Compiled by Adria Wentzel
Why should anyone have to live in a decrepit little town? What child deserves that? Who deserves a life surrounded by discrimination or threatened by crime? Why should a child have to live in a place where people move in and out everyday? In fact, Esperanza's first friend on Mango Street move out a week after Esperanza got to Mango Street. She said that her family was moving because the town was getting bad.
Many people blame the immigrants for making the town's value decrease, and maybe, they are right. When immigrants first get here they very often don't make enough money to get by. They depend on welfare and often turn to a life of crime. Many of the people who live on Mango Street are afraid. They are afraid of what may happen to them and to their children. The difference is that some people have the money to change where they life; others just have to learn to deal with it. Usually it is the immigrants that don't have enough money to move away. They have to learn to survive in a town suffering from urban decay.
On this web page, we are going to explore how immigration and urban decay tie in to each other. In order to do this, we are going to look at letters written by my classmates discussing immigration. So please feel free to continue.
To whom it may concern:
After reading your recently published article, "Coming to America," I was "inspired" to write this letter and share my opinions with you. You proposed the question of whether or not we, America, should "roll up the red carpet to immigrants". I find that I am torn on the issue. I believe that compared to most countries America is "the land of freedom and opportunity". But to me, as an American, I dont find this to be true anymore. On the other hand, I think that this country is over-crowded. There are many citizens, and non-citizens, that are competing for jobs, and yet many are unemployed: college-bound students compete for a single seat in school and for a place to live, etc. The overcrowding of this country is increasing competition and resentment between the natural-born citizens and immigrants.
In this "land of opportunity," many opportunities are withheld or lost because of this country being overcrowded. There are millions of immigrants coming in each year and the numbers are increasing all the time. If we prevent the foreigners from continuing to come to this country, however we may do that, the problem will not be solved, but it may stop becoming as severe and the crowding may stay at a minimum.
Another point that can be made by many is that the degree of resentment towards the immigrants by Americans is rapidly increasing. Many immigrants come here with nothing and within months own businesses, send for their families, and begin to gain capitalistic control here. And yet, most Americans go their whole lives, struggling and striving, without ever having had the stability in their financial lives that so many dream of and deserve.
I mean, dont get me wrong. Im not anti-foreigners or against giving everyone the opportunities that every human being should have, regardless of nationality or color, race or sex. But maybe America should begin to work on our own problems. Maybe we should offer suggestions and try to help other nations, emotionally, so that their citizens would not feel that they have to flee to another country. Or maybe we should set regulations and restrictions on the immigrants and their stay here. I realize it would be difficult and we would have to hire many workers to keep up with the families, but I believe that in the end this would prove to be a better solution for everyone. We could consider setting the regulation that someone who doesnt have a steady job and an income other than welfare must be deported after a certain period of time. This would work out well because that family probably would have not been able to make it here anyway if things werent working out by that time.
So my point in all of this is that Im happy that our country is considered to be a safe haven for many inhabitants of other countries and nations, even though it is often very unsafe for its own citizens. But we have to draw the line somewhere and decide when enough people are enough. It is clear that this country, like many others, is over-crowded and has its own problems. There is no doubt that this country sustains many reasons for allowing the door to be left open to other "worlds." In the same breath, there are equal or more reasons why the doors should be promptly shut. It is only a matter of time before shutting the door or not is no longer an option for our country. Through all this, we need to remember that this acculturation for immigrants is just as difficult for them as it is for Americans. You can be sure, though; that wherever you go opinions will vary.
Having recently read your article on immigration, I have decided to voice my opinion on the growing population. I think that allowing immigrants into America is a good idea, when done in moderation. However, 1.1 million people a year coming into this country is far too much. We are, after all, only one country and therefore only have so much room. That is not to mention, the nation is already having a hard enough time finding jobs for everyone and many are already on unemployment. Jobs are in short supply in the United States, and an escalating number of immigrants will just add to the problem. And finally, we must consider the possible dangers. Dangers such as disease or terrorism, which can acquire when many people are allowed to enter our country. Terrorism is already a problem, and by allowing more people into the country it will be easier for a terrorists to import bombs and other weapons. However, I do believe that during times of war and other disasters or threats such as this the United States should allow immigrants in, but only until the current situation is over.
