Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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!”
– Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus
The vast majority of Americans would no doubt consider their society free and open if asked. In the very same breath, many would also denounce “illegal aliens”, “immigrants”, or even “Mexicans” in general. The level of blatant xenophobia we see in the United States today, against Hispanic people, Arabs, and Muslims, among others, parallels only one other time in American history: the mid-19th century, known among other things for the Know-Nothing Party, nativism, and discrimination against Chinese, Irish, and Catholic immigrants. We look upon that era with disgust but fail to see the parallel to our modern society. If we look upon America as such a land of opportunity, why are we treating it as an exclusive, high-society club, where we only let people in if they agree to all our views?
I am not arguing for the passage of the DREAM Act. I am proposing something infinitely more radical. I seek nothing less than granting permanent U.S. citizenship to anyone who seeks it – and amnesty to all past illegal immigrants that seek citizenship.
Why should entering American soil be a crime? There is no reason to distinguish between jobs “stolen” by Mexican immigrants, and those transferred to American citizens born here. Certain people, however, are enraged by the former, while treating the latter as a fact of life – a view that can only be called xenophobia. #