, open small businesses, and the decrease in local wages is actually boss’s taking advantage of their undocumented workers. Undocumented or documented, immigrants pay their fair share of taxes through sales and property. Although they have paid twelve billion dollars in taxes, undocumented immigrants do not receive any kind of benefits back. Considering the main argument of opponents of immigration is the “strain” immigrants put on the economy, it was important for me to show that it’s false. Immigrants stimulate the economy, and we clearly saw that on the Day Without Immigrants protest. (On a different note, if you’re interested in reading my research paper, I will definitely send it if you ask!)
With this in mind, we should consider how we treat immigrants overall, especially through an economic lens. There is a preference in immigrants who are well-educated, a bit on the wealthier side, and willing to assimilate to American culture. For some reason, people will only accept immigrants if they are able to create economic revenue, and I understand this to some degree. We want the United States’ economy to thrive, and immigrants do help, yes. But why is this the scale that we measure an immigrant’s worth? If an immigrant cannot find a job or open up a business, why are we to say that their life in America is worthless? Immigrants who are stuck in economic oppression in the United States still deserve to be here. Whether it be because they can’t find a job, they lost their house, or they don’t get paid enough, they still deserve to be here. They are not worthless, they are not trash, and they are not a strain on the government. They do their part, and they deserve to be here.
America is known as the land of opportunity where anyone can achieve the ‘American Dream.’ Whether or not you believe in the American Dream yourself, we should all realize that to a lot of people around the world, coming to America is the way to create a better life for themselves. Any immigrant coming into the United States hopes in achieving the American Dream. They come from some place in the world trying to escape economic, political, or social oppression in hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their family.Coming from a family of immigrants, I know how hard it is being in a new land where you may or may not know anyone. I’m a first-generation college student, one of the first in my family to go to college. The American Dream was what my own grandparents thought when coming to the United States from Mexico, and now they own a house where they had three kids, who now have their own kids. Without them, I would not be where I am right now, trying to give back to them and my community. Immigrants come from nothing only to establish a future to be reminded that the struggles of their journey were worth it. My family came here for a better life for me and the future, and I thank them for that every day.