Why do new immigrants continue to flock to our borders? For the same reason your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents made their journey to the new land. They seek a better life for themselves and their children. America's strength and independence is the spirit of its people—the spirit of its immigrants and their children.
Immigrants, perhaps more than American-born working class citizens, still understand and embrace the American dream. If you talk to a working-class senior citizen, he or she might say: “I’m sure glad I’m not a young person out there looking for a job, today. I feel sorry for my kids and grandkids.” At the same time, talk to an immigrant, at or below the poverty line. They’re just happy to be here, happy to get a temporary visa and a low-paying job. Why?
The answer is simple. The America born seniors long for the “good old days.” They’ve had it great here in America and are pessimistic about future generations. In contrast, immigrants are running from countries where terror, violence, tyranny, and strife were their way of life. Peace, liberty, freedom to worship, family, and community are valued, not taken for granted. Class or status takes a back seat. A small raise at work or, even better, a promotion, would never happen in the countries they immigrated from.
Despite living on very little income, they are happy to be in the land of the free and optimistic about the future. They don’t covet a college education, just a job, a stable environment, and a place to raise a family, perhaps, buy a home. Their perspective is completely different. Any dreams of financial or career success are secondary to stability, family, freedom, and community. There is no “keep up with the Jones’” mentality.
The bottom line? We are all in this together. Unless we are Native Americans, currently less than 2% of our population, we are all immigrants or children of immigrants. Can we become a more welcoming community? Consider the voyages of our ancestors, their arrival at Ellis Island, and how we hope they were treated.
We come from different lands and different cultures or religious backgrounds. We have different colored skin,different beliefs, different political views. Our cultural differences make our country a richer, stronger nation. We are a nation of immigrants, and despite hostility, stereotypes, and prejudices, immigrants are part our heritage as a nation, the rich diverse fabric that makes us America.
Mark M. Bello, a trial lawyer, is the author of “Betrayal at the Border" and other ‘ripped from the headlines’ Zachary Blake Social Justice Legal Thrillers available on Amazon.com and other online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.markmbello.com. Mark also is co-host of the new podcast, Justice Counts, now streaming.