Dear recent immigrants,
I’m not your “enemy”. I’m not simply a xenophobic bigot that will spew vitriol about immigration to America while overlooking the fact MY OWN ancestors came over from poor 3rd world countries like many of yours. Having had lived lives of poverty and hoped for a better future here in America, the land of opportunity. I realize that living in this country is a privilege, and many like myself have not endured what you have in your own country to be compelled to leave or flee it, along with any good memories, your culture, your language and your heritage not to mention family and friends left behind! I don’t know what it’s like to have to live in a strange place where everyone is different no one knows you and you can’t even speak the language or know the culture. I certainly would rather live in the place I grew up and learned the language and culture of! No one wants to give up their country if they don’t have to, and I can’t imagine what it would take for me and many other Americans to abandon this country and live in a land foreign to our way of life.
I get it. You can’t just learn a new language and integrate into a brand new culture in the blink of an eye! I know from experience trying to learn Spanish and German, you won’t be able to learn it in a day! I don’t mind if you want to associate with your own communities, be around people like yourself, and remind yourself of a little bit of home. I don’t care if you talk to your fellow countrymen in your native tongue in public, or live in your own communities. There are better things to have a hissy fit about than the Spanish couple speaking Spanish in the cafe across the street for instance. I don’t care if you want to celebrate your native indigenous festival from “the old country”, or wear your own clothes, or have your own food, music, art etc… I understand everyone is on a different part of their journey to becoming an American. I’m not going to rant and rave you need to change everything you’ve ever been accustomed to “NOW!” in order to prove your loyalty to your new country, our country.
However, I do have some misgivings and hesitations to welcome everyone in with open arms, (and borders)! The goal in living in a new place is to integrate into the dominant culture as well. It’s not a black and white either or situation! You CAN keep your traditional heritage while also integrating into American culture and life by learning our language and adopting our cultural values as well. Countless Americans who came over as immigrants only a century ago have done this quite nicely. Take the many Italian Americans, for instance, who still celebrate Italian festivals, hang Italian flags up, make Italian dishes and preserve the Italian language in their homes and families and are quite proud to be Italian! However, they also can speak English, embrace American values, embrace their newfound American heritage and are proud to be Americans as well! A teacher from my high school came over here as a teenager from Italy, not knowing any English! He’s quite in tune with his Italian heritage at home and speaks Italian in his household, but he doesn’t demand others in public cater to him in having signs, TV shows, songs, businesses, schools, hospitals, translators etc… so he can only speak Italian at everyone else’s inconvenience! He took the time and effort to learn English, since he is living here, not there.
To those who would disagree with learning our language instead of demanding everyone know yours, imagine the reverse situation where an American immigrant or expatriate living in your country demands everyone speak English for them and never lifts a finger to learn your country’s language! Insulting and entitled you say? Well we feel the same when people coming to live here won’t lift a finger to integrate into our society and learn our language. Just because you know another language, doesn’t mean you can never speak your original one! There’s no law saying you can’t speak your native tongue within your own community and home! Just don’t demand everyone outside of it cater to you when you’re living in a different country with a different language! Try to learn our language and use it in our country, as I hope many of us would learn and use your language in yours. It’s only fair…
On a related note, integrating into our culture and embracing our cultural values is also only fair if you intend to live in our country. By coming here, you implicitly agree that our country was a better fit for you, and therefore, you have now joined “team USA” so to speak. By joining our little group, it means embracing what we stand for in our country, such as a democratic society and equality. Those who would seek to shun our values and bring 3rd world values that you supposedly fled from sort of defeats the purpose of a fresh start, doesn’t it? If you would rather live by the unjust values you escaped from in your old country, why on Earth did you leave it to begin with?!
If you want to treat your women as property, enforce castes and class difference no one can move upward in, shun any ethnic outsider than your own group here in this country, and live overall in a “dog eat dog” manner more appropriate to the 3rd world place you came from where you needed to to survive, as opposed to a more civilized manner in a country of plenty, then why come to a place where we shun all such things? I thought people came here to get away from the injustices of 3rd world dictatorships, not bring them with you! Can you leave those 3rd world values behind when you pack your suitcase for America? 😉 Please and thank you… If you’d give us a chance, you’d see you wouldn’t want to go back to the stone age values of your previous dictatorship! Democracy and equality are possible and do work wonders for human society!
My last concern is what you intend to do once here. Are you willing to put in hard work to better yourself, your family, and our country overall? My ancestors who were immigrants did all of the above! They came with nothing, but worked their way up to having stable homes and happy families. They built a new fruitful life with the opportunities America gave them. You can too! However, so many decide to drain our system, not get any education and be unskilled, drain our healthcare, our schools, our welfare, our police force with crime and gangs and basically expect us to carry them in their cradle to grave welfare and crime and 3rd world values instead of getting a job, being upright citizens, and contributing to America as productive citizens. Then to add insult to injury, they whine and complain about how “unjust” and “discriminatory” America is!
You should get a job to support yourself, not rely on others to pay the bill for you! Hospitals only can give so much and they’re being drained dry. Schools are there to teach your children, not raise them! Police are there to protect you, not protect others from you! In addition, are you open to all the different people here in America, or just your own insular group while excluding, even assaulting outsiders who come into your neighborhood? We welcomed you in, yet you can’t welcome any one who’s different from you? How fair is that??? How fair is it that we have to give you a free ride while the money to do so comes right out of our hard earned paychecks? If you want to come to our country, you ought to “do your bit” and give back in gratitude!
One last point to make too is, please understand if we simply don’t have room for you. We can’t have open borders and just let everyone in who wants to come! We must weed out the good from the bad, as the bad people have come into this country with every innocent person too! Is that fair? No! It’s not. I wish we could take in everyone who needs our help and are willing to contribute to our society, but we’re crammed enough as we are! We need to look out for our own citizens first, not outsiders. As wonderful as our country is, we’re nowhere near perfect! US citizens live in dire poverty, are homeless, disadvantaged, starving, need healthcare, need schooling, etc… etc… The burden of taking care of our own citizens is great, and many of us would understand if the shoe were on the other foot: if YOUR country were the place to go, yet its citizens still need help. Why help us when your own people are hurting? What would entitle us to demand your resources as outsiders? The little space we do have to give to others in need like yourself, is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on someone unworthy. A person who can give back, get a job, and live a good honest life deserves a chance at opportunity and fulfillment. I’m in no way saying I’m against them bringing their skill set and work ethic into this country! We need some fresh blood with a passion to help build us up, like many immigrants in the past did for our country! We need more scholars, scientists, laborers, etc… to run America smoothly. What we don’t need however, is a leech who will turn to crime, ghetto life, and 3rd world values of inequality and intolerance! The person you decide to be determines your worthiness to come here. We do have room for hard working, upright individuals who wish to better themselves and their families. We don’t have room for miscreants and more welfare cases! Take your pick…
Many people have come here past and present for a better life and better values. I, and many others welcome you with the open arms our country welcomed our ancestors if you’re willing to welcome our values of hard work, democracy and equality into your life 🙂
Welcome us, and I’ll welcome you,
—A Lady of Reason
(P.S. coming here illegally and then draining our resources is also wildly unfair to every immigrant who does come here through legal channels and puts in the work to become a fellow citizen! Be like the hard working ancestors who embraced America and became hard working productive citizens, not the welfare leeches and closed minded intolerant 3rd world value apologists!)