THE SANTA CLARA
October 8, 2015
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” This is the inscription on perhaps one of America’s most famous landmarks, the Statue of Liberty. That one inscription contains the basic promise that draws immigrants from around the world to America. From Zimbabwe to Vietnam, Ukraine to Mexico, people are drawn to America by the promise of living in a nation where they can “breathe free,” where no matter their roots, they can strive towards the promise of a better life for themselves and their children. That is the promise of America, and whether or not it holds 100 percent true, the idealology is a fundamental part of who we are as a country.
So then, knowing how important immigration is to the essence of our country, why do a vast number of Republicans oppose it? As a Republican myself, this opposition confuses me. When I look at immigrants, I see something that the Republican Party worships: risk-taking. We Republicans adore people who take risks, entrepreneurs who cash out their savings account to start a new business, soldiers who risk their lives to defend their country, or perhaps more recently, politicians who risk their political career to “tell it like it is.” What many Republicans fail to see is that immigrants who come to this country are risking a great deal for the promise of a better life. They leave behind most, or all, of what they know and love just for the chance of a better life in America.
I also see patriotism in immigrants who come to America, something Republicans arguably emhasize more than Democrats. It’s a different kind of patriotism, sure. But the fact is that most Americans don’t get to choose whether or not they should live in America, they are born here. Immigrants have a different kind of patriotism in the sense that they made the conscious choice to live here. They said, “America is the best country in the world for me.” I believe that someone who’s made that decision is inherently patriotic in a way that should endear them to the Republican Party.
Immigrants also bring great economic growth to America. A great deal of low-skill immigrants work in jobs like hospitality, leisure and agriculture, jobs that not many native born Americans are willing to take on. As for high-skilled, college educated immigrants, why shouldn’t we allow them in? I could quote many statistics that say how these skilled workers benefit the economy, but even if they had no effect on our economy, welcoming them into our country would still be the morally right and American thing to do.
So for the modern Republican who is seeking a presidential candidate that will embrace rather than oppose immigration, there are two options. One is Marco Rubio, the Cuban American candidate who was part of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” and who sought to modernize America’s immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for our country’s nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants. The other is Jeb Bush, who said that he believes immigration is primarily an “act of love,” which it is. Jeb has been consistently pro-immigration throughout his whole campaign, sometimes to his political detriment. After this statement, Bush has been mercilessly mocked and disparaged.
Ultimately, immigration in America transcends political parties. It’s something that every American has a connection to. We all have a duty to make sure our country remains how our ancestors built our nation to be: one that welcomes anyone who comes in search of a better life.
Andrew Hudlow is a freshman undeclared business major.