Immigration is the movement of people from one nation-state to a foreign country. While human migration has existed throughout human history, immigration implies long-term permanent residence (and often eventual citizenship) by the immigrants.
- We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.
- It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as native Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it.
- Eric Hoffer, "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: 'Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely'", The New York Times Magazine (25 April 1971), p. 25.
- Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, remarks before the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D.C. (21 April 1938), The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1938 (1941), p. 259. FDR is often quoted as having addressed the DAR as "my fellow immigrants." The above words are believed to be the source.
- We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions, bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities. Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another, seeks to destroy all religion.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, campaign address, Brooklyn, New York (1 November 1940); The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940 (1941), p. 53.
- Every man has a right to one country. He has a right to love and serve that country and to feel that it is absolutely his country and that he has in it every right possessed by anyone else. It is our duty to require the man of German blood who is an American citizen to give up all allegiance to Germany wholeheartedly and without on his part any mental reservation whatever. If he does this it becomes no less our duty to give him the full rights of an American, including our loyal respect and friendship without on our part any mental reservation whatever. The duties are reciprocal, and from the standpoint of American patriotism one is as important as the other.
- Theodore Roosevelt, "Every Man Has a Right to One Country," The Kansas City (Missouri) Star (15 July 1918), p. 2.
- Another hot public and political issue, not just in the United States but elsewhere, as in France, is immigration. Apart from a simple xenophobic dislike of foreigners, hostility of immigrants is often based on economic ideas that immigrants, like 'cheap' foreign labor, drive down wages and take jobs away from natives. Again, however, workers qua workers are producers and labor costs are production costs. Driving down labor costs drives down production costs, which will benefit consumers, either by the reduction of prices in a competitive market or by an increase in profits which will attract competition that will also drive down prices.
- The greatest benefit of immigration is to increase the size of the domestic free trade zone without all the uncertainties, disputes, recrimination, and misunderstandings that attend the issue of foreign free trade. This made a world superpower of a immigrant nation like the United States, as different policies on immigration and development keep immigrant nations of similar size, Canada and Australia, well back in the pack, great-power-wise. Australia almost 'protected' itself into conquest by Japan.
- The debate over immigration in the nineties, however, still continues in a kind of vacuum of history and economics, although one may suspect that a kind of Know Nothing-ism in these areas has the same roots as the original Know Nothing Party–in xenophobia. Representative of this tangle, as it also involves issues of free trade and "cheap" foreign labor, it the relationship of the United States to Mexico.
- All of this is so familiar from American history that there is almost no excuse for anyone not being aware of it. The peaks of American prosperity tend to correspond to peaks in immigration, while the troughs in prosperity also correspond to troughs in immigration. Thus, the greatest surge in immigration ever, between the turn of the century and World War I, which must have burdened job formation to an unparalleled extent, was also an era of unparalleled prosperity and low unemployment. On the other hand, the Great Depression occurred in an era of low immigration, and a program of suppressing immigration further and expelling aliens, especially Mexicans, nevertheless had little effect on domestic unemployment. Exceptions to this pattern are the low immigration but prosperous decades of the Twenties and the Fifties, and the high immigration but economically sluggish Seventies. Higher immigration had started during the prosperous sixties, and so someone might argue that the stagnation of the Seventies could have been due at least in part to immigration; but then prosperity returned in the Eighties without any significant or effective steps being taken against immigration.
- Immigrants were in the United States because of greater opportunity and the chance of greater wealth. If there really wasn't greater opportunity, because of racism, people would not be coming in the first place; and if there was greater opportunity, then it must be because of some better political arrangements or social traditions than existed back in Mexico, or wherever. But a program to overturn American traditions, perpetuate ghettos of Mexican culture, or to actually return the Southwest to Mexico, reversing the decision, through reconquista, of the Mexican War, would contradict the point of moving to the United States in the first place. The only possible way to make sense of that would be some kind of Cargo Cult economics that could view the Southwest as somehow naturally rich, with wealth just there for the taking, whether by evil Yanquis or by the more deserving Chicanos. Otherwise, why flee from Mexico just to reestablish Mexico, culturally or politically, when you arrive?
- Most Latin American immigrants, indeed, quickly become Americanized in the peculiar manner that all other immigrants become Americanized. The dynamic of American society has always been profoundly different from whatever 'Old Country' anyone has come from, whether they retain an affection for that country, its language, or anything else. Thus, one discovers that the politically explosive program of bilingual education, which was sold as a more effective means of teaching English to immigrant children but was actually administered as part of a political program to preserve a linguistic ghetto and foster the above-mentioned program of resentment and victimization, has actually not been all that popular among immigrants themselves. Immigrant parents have often requested that their children be transferred to English language classes, only to be told that this could not be done, and that it would be better for their children not to do it. The reality of the situation was also revealed when children with Spanish surnames, even if they were native speakers of English and knew not a word of Spanish, were nevertheless put in bilingual classes for Limited English Proficiency students.
- Much American political xenophobia, then, is really not directed at the attitudes or desires of actual immigrants, but at the attitudes and agenda of a politicized class that wishes to speak for and make use of immigrants for their own domestic purposes. Unfortunately, one thing that this political class can sometimes count on is the radicalized leftist politics often to be found in Mexico and Central American countries.
- The United States, therefore, does not have an 'immigration problem'. It has a domestic political problem with advocates of a kind of radicalized Sixties politics that has really become anti-capitalist and anti-American. Since this anti-Americanism has become a consistent, if not always dominant, theme in the Democratic Party since 1972 and has infected American politics, law, and policy to the large extent that the American people have bought into and tolerated it, the debate over immigration is not really over its real history or its economic meaning, or even its cultural meaning, when American culture simply folds in any new input into an always growing and amazing kaleidoscope, but over the identity of America itself as a place of political and economic freedom, rather than a place of paternalism and socialism, through which the political class gets to control everyone else's lives and property.
- The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.
- George Washington, letter to the members of the Volunteer Association and other Inhabitants of the Kingdom of Ireland who have lately arrived in the City of New York (December 2, 1783), John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (1938), vol. 27, p. 254.