There is a lot of controversial and alarming news about “Unaccompanied children crossing the borders alone”, or “Our community cannot handle this, we don’t even know what all diseases they have or their criminal background”, or “No justification for city-issued ID card for illegal immigrants”.
What’s Causing The Latest Immigration Crisis?
In general, any migrant’s or unaccompanied child’s motivation to venture to the U.S. can be based on poverty, safety concerns, fearing conditions back home, and the desire to reach the American dream. Their home countries have been racked by gang violence as well as fueled by the drug trade. In addition to that, Central American families are being misled by rumors often spread by profit-seeking smugglers that their children will be reunited with relatives already in the U.S. For many, the prospect of reuniting with family members in the U.S. is also a powerful motivating force. This is turning into the largest influx of asylum seekers on U.S. soil since the 1980 Mariel boatlift out of Cuba.
The United States has experienced major waves of immigration throughout its history. In the early 1600s the Pilgrims arrived in search of religious freedom. During the mid-1800s, a significant number of Asian immigrants settled in the United States, lured by news of the California gold rush. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many European immigrants came to America seeking greater economic opportunity. There have been 3 major waves of Cuban immigrants since the 19th century. The only exception to the rule is the hundreds of thousands of African slaves that were brought to America against their will from the 17th to 19th centuries.
The first significant federal legislation restricting immigration was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Individual states regulated immigration prior to the 1892 opening of Ellis Island, the country’s first federal immigration station. New laws in 1965 ended the system that favored European immigrants. In 1965, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, which did away with quotas based on nationality and allowed Americans to sponsor relatives from their countries of origin. As a result of this act and subsequent legislation, the nation experienced a shift in immigration patterns. Today, the majority of U.S. immigrants come from Asia and Latin America rather than Europe.
Consider this, from its earliest days; America has been a nation of immigrants. Throughout history people from other regions of the planet have come the U.S. looking for an opportunity for a better life. So, who are we to say “you are not welcome here”. I can guarantee you that most of us have our origins from regions other than the U.S. with the exception of the Native American. Whatever happened to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (The New Colossus – Emma Lazarus, 1893)
“Consider another explanation: what goes around comes around. Our forefathers and mothers did not mind invading the lands of Native Americans, removing them from the same, and corralling them onto reservations. Now, we the descendants must learn to share an earth that really is quite small”. (Cheryl Martin Ede- UT-San Diego Letters to the Editor -7/5/2014)
I could not have said this any better. If we are going to make negative allegations about immigrants that are crossing the U.S borders please say what you need to say without judging, humiliating or insulting immigrants. In addition to that, I will also suggest recalling your ancestor’s history; they may be similar to those migrants that are currently crossing the US borders.