The continued arrival of immigrants into the American colonies and later the United States has been a constant since the new world was discovered by the Europeans in the late 1400s. Because of this, our country has brought the best, brightest and most motivated from around the world to contribute to making our country the greatest in the world. There have been times in the past where the established population has tried to keep new immigrants to our country out by either social and societal discrimination or even legal discrimination written into our laws.
It was not on the far distant past that the predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon, Western European population in the Northeast discriminated against Irish, Italian, Polish and Jewish immigrants to the United States. Discrimination against Chinese immigrants was even written into our laws. Japanese-Americans were rounded up and placed into internment camps during World War II, despite being US citizens. There is no legitimate logic or reason to justify this type of behavior and treatment to immigrants and people of foreign descent—those who want to come to the United States and do the same things that every other immigrant wanted when they made the journey to our shores.
These same immigrants and their progeny, who were derided and rejected in the past by the established population, because of different language, culture, education, religion and the color of their skin went on to become successful, integrate into our society and produce some of our greatest achievers and citizens. This includes, presidents, inventors, business moguls, educators, builders and craftsmen, entrepreneurs and innovators, soldiers and public servants to name a few examples. The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these immigrants in the not so distant past, are now well respected and fill the ranks and pillars of our society. These communities are now accepted and a part of the melting pot that makes up the American people.
Once again we are seeing groups of immigrants to this country vilified, discriminated against, and blamed for problems in this country that they have nothing to do with. In the past several years, what used to be a white nationalist fringe element of the far right political spectrum has slithered its way into the thinking and ideas of more mainstream America and its ideology is being used by politicians to gain votes for their advantage and to pass laws discriminating against immigrants. But most do not realize is that this is a movement substantially backed by the private prison industry, which makes money by detaining people. The more people they detain the more money they make – and it is the taxpayers’ money – which is why they have lobbied to have these laws passed. Clear proof of this is how the stocks of the private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group made significant gains following the recent election of Donald Trump.
What actually makes America great is its immigrants and that it has always welcomed them and the continued influx of these immigrants bringing new ingenuity, ideas and culture to our country. The vast majority of people do not immigrate to the United States to be on welfare or not contribute to society, rather they come here to make a better life for themselves by working, educating their children and being productive members of society. The number of DREAMERs (children who were brought to the United States by their parents) who are graduating at the top of their classes and getting scholarships to prestigious colleges and universities is another example of this reality.
Other industrialized nations are stagnating because of aging and shrinking populations but the US is not because of continued immigration. What needs to happen is a reform of our broken immigration laws in order that we can properly welcome and absorb the best, brightest, motivators and necessary workers to help grow our economy and enrich our land so we can continue to be the greatest country in the world.