Immigration and Its Impact on America
America would not be America without immigrants. In addition to America having been founded by immigrants, the nation was literally ‘built’ by immigrants. In 1565, Spanish explorers established Augustine, Florida which is America’s oldest known colony. However, the largest early colony of immigrants were the English colonists who settled in Jamestown,Virgina and Plymouth, Massachusetts. These English colonists, known as the Puritans, came to America in the early 1600’s. Soon, people from various different countries were migrating to America. What would inspire families to pack up everything they had and emigrate? Why would they leave the only land they knew of as home and make a lengthy, and sometimes fatal, journey to an unfamiliar territory? What did the new land have to offer that was so much better than their original homeland? Even though it has been over four hundred years since the Spanish first settled in Augustine, immigrants from all over the world continue to migrate to America. Although there is no single reason for the vast number of immigrants that have flooded the shores of America, there is a common objective—opportunity. In the beginning, the English colonists sought freedom of religion—an opportunity to practice their religion separate from the Church of England. Other reasons include opportunities to escape poverty, disease, and social injustice. But what do immigrants do once they arrive in this new land of opportunity? Are the effects they have on America for the good or the bad? The overall impact of immigrants in America is astonishing.
America’s most famous early immigrants came across the Atlantic on the infamous ship called the Mayflower. The Mayflower held the early England travelers that, unbeknownst to them, would create the first written framework of American government policy known as the Mayflower Compact. “The Mayflower Compact, signed by 41 English colonists on the ship Mayflower on November 11, 1620, was the first written framework of government established in what is now the United States” (History Channel Website). Since the Mayflower carried pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike, there was some discrepancy on what rules would be followed once they reached the shore. The passengers on the Mayflower were no longer under the jurisdiction they had contracted with in England. As a way to compromise and live together in peace, the leaders of both groups came together and created a written document that all passengers had to agree to, and sign, before leaving the ship and stepping foot in their new world. It basically said that all signers agreed to the acceptance of whatever form of government that was established once they landed (History Channel Website). This was the first foundation of uniting diverse groups in such a way that they could live together, respect one another, and still maintain their own beliefs.
The United States almost welcomes immigrants that have a specific...