The Conversation on Immigration


We need to have a conversation about immigration. Now both my maternal and paternal side of the family were immigrants. They were proud of being here and becoming citizens and learning English. Both sides of this controversy are adamant about how they feel. I think it is important to discuss this concept. The question about legal and illegal immigration is a hot button for many Americans and for people from other countries.

America is not the only country dealing with this question. These conflicts have happened not only here but in the European Union. In the spring of 2011, Tunisians fled the revolution in their country and landed in Ventimiglia in southern Italy. Italians resented the refugees sleeping in train stations and the streets, and Italy and France argued about which country should absorb these people. In Denmark violence has occurred between Danes and Palestinian and Somali youth. They were fighting about conflicting views of integration. At the present moment in history, economic and social/cultural problems with immigration have outstripped the government polices and citizens’ abilities to handle them.

Population growth and the changes in the racial and ethnic composition of countries are reflected in the population statistics for the United States and the European Union. According to the 2010 census, in the United States with its population of 313,074,000, approximately 38 million , or 12 per cent of the population, are foreign-born; another 11 percent are native-born as of 2009. Out of every five people, one is either a first-or second-generation U.S. citizen. In 2010, 34 percent of this group of legal immigrations came from China, India, Philippines, Ethiopia, Mexico and El Salvador. In the European Union with a population of 502.52 million, the total number of non-nationals (or illegalswas 32.5 million persons representing 6.5 of the EU population.

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In the United States, the effort to control this volume of immigration through legislation and physical restraint has a problematic history. The McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 repealed the 1924 Immigration Act and ended the ban on Asian immigrants, but it established a quota system by which immigrants were limited by national origin, race, and ancestry. Then in 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments ended a first-come, first-served system, and gave preference to uniting families and establishing numerical restrictions according to  the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act attempted to fix the problem of the large number of illegal immigrants by granting permanent resident status to those who had lived and worked in the United States since 1982; but it failed to establish a workable system for managing further illegal immigration. The number of immigrants now living in the United States is somewhere around 11.2 million and approximately 80 percent are Latin American.

So this is a global problem and it is a significant one here in America. We constantly come up against the problems created by having huge numbers of illegals. I feel that we can’t deny their children an education or medical care, but these are very expensive and we have native born children who aren’t getting a good education or the medical care that they need. There is controversy over the Food Stamps and Medicare they often need. There are only so many funds available. So as concerned Americans, we have to think about not just the fact that people are here illegally, but our moral and ethical duty to fellow human beings and children of God. This is where the discussion hits triggers in people. So let’s start talking about this issue and I invite input from all over the world.

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Let’s talk about where we all stand and what is as fair to everyone as is possible. There has to be an intelligent answer that will serve the needs of all of the people who want or need to start over in another country for financial or political reasons.

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