Illegal Immigration in America – Then and Now

“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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The immortal words in the poem by Emma Lazarus, on the Statue of Liberty in New York City, have always expressed to many the hope that is in America. It is a hope that those with no freedom of speech in another country, no freedom of religion, no freedom of worship, who might once been imprisoned in their own country for their faith or political views, might find a new freedom in America. That is great, and may it ever be so!

With all the current debate about immigration and letting illegal aliens become citizens and granting amnesty to them, may be all remember that this country always was a country of immigrants. May it always be so, but may we also remember there is a difference between immigration between our founding and now-between those who came to America and still do come for freedom – and those who come illegally, who receive government benefits, but do not pay taxes, who could even be terrorists. That is especially true in a post September 11 world.

Remember that our country’s founding fathers were immigrants from England, who came for freedom of speech, political freedom, and freedom of worship. As a result, 102 English colonists came in 1620 on the Mayflower. Swedish immigrants followed in 1638. Those immigrants were actually not religious dissenters, as were the English immigrants, but were sent by the Swedish government to establish a colony in Delaware. By 1655 the colony was lost to other immigrants, the Dutch. Other Swedish immigration followed after migrant farm workers landed in 1840, and that immigration continued until World War I.

In our country’s history, most Colonial immigrants came from Northern Europe. People came from Germany, Ireland, which experienced major crop failures; the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, the Scandinavian countries, and Eastern Europe.

According to a website, http://www.rapidimmigration.com, America’s immigration policy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or color. America truly is a melting pot, and may it always be.

Today, immigrants come from all parts of the world. In 1978 the United States government set an immigration goal of 290,000. The goal was raised to 700,000 in 1990, but the actual total was one million people in the latest recorded year.
May we always welcome those from other countries! In our past we have welcomed those who had been under one of many communist dictatorships-like the old Soviet Union, or Cuba-but yearned for freedom. We have welcomed those from many countries, including those in the Middle East, who came temporarily, for an education.

While I do believe something should be done to stem the massive tide of illegal immigration, something has happened in Ohio, the state I live in, that shows that anything that is done needs to be done with common sense. Last year, Manuel Bartsch, originally from Germany, who lives in the tiny village of Gilboa, which is southwest of Toledo, was jailed after trying to find his Social Security number to be able to take a college entrance exam. Immigration agents locked him up for two weeks because his step-grandfather, U.S. citizen Toby Deal, who had custody of Manuel after the death of Manuel’s grandmother, had never completed the necessary paperwork for Manuel to stay in America or adopt him. Manuel thought the paperwork had been processed, so the incident was not his fault.

A judge later ordered Manuel to be freed. United States Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio and Senator John Cornyn of Texas have introduced an amendment to Senate immigration legislation that would let illegal immigrants’ children stay in the United States and go to state universities if they have been in the country five years and have completed high school in the country. Earlier this year Manuel did get to graduate with his classmates from Pandora-Gilboa High School, but whether Senator DeWine, and others, will have their way that he can stay permanently remains to be seen.

Just looking at this incident and the totally innocent teenager and our country’s history and then comparing it to our current massive tide of illegal immigration, it is easy for me to see that common sense truly is often lacking in America.

Today, however, government officials try to kick an innocent out of our country but let immigrants flock in illegally in droves to receive government benefits, public education, and all the benefits of our country. Yet they often pay no taxes.

Remember September 11, 2001? How many people who sneak into America at night might be terrorists? We need to know who enters our country. May every legal immigrant have a chance to come to America, even to become a citizen, but not those who enter illegally! How secure is our country as a result? I do not agree with suddenly letting them become American citizens after being her so many years, even if they were here illegally. Although I am usually a supporter of President Bush, who proposed the plan, I disagree with him on this. .

Yes, our borders need to be secured and patrolled, in the south by Mexico and in the North by Canada. We should always welcome those from other countries, but we have a right to secure our own borders.

According to the website www.numbersusa.com, the 2,000 census showed a total of between 8 to 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The total number of people who come illegally has also grown from between 700,000 per year to 800,000 per year to one million per year.

According to a study by the Center for Immigration Studies, showed that in 2,002 households headed by illegal aliens cost the federal government $26.3 billion in benefits, but the illegal immigrants only paid $16 billion in taxes, which created a deficit of $10 billion for American taxpayers.

The benefits included $2.5 billion for Medicare, treatment for the uninsured of $2.2 billion, food stamps and other food assistance, WIC, and free school lunches of $1.9 billion, the federal and local court systems of $1.6 billion, and federal aid to schools of $1.4 billion.

I believe we should do everything can to stop those payments. We should not grant amnesty to those who come here illegally. We also should impose stiff fines on companies that hire illegal immigrants and maybe prison time for executives of those companies. We also should secure our borders. Some experts have estimated that if we put troops on our border (the National Guard helping those already on the border is not enough) we could maybe not stop illegal immigration but could drastically limit it. Hundreds of thousands could still legally immigrate, which would allow America to continue as the most generous country as far as allowing immigration in the world.

In closing, I hope America will always shine as a light of freedom and economic opportunity to the world, will always provide a sanctuary to the oppressed, and will stay the land of the “free and home of the brave.” I disagree with the protesters, however, who took off from work, school, and other daily activities to show what a day without immigrants would be like.

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