The first thing I think of when I hear 1.1 million immigrants is "Where are all of these people going to live?" When many immigrants come into America, the cities become crowded and overpopulated. The cities, after all, are some of the only places where immigrants can live and find work. And, when about 1 million people continue to move in each year, the already densely populated area becomes even more jammed with people.
With the growing population, the need for jobs rises. I think that, since we cant even find enough jobs for the people already living here, we must only allowed skilled immigrants into the country. Allowing non-educated, and poorly skilled people into the country means that most of the immigrants probably not be able to find work and therefore will go on welfare, creating a strain on our economy.
Finally, the issue of our national security becomes a problem. With 1.1 million immigrants coming into the country, it will be hard to monitor every one. When this happens, it may become easier for terrorism and other political hazards to occur. If we strictly limit the number of people allowed into our country, it will be easier to watch each and every one.
This is the way I feel about the ever-growing population of our country. Though many people may pose a problem, I do not believe that we should exclude all people from becoming citizens. But the fact remains those 1.1 million people a year is a lot, and that numbers this high can pose a problem to our economy and security.
Imagine yourself starving, tired, and in poverty. You aspire for freedom. You are an immigrant trying to escape to a better place. Meanwhile, Americans arent as warm as they used to be to the immigrants. I dont see why they arent. I think that Americans should continue to "roll out the welcome mat" for them. They can get an education, a job, and start a new and better life here. They can also be safe in America. In a way, they can teach us new things.
If immigrants continue coming to America, they can actually make something of themselves. They can get an education, which could eventually lead to a job. Most will start families. However, if they are not given the chance, how can they? Immigrants are like the foundation of a house. They are kind of just there, but with the help of education, they will grow physically and mentally. Like a house, they start out as basically nothing, but then grow into something beautiful.
Another reason why Americans should allow immigrants to come into America is because they arent safe. They face hunger, poverty, and sometimes death. However, America looks at them as burdening. Why dont Americans see that their safety is at risk? Immigrants are human beings and they have a right to have the security that everybody else has.
Regardless of where we were born, we can all play a part in enhancing the diversity in a traditional setting. For example, Thanksgiving is typically an American celebration, however, it is celebrated in different ways. One group has the traditional turkey, however, they baste it with tropical sour oranges and spices. They dont have stuffing or cranberry sauce, instead they have white rice and black beans. They end with pumpkin pie and flan. Doesnt it sound fun to expand this celebration that has been basically the same for so many years?
American should continue to welcome immigrants instead of closing the door of opportunity on them. They are human beings and they deserve to get an education, a job, a better life, and to be safe. I cannot think of a good enough reason as to why we shouldnt welcome them. Can you?
I read your story "coming to America". I feel that we should continue to "roll out the welcome mat" for immigrants. It is good that we are here to give people the opportunity to better their lives and I feel other countries should do the same. Immigrants can be a great resource to our county and can strengthen America in many ways.
I am proud that our country is a land where other people can be helped and prosper. We do not really even have to do anything, just have welcoming arms and hearts. Everyone should have the freedom and choices that we as Americans have. If others can not find the freedom and opportunities in their country, then let them come here and pursue their dreams. Our country is one of the most prosperous and blessed of all nations, so why not share our good fortune with others.
I know that if I was experiencing hardships in America, and I wanted to aspire to a new life somewhere else, I would want another country to be as welcoming as we have been. If we shut our doors on people, they will not want to help us out the next time we are in need. It is like the commandment, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If we do not want other countries turning their backs on us, then we should not do it to them.
Although some say immigrants are burdening our social service system, which might be true, they can also help us out. Who knows? One immigrant might be the next Bill Gates or another the next Albert Einstein. They unquestionably can help our country. They can bring new ideas and experiences with them. So, instead of thinking they are just making our country more populated, think on the brighter side. They are giving back so much more than they are taking. They are helping us become a stronger and more prosperous country.
There are many reasons why we should keep the welcome mat rolled out for immigrants. Although there are some drawbacks, opening our countrys doors to the immigrant over all helps and strengthens our nation. If we are to help people in their present need, they, in return, will be there if we need the help. Instead of turning people away from our borders, we should welcome them knowing they can greater benefit and strengthen our country.
