The Tale of an Immigrants Grandson


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“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists” was once spoken by Franklin Roosevelt
Immigration is a passionate topic for debate across the United States. The influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico and surrounding countries has encouraged politicians to seek immigration reform. They have initiated extreme measures to protect the border. National Guard troops have been mobilized for patrols while vigilante’s have formed organizations such as the Minuteman patrol. Arizona voted to enact Senate Bill 1070
which would grant law enforcement the right to check the immigration status of anyone they deemed suspicious (Stanislowski 36). Immigrants are starting to fight back. They are organizing protests against these reforms. Scores of immigrants feel like their civil rights have been violated. Even the protests have sparked debate among citizens. Do illegal immigrants have the right to protest on American soil?
My grandparents immigrated from Ecuador close to 50 years ago. My grandfather saw opportunity in southern California. He brought my father and grandmother. He opened several businesses and immersed himself into the American culture. My life forever changed because of his immigration to the United States. He immigrated legally and he was adamant about that. He believed that with honesty and hard work you could achieve anything. My family was like the countless other families which helped establish this nation. The United States was founded by immigrants. The quote by Theodore Roosevelt that I began this essay reminds us of that. You would believe that since my grandparents were immigrants that I would agree with all the immigration reform but I do not. Star Parker in the essay “Se Habla Entitlement” writes that these protests hurt immigration reform (Nadell 522). I believe that her essay is extremely valid and thought-provoking. She wrote that there were enough people in the United States that feel they are “entitled” to the life they have here (Nadell 523). Many citizens are already spoiled by society. They take for granted the freedoms and resources they are given as citizens. These benefits should be earned and acquired through legal means. All people wanting to immigrate to the United States are given an opportunity to do so legally.

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If everyone who entered the United States through illegal means were offered citizenship, it would be detrimental to all the citizens living here legally. The economy of the United States is already in dire circumstances, it would take away or reduce benefits to many citizens.
There are many arguments that encourage immigration. Nathan Thornburg’s article in Time magazine “Undocumented and Undeterred” is about the push for legislation in the United States in regards to illegal immigration (32-36). Thornburg cites examples of where cities have imposed large fines to businesses for hiring undocumented/illegal workers(32-36). There have been numerous other attempts at legislation to make it harder for an individual to live in the United State illegally (Thornburg 32-36). Many hope that immigrants leave by choice instead of deportation. Many cities hope by enacting legislation that makes it harder to obtain work that illegal immigrants will decide to leave the United States. There is opposition that believes that by making work harder to obtain illegal workers who are also homeowners would loose their homes, and only worsen the economy (Thornburg 32-36). The most interesting point to his article is that when the U.S. economy was booming, everyone seemed to turn their head to illegal immigration and cheap labor practices(Thornburg 32-36). Thornburg points out there are an estimated 10 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and if all those immigrants left, the U.S. economy would suffer worse(32-36). While there is validity to some of Thornburg’s statements I can not agree with everything he stated. There are many citizens and legal immigrants looking for jobs in the United States. The vacancies left by illegal immigrants could be filled by American citizens or legal immigrants.
Roman Joch wrote about United States immigration in The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs (Joch 32). It was interesting to find the views of someone who was not a citizen or an immigrant to the United States. Joch points out that although it is an individuals right to migrate, it is the right of the U.S. citizens to decide whether they can immigrate there. Joch estimates there is between 14-20 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. in an estimated 300 million total population (33). The possibility of deporting that many illegal immigrants is ridiculous. He points out before you can address the immigration of further illegal immigrants, you must deal with the ones already in the country (Joch 33). He offered an amnesty plan which was realistic and practical. There are very few immigration reform solutions that focus on the multitude of illegal immigrants already in the country.
President Roosevelt was correct, practically everyone in the United States can trace their heritage back to an immigrant relative. They came to America to find a better life but those immigrants did not come as a disadvantage to the country. Those individuals did not seek to defraud a government or establish a life here illegally. Early settlers came through Ellis Island and established a life here through hard work and perseverance. Everyone should have an opportunity to experience the freedoms and benefits of living in a country such as the United States but not at the expense of it’s citizens. Immigration reform is necessary however it should be not left to illegal immigrants to incite such modification.


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