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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

The Red Carpet

When the Golden Venture ran aground ashore near New York City about a decade ago, A. M. Rosenthal (formerly of the New York Times) suggested that, rather than round up the Chinese immigrants on board the Golden Venture, New York should honor the immigrants with a Broadway parade. Immigration Daily shares Mr. Rosenthal's sense in viewing immigrants as heroes. Those who make one of life's most difficult decisions - to immigrate - deserve credit for several reasons: (a) leaving everything one knows behind in the country of one's birth for an uncertain future in a foreign country requires considerable courage and determination; (b) learning and re-learning the skills needed to succeed in the country of one's choice requires considerable effort, patience, and equanimity when faced with frequent failure; (c) after a lifetime of effort, a significant portion of the benefit goes not to oneself, but to one's children and ordinary Americans (who are large beneficiaries of immigrants' talent and work). For all this, and more, we salute the brave immigrants who honor America in choosing to make their lives here.

Unfortunately, many on both the right and the left disagree with us. Some on the right see immigrants as parasites living off the American dole, viewing the world through almost a Marxist lens. The wonder is that these folks call themselves right-wing or even conservative while espousing, on immigration at least, a strictly socialist world-view. Some on the left, on the other hand, see immigrants as targets of American charity. The wonder here is that these folks call themselves left-wing while espousing a view on immigration impossible to differentiate from the compassionate and humanitarian Religious Right. For many on both the left and the right, moreover, the moral fitness of immigrants is tainted by the fact that immigrants primarily come to America seeking economic opportunity. We see that same fact as proof of the moral fiber of immigrants (this is in addition to all the other reasons to admire immigrants outlined above).

All Americans should be proud that immigrants continue to pour onto our shores; we should all dread the day when that ceases to happen. Ordinary Americans make immigration possible by welcoming immigrants into their communities, where the vast majority of immigrants live and thrive in peace and prosperity with their American neighbors. Through their actions, ordinary Americans reject the thinking of the misguided on both the left and the right on immigration. While America should certainly continue be to as vigilant as necessary in the post-9/11 world, we should roll the red carpet for those who pledge their lives, fortune and honor in immigrating here.

We welcome readers to share their opinion and ideas with us by writing to editor@ilw.com.



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