Bobbi Sue McArthur
Ive read your article about immigration and I would like to respond to it. Its hard for me to decide whether or not immigrants should be allowed in the United States. There are lots of problems that may occur if America keeps "rolling out the welcome mat" for immigrants. Two problems may be over-population or even language barriers. But then again, my mother was an immigrant and if America closed the door on immigrants, she would have not been able to come to the United States. If I had to choose right now, I would say yes, I think they should be allowed to come to the United States. I believe that people all need a chance in life to pursue their dreams and a chance to live a better life. Also letting immigrants in could benefit us in many different ways. Ways such as giving us new ideas, music, and arts to our culture. Immigrants also would take the jobs other American citizens wont and probably do them better.
Immigrants come to America looking for a better life. Most come to fulfill their dreams and would do almost anything to succeed. Theyll do any job, no matter what it is. Theyll work for anybody, no matter who they are. Theyre willing to accept less than minimum wage in order to get started in a productive life, although some have very valuable skills. The problem is that their low wages make it difficult to catch up in the American economy. But a lot manage to get farther and are able to live independently. If we close the doors to immigrants, we will incur a bad reputation, but if we dont, we may get over-populated and expenses will, more than likely, increase. I think we should do some kind of test allowing immigrants to settle in the here in a gradual manner.
Immigrants can also benefit us by giving America new ideas, music, and adding arts to our culture. Schools can teach children about immigrants and where they came from, and why theyre here. Children can learn more about other cultures and compare them to their own. They can even learn to appreciate music and arts from the different countries.
The jobs most Americans wont do, many immigrants would gladly take, even if the job pays less than minimum wage. I think immigrants learn faster than most Americans, because theyre willing to do anything to move up in life. They dont want to be looked upon as uneducated immigrants, but as somebody who worked hard and deserved to be here.
Some immigrants come to the United States and dont make an effort to make their life better. So taxpayers spend more on welfare for those immigrants. But not all immigrants are like that. I think immigrants are fascinating in a way. They give up so much, leave their country empty handed, and move to the here. They are searching for a better life. Some manage to better their lives because of better financial opportunities in America. This is the example we should focus on as we test a possible solution.
I am writing this letter in recognition of your article, "Coming to America." I too believe that America should keep the door leading into our country wide open for immigrants. These are people just like us. All they want is a home, a place to fit in. Every American today was an immigrant, even if it was some time ago. Foreigners deserve to be treated just like everyone else, in this country that we call "the land of the free."
Believe it or not, you were once a "new" American. Our country is made up of a variety of cultures, and every one had to start somewhere. Citizens can easily trace their family roots to someone who was an immigrant. Why, then, do we treat newcomers differently? They are what we once were; frightened outsiders struggling to make it in this tremendous, New World. We must take these people under our wing and nurture them until they are strong, proud citizens like us.
Another reason I am in favor of embracing immigrants is the inscription, noted in the article, which is printed on the Statue of Liberty. We are called on to welcome the world's "tired, poor, huddled masses, yearning to be free." We simply cannot refuse these people. It is our duty as Americans to take foreigners in and treat them with respect and compassion. They deserve to have the same rights as the rest of the country's population. That is why so many people come to America. Freedom. Now let's give them what they came for!
The "land of the free" and the "home of the brave" was meant to be a patchwork of cultures, and an opportunity for aspiring foreigners. The fact that our country was created on behalf of independence invites the entire world to share the wealth. Our country should be able to run smoothly with a variety of lifestyles and heritages. Discrimination should not exist in this place where "all men are created equal." I hope that one day the many nationalities of America are able to live in harmony with one another, as it was intended to be.
In conclusion, I do not believe that immigration is burdening our country. In fact, the expansion of cultures improves our understanding of people all over the globe. Again, I would like to thank you, Editor, for recognizing newcomers proudly. Keep up the good work!
You are one of who have come to our home. Thanks for stopping by!
Last updated: Sunday, March 18, 2001
©1998 - Hill, Lara and her English 1 Honors Class