The Value of Immigrants


Although it's not fashionable to say so right now, I admire and respect immigrants. How can I not? I am one myself. I grew up in Europe and came to live in the United States during my twenties. I have spent the greater part of my life as an immigrant. So I know more than the average person about immigration.

Why should one admire immigrants? They are people who had the grit and initiative to uproot themselves from everything that was familiar and (perhaps) comfortable, in order to live in another country. Of course, not every stranger to these shores comes with the intention of staying - I did not at first. And many flee from their native lands to escape extreme depredation and hardship. But for all, it requires self-sacrifice and determination to get here.

Some complain that immigrants are freeloaders but economic statistics show that immigrants on average contribute far more to society than they take. Others claim that immigrants are bad people, bringing violence and crime, but research shows that they are more law-abiding than the average native-born citizen.

Even if one does not wish to admire or respect immigrants, we are forced to admit that from a purely selfish point of view, we need immigrants. They are cheerfully willing to do all the kinds of work that many Americans don't want to do: farm laborers, cleaning workers, construction workers, just to name a few examples. One more example: when I was new to the US, for my work in information technology I was paid about 50% of what my US citizen peers were making.

So next time you hear some politician shouting about the evils of immigration, think about what the United States would be like if no immigrants ever came here.

Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 15, 2020
Date Posted: 
Friday, May 15, 2020
Type of GEM: 
GEM of the Day: 
Friday, June 24, 2022
Issues Addressed: 


Very well said. America was and is an oasis in the world. I love your conclusion too - that if no immigrants were here, then America would be completely Native American. Thank you for sharing.
Copyright © 2017-2021 Heart Speak, LLC.
Share this GEM by email