The History of humankind is a history of migrations. All through history people have moved from one area to another in search of better living conditions. Sometimes they have moved peacefully into vacant lands. Many times their migrations have been forceful, by moving into and conquering lands previously claimed by others. But how rightful were those claims?
The United States was built by immigrants. Except for those with full Native American heritage, everyone living here has ancestors came from. Others, due to geographic moves, intermarriage, or other reasons, cannot really tell where their ancestors originated.
Spanish speakers were established in the United States before English speakers. Some Latinos today are descendants of those first Spanish-speaking settlers; others immigrated later. Latinos continue to immigrate to the United States in significant numbers, in many ways and for many reasons.
Some Latinos come to study. They intend to return to their countries, but while in the United States they receive a job offer, get married, or simply decide to stay.
Some Latinos come for what they think will be a short visit to relatives or friends. Once in the United States, they like the idea of spending a longer time. They may eventually get a job or buy a house, and leaving becomes a distant thought.
Some Latinos have come because of political unrest in their home countries –war, dictatorships or insecurity. Since the United States often has influence in the events in their home countries, they find it appropriate to seek asylum here.
Just like previous immigrants to this country–British, Scottish, Irish, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Danish, as well as Jewish people of many nationalities–the majority of Latinos come in search of better living conditions.
The reasons for global poverty, both for individuals and for countries, are complex and must be addressed. But all people need to have enough to feed and cloth their children, to keep them safe and healthy, and to give the and education that will lead them to opportunity. The United States became a great nation through the work of immigrants from many parts of the world. Today there is still much work to be done. New immigrants want to do that work, just as the immigrants of the past have done.
Crossing the border without papers or with false papers is breaking the law. But not all laws are just, moral or ethical. The law that allowed people to be held as slaves was wrong. The laws that prohibited enslaved people of Africa descent to learn to read was wrong. The law that prohibited women to vote was wrong. The law that segregated blacks from whites in the southern states, so that African children could not go to the same schools as white children, was wrong.
The United States has one hundred senator, four hundred thirty-five representatives, and fifty state governments to enforce, debate, amend, and repeal our laws. When laws are insufficient or unjust, due to realities or new understandings, we look to our lawmakers and fellow citizens to change those laws for the better. Today we recognize as heroes people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Fred Korematsu, who challenged unjust laws of the past.
Immigration is one of the most important issues in the United State. Our country could not function without the work of immigrants. How many immigrants can the country admit? How can we ensure that those who come into the country will obey the laws and became productive citizens?.
Many people are debating these issues. In the meantime, thousands of immigrant families continue to live, work and study as they seek a better life.
Source : “Yes! We are Latinos” by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy