America's love-hate relationship with immigrants: one college president questions the renewed animosity toward this group.WITH A DIVISIVE ISSUE like immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. , the cartoon aracter Pogo perhaps summarized it best: "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Today, even some anthropologists suggest Native Americans immigrated here and displaced the then-current indigenous people. The point is simple: All Americans came from somewhere else--whether voluntarily or involuntarily. At one time, we were all immigrants.
Why then is there a renewed animosity toward immigrants? There's the legal issue, of course: Those who enter the country illegally avoid some taxes while reaping some social service safety net benefits, like education. But these individuals have fewer protections than those who legally enter the workforce. Even legal immigrants cost the country more than they initially contribute to it.
A case can certainly be made against illegal immigration "Illegal alien" and "Illegal aliens" redirect here. For other uses, see Illegal aliens (disambiguation).
Illegal immigration refers to immigration across national borders in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country. . But why is it suddenly an issue today? Former President Ronald Reagan opened amnesty to all illegal immigrants illegal immigrant n. an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa. (See: alien) as late as 1986. The vast majority of Americans did not object.
THE PER-CAPITA INCOME CONNECTION
Historic trends may help to explain the current animosity. It appears that when Americans believe their per-capita income is growing, there are relatively few negative feelings toward recent immigrants. Conversely, when income is not growing, Americans shun Shun
In Chinese mythology, one of the three legendary emperors, along with Yao and Da Yu, of the golden age of antiquity (c. 23rd century BC), singled out by Confucius as models of integrity and virtue. immigrants.
* The 1840s recessions resulted in strict immigration restrictions. Post-Civil War, when the national economy was booming, restrictions were lifted and immigration was encouraged.
* During the 1890s and early 1900s panics, strict immigration limitations were enacted. They were liberalized during the 1920s economic boom.
* The Great Depression produced strict limitations on immigration again. But post-World-War-II's economic boom witnessed a much more open policy.
* The economically lethargic 1970s saw another wave of restrictive policies. By the mid-1980s, the situation again reversed itself. In 2000, Pat Buchanan This article may be too long.
Please discuss this issue on the talk page and help summarize or split the content into subarticles of an article series. was the only anti-immigrant candidate. He lost so badly, he changed parties.
These circumstances may be an over-simplification of historical periods. But the love-hate relationship love-hate relationship Ambivalence Psychiatry A clinical complex characterized by Freudian impulses; love-hate is normal for children passing through the 'anal-sadistic' phase of development, in which there is often simultaneous love and 'murderous' hatred toward with immigrants stems more from feelings of economic well-being than it does from fear of crime or public support for those who pay fewer taxes than citizens do. Americans close the door to immigration when they feel their own economic status is in peril--and welcome immigrants when full employment means entry-level workers are needed.
Americans are hardly alone in these on-again, off-again on-a·gain, off-a·gain
Existing or continuing sporadically; intermittent or occasional: an on-again, off-again correspondence. immigration attitudes. West Germany West Germany: see Germany. encouraged thousands of Turkish immigrants during the boom years of the 1980s. It reversed those policies after reunification re·u·ni·fy
tr.v. re·u·ni·fied, re·u·ni·fy·ing, re·u·ni·fies
To cause (a group, party, state, or sect) to become unified again after being divided. forced limited resources to be shared with East Germans, which resulted in higher taxes and, hence, less personal income for West Germans.
IN ALL FAIRNESS
In The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth (Random House, 2005), Harvard professor Ben Friedman explores in depth the changing public opinion for and against immigration. He points out that a country's economic well-being (an increase in personal income) creates a more tolerant and fair society. By "fair," he means having both the resources and the inclination to help those in need. Economic growth stimulates acceptance and tolerance.
Looking back upon the broad swath of immigration in this country, it's relatively easy to see the inevitable relationship between economic well-being and tolerance of new arrivals. This broad-based understanding may not help us address the immediate and sensitive issues of illegal immigrants today. But the realization will remind all of us that this country of immigrants cannot survive without the work ethic work ethic
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.
a belief in the moral value of work , values, and often entrepreneurial spirit that our newest Americans have traditionally brought with them.
Michael A. MacDowell is president of College Misericordia in Dallas, Pa.