Immigration, legal or otherwise, is a huge issue right now.
Debates rage about how many immigrants should be allowed into the
country and how zealously we should guard out border from illegal
intruders. To a point, these people are correct, illegal
immigration is something that should be stopped. People should
not cross the border illegally or overstay on visits. The
important question is, however, does illegal immigration deserve
the massive amount of attention it receives? No, it does not.
By looking at the respected immigrants of the past and thinking
about the issues in a clear and objective way, it becomes
apparent that illegal immigration (and legal immigration, for
that matter) is not as vital an issue as many consider it to be.
A key point in this discussion is that many of those who are
vehemently opposed to illegal immigration are also opposed to
large amounts of legal immigration as well. These thinly hidden
agendas mean that often the debate on illegal immigration cannot
be separated from the debate on legal immigration.
According to Negative Population Growth (which is a suspect
source), Americans are firmly believe in tough laws against
illegal immigrants and that 70% of Americans want no more than
300,000 legal immigrants to enter the U.S. per year. In fact,
N.P.G. says that 20% of Americans want immigration completely
stopped. Taking these numbers as the truth, it is clear that
America thinks that we have too many immigrants.
Such a dislike of immigration is interesting considering the
success of past immigration. Many people would say that today's
immigrants are somehow different than those of the past.
However, the truth is that the similarities between the
immigrants of today and those of the past are numerous. Their
reasons for coming to this country are often similar. Many of
the immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were
compelled to leave their homes by the rapidly changing nature of
their countries. In the Europe of the 19th century, this meant
quickly growing population and a rapidly industrializing economy.