America is the home of the immigrant

by Beacon Staff • March 29, 2006

For more than a hundred years, America has been torn over how to view the incoming flow of humans who wish to live in the "Land of the Free."

Whether debating Chinese and Japanese immigration in the late 1800s, eastern European immigration in the 1920s or Jewish immigration during WWII, the debate over who should be let in has been contentious, to say the least.,Immigration is an issue that won't go away.

For more than a hundred years, America has been torn over how to view the incoming flow of humans who wish to live in the "Land of the Free."

Whether debating Chinese and Japanese immigration in the late 1800s, eastern European immigration in the 1920s or Jewish immigration during WWII, the debate over who should be let in has been contentious, to say the least.

The latest page in this chapter comes in the form of a proposed bill that would make several changes to U.S. immigration policy.

Following a committee recommendation, a new bill that is making its way toward the Senate floor calls for new regulations that have angered many Mexican and Hispanic-Americans.

One of the most controversial aspects of the legislation calls for the construction of 700 miles of security fence along the U.S.-Mexican border. It would also make illegal immigration a felony. These stipulations led to nationwide protests from Latinos, including one in Los Angeles that saw more than 35,000 high school students skip class and march in the streets.

One hotbed of protest was right here in Boston. With a population that's roughly 14 percent Latino, according to the lastest U.S. census, the reaction was not at all unexpected.

The United States is a country that prides itself on ideals of tolerance for those who come here seeking a better future.

This proposed bill is a disheartening statement by our leaders, one that says the American dream is not open to everyone and can be disregarded in an election year.

The legislation also does not factor in economic concerns, namely the fact that illegal workers fill jobs that most American citizens will not do.

Thus, despite all the heated rhetoric over this issue, the fact remains that illegal immigrants are ultimately beneficial to the nation's economy.

There are legitimate concerns regarding our border policy and a real debate is welcome.

However, we cannot allow our leaders to forget the values this country was founded on to score short-term political points.