Argument for Increasing American Immigration

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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 inscription, which is found on the Statue of Liberty, greeted years of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island to America. It describes the idealized view of the United States as a nation of immigrants, where anyone can achieve the American dream. However, does this accurately describe our immigration policy today? Our current policy is better described by this version, written by Chris Willey (Willey et al.):

Give me your athletes, your scientists,

Your artists, writers, and actors,

Your politicians and businessmen.

Send these, the best and brightest, to me.

To these lies open the golden door:

You can keep the rest.

Under current U.S. immigration laws, it is not difficult for those immigrants labeled as desirable to receive admittance. The Immigration Act of 1990 created new categories of immigrants. "Within the employment category, first preference was given to aliens ‘with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, multinational executives'..." (Richmond 143). It may be true that these creative and skilled people have just as much of a right to pursue the American dream as anyone else. But do we, as Americans, have the moral right to exclude the needy from our country?

Refugees have two basic choices. They can return to their home country, or they can try to settle in another country. Most refugees, however, cannot return home because conditions in their native country have not changed sufficiently to eliminate the problems from whi...

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...ess, Boulder, CO, 1996.

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Hunter, Gordon, ed. Immigrant Voices. Signet Classic, New York, NY, 1999.

North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance. Environmental Facts.

Rachels, James. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. 3rd edition. McGraw-Hill, Boston, 1999.

Richmond, Anthony. Global Apartheid. Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1994.

Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK 1993.

Social Contract Press. The Social Contract Archives.

Willey, Chris; Saunier, David; and Mendez, Garry. Reinscribing the Statue of Liberty. Horizon Magazine, Jan 1998.

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