Immigrants Are Our Future

It is an undeniable fact of history that all Americans other than Native Americans are descendants of immigrants.

It also is undeniably true that immigrants have not always been welcome with open arms, starting most conspicuously with the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s-50s, which rose to some degree of political prominence solely based on its opposition to immigration, specifically Catholics and Irish.

On the other hand, Americans have at times been more than willing to accept immigrants. Here is a news item from one of our newspapers, the Winthrop Sun-Transcript, that appeared in January of 1949:

“Four Latvian refugees, including Capt. Rosenberg and his wife, who were among the 29 refugees who landed in Boston aboard a 65-foot ketch in July, will open the Home Pastry Shop in the Centre, formerly Eliot and Taylor’s Bread and Pie Shop. The group has received the financial backing of kindhearted people in the area.”

What also is true is that immigrants have contributed mightily to making America arguably the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, from the days of our founding to the present time.

From Alexander Hamilton, who was a native of the island of Nevis in the Caribbean; to Enrico Fermi (Italian-born), Edwin Teller (Hungarian-born), and Robert Oppenheimer (a son of immigrants), who developed the atomic bomb; to Steve Jobs (whose father was an immigrant from Syria); to the founders of Google (whose parents are Russian), it has been immigrants who have contributed greatly to both the reality and promise of American exceptionalism.

It also is undeniably true that declining birth rates in America today will mean that there will be fewer young people to pay for, and take care of, our rapidly-aging population.

To those who seek to impose strict quotas on immigration, perhaps they should think of immigration this way: If you are building a successful sports team, you need to have the best and hardest-working players — and in the case of global competition, that means we need to be open to receiving people from around the world. Immigrants always have led the way in taking America to the next level. 

In our view, our nation will thrive in the 21st century only if we remain committed to attracting the world’s most industrious minds.

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