Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Gabby McDaris

Red, Blue and You: Government should look at immigration from historical standpoint

There are multiple reasons as to why Americans are pushing for stricter immigration laws, but the majority of them tend to focus on a fear that immigrants hurt the economy.

From 1892 until 1954, an infamous poem by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty was what greeted the millions of immigrants who entered America through Ellis Island.

It said, “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.”

Today, immigrating to America is a much more difficult process than it was in the early 20th century and has become one of the more controversial issues in politics.

There are multiple reasons as to why Americans are pushing for stricter immigration laws, but the majority of them tend to focus on a fear that immigrants hurt the economy.

According to an article from TheNew York Times, “labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent.”

While there are clear negative impacts regarding illegal immigrants entering the country, there are also some benefits. The same article stated “over the years, undocumented workers have contributed up to $300 billion, or nearly 10 percent, of the $2.7 trillion Social Security Trust Fund.”

Democrats and Republicans could argue for days about the economic impacts immigration has on the country without really getting anywhere in terms of a compromise. The problem is that both sides seem to look at immigration purely from an economic standpoint instead of focusing on the history behind immigration in America.

People began immigrating to America in the 1600s when the first pilgrims came from Europe in hopes of finding religious freedom. The 1800s involved the immigration of more Western and Northern Europeans — most of whom were Irish — looking to escape the potato famine. The early 20th century consisted of an influx of European Jews seeking protection from religious persecution, and the immigrants today mostly consist of people from Latin America or Asia looking for jobs.

Immigration has played a huge part in building America into the country it is today. People seem to forget that other than the 1.7 percent of the population that is Native American, every U.S. citizen is either an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants.

Immigration was what made America so appealing to the rest of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries — the idea that anybody, no matter their economic background or where they were born, had the opportunity to live in the free world.

Americans have become so afraid of immigration that they’ve turned it into the country’s scapegoat for economic issues. Immigrants built this country and there is no telling where the U.S. would be today if not for the millions of people who migrated to America in the past 300-plus years.

Immigrants today are no different than the colonists in the 17th century; they are a group of people looking to improve their well-being by migrating to a country that can offer them greater opportunities.

Americans must stop living in fear of immigration because in the end, we’re all immigrants.

Gabby McDaris is a freshman studying screenwriting. Email her at


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH