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America’s history shows the cultural value of immigrants

Immigration is something of a loaded term these days. People argue about what it means — both in terms of what the actual word defines and what immigrants mean for the future of the United States. Everyone seems to have an opinion.

But let’s not look at opinions. Let’s look at facts. Let’s look at history. When you do that, it becomes undeniable that immigrants have had a massive and positive impact on the United States.

The melting pot

The idea of the U.S. as a melting pot is old enough to be a cliche, but there is truth to it. This country, perhaps more than any other in the world, found itself shaped by people from many different nations. Over hundreds of years, you simply cannot put these cultures and traditions together without expecting them to rub off on each other.

The values show up everywhere, from art to food to business opportunities. The United States has a rich tapestry of identity that gives people opportunities and experiences they could never get anywhere else.

The fears aren’t new

If you feel like people fear immigration these days, history shows that this outlook is not new. In addition, that history shows that these fears are unfounded.

For instance, you probably do not think twice about the U.S. containing people of German heritage. They have lived here long enough that you can’t even tell them from Americans with a variety of other backgrounds. You don’t think twice when you see them on the street. You could say the same for those of Irish heritage.

Well, both of those groups faced historic hurdles and discrimination when they first started coming to the U.S. Historians point out that even Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s most important figures, had concerns about allowing Germans to immigrate because he thought they could overrun the English culture in the U.S. Decades later, when Irish immigrants began arriving in droves, people worried about their Catholic religion, their work ethic and their drinking habits.

Maybe you hear some of these same fears echoed now, in 2019, about your ethnic group. Maybe you worry that Americans will not accept you or that they’ll push back against immigration and make it impossible.

What history tells us is that:

A) This will not happen.B) Immigrants will continue to shape America.C) It will one day seem surprising to think of worrying about immigration at all.

Immigrants are important. They always have been. That’s not changing any time soon. If you’re interested in immigrating, though, it can become challenging. Make sure you know what legal steps to take in Louisiana.