AmericaAmerica is sometimes referred to as a "nation of immigrants" because of our largely open-door policy toward acceptingforeigners pursuing their vision of the American Dream. Recently, there has been a clamor by some politicians and citizenstoward creating a predominantly closed-door policy on immigration, arguing that immigrants "threaten" American life bycreating unemployment by taking jobs from American workers, using much-needed social services, and encroaching on the"American way of life." While these arguments may seem valid to many, they are almost overwhelmingly false, and more thanlikely confused with the subject of illegal immigration. In fact, immigrants actually enhance American life by creating, nottaking jobs, bolster social service funds through tax payments, and bring valuable technical knowledge and skills to ourcountry. If we are to continue to excel as a nation, the traditionalists who fear an encroachment of foreign-born Americansmust learn to accept that we achieved our greatness as a result of being "a nation of immigrants."A common argument among those opposing further immigration is that foreigners take U.S. jobs and cause unemploymentamong the displaced American workers. In the July 13, 1992 edition of Business Week , a poll states that sixty-two percentof non-blacks and sixty-three percent of blacks agree that "new immigrants take jobs away from American workers." This isa widely held, if erroneous belief, among Americans. However, Julian L. Simon, author of The Economic Consequences ofImmigration , states: immigration does not exacerbate unemployment...Immigrants not only take jobs, but also create them. Their purchases increase the demand for labor, leading to new hires roughly equal in number to the immigrant workers. In the same Business Week poll, eighty-three percent of non-blacks and eighty-seven percent of blacks agree that "manynew immigrants are very hard-working." The results of the poll may seem somewhat contradictory, but not necessarilynegative. Those polled seem to be at least a little open-minded in their view of the quality of new immigrants. However, inorder to overcome their distrust of foreigners, Americans must abandon their suspicions and recognize, as Simon has, that ourlives are enhanced by immigrants creating, not taking, U.S. jobs. Another widely held belief among Americans against immigration is that foreigners "strain social service budgets." Accordingto the same poll, sixty-two percent of non-blacks and fifty-nine percent of blacks agree "immigrants use more than their fairshare of government services, such as welfare, medical care, and food stamps." This belief has its roots in the nineteenth-
century, when "one of the first immigration laws was designed to exclude the entry of people likely to become a 'publicCharge'," according to the CQ Researcher . These beliefs are misguided and more than likely attributable to illegalimmigration, which is not an issue on this topic. In actuality, immigrants are young and healthy when they arrive, and therefore,"do not receive expensive Social Security and other aid to the aged," according to Simon. In fact, Americans should bethankful for immigrants as they "contribute more to the public coffers in taxes than they draw out in welfare services" and put"about $2,500 into the pockets of natives" from excess taxes. They are, in fact, raising the quality of life of those dependant ofthe social services.In his nationally syndicated column, Pat Buchanan, a Presidential candidate, writes "immigration should be suspended topreserve the nation." This appears to be a case of "the pot calling the kettle black." Buchanan's ancestors had to haveimmigrated from somewhere, so should they have been kept from immigrating "to preserve the nation"? According toBuchanan's statistics, the U.S. is currently seventy-five percent white, twelve percent black, nine percent Hispanic, and therest mostly Asian-American. By mid-twenty-first century, "whites may be near a minority in an America of eighty-one millionHispanics, sixty-two million blacks, and forty-one million Asians." Again, should their immigration be suspended to preserve awhite majority? Buchanan seems to equate "white" with "American," and "Hispanic, black, and Asian" with "foreigner."Unfortunately, Mr. Buchanan is not alone in his opinions. The fear of encroachment by foreign-born Americans is a commonone. However, they also bring with them valuable technical knowledge and skills, as well as being "fifty percent morelikely...to have post-graduate educations" than Americans, according to Simon. The traditionalists opposing immigration mustrecognize our lives are enhanced by their knowledge and education, and that in order to "preserve our nation", they mustrealize we are a "nation of immigrants" and let others prove their worth. The issue of immigration must be dealt with rationally, not emotionally. Facts, figures, and statistics must be studied by bothsides in order to reach a decision most beneficial to our nation. Our lives are enhanced by the new jobs created byimmigrants, the social service funds bolstered by their tax payments, and the valuable technical skills and knowledge broughtwith them. These benefits far outweigh any negative effects and prove the value of immigrants as they pursue the AmericanDream in our "nation of immigrants."