A Nation of Immigrants

It’s our history; we are a nation of immigrants. Our forefathers came to this land, either escaping the tyranny of religious and political intolerance, or seeking their fortune.

Whatever their reasons, they came hoping for something better, a land free from bigotry and persecution, a land of opportunities.

Coming from all walks of life, like a tapestry woven with different colors of threads, immigrants have made us, as a nation, who we are today. In our unique differences, we have become strong.

Each culture, each individual has allowed us to experience life from different perspectives and to learn to appreciate our oneness in diversity.

Yet in recent years, the concept of  being a “nation of immigrants” has been challenged with cries to close our borders.  Forgetting so easily our heritage, we ourselves tend to be less tolerant of those who come after us.

Yet most of us can trace our linage, not just to one, but more than one nationality.  In the end, if we forget our uniqueness and the reasons why our parents immigrated to this land, we will tend to drift into the same intolerance that caused our forefathers to seek a better country.

The question then remains, should we close our doors, tighten our borders, limiting those who need our help?  Certainly, there is need for control.  If we allow immigrants to come without restriction, than we are equally in danger of losing our identity and putting safety at risk.

But on the other hand, if we close our doors to the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” then we will certainly fail to learn the lessons of the Golden Rule – “do to others what you would have them do to you.”  Perhaps the answer is in balancing justice with mercy – our borders with compassion.

Our forefathers came seeking a better land, and we became a nation of immigrants. They learned tolerance that in turn shaped our country into what we are today.  May “we the people” continue to grow strong as a nation – a nation of immigrants.

Richard Carrigan, MSE

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past ten years. He has experience teaching English as a Second Language in Asia and teaching university students in the United States. He earned his undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.