The statue of liberty has long been a symbol of America's open door to the masses of humanity. Inscribed at the base of the statue are these words: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door" (Lazarus).
The fact that we are a melting pot for so many different cultures, races, and religions makes America unique in the world. It is also what has helped mold this country's national character. For more than 300 years, various ethnic, cultural, and social groups have come to the American shores to reunite with their loved ones, to seek economic opportunity, and to find a haven from religious and political persecution. They have brought with them their hopes and dreams, and, in turn, have contributed to enrich and energize America.
More than a million immigrants arrive in the United States each year. Of these, 700,000 enter as lawful permanent residents and another 100,000 to 150,000 enter legally as refugees or others fleeing persecution. According to Lindsey Grant, the United States' population was 75 million in 1900, is now about 275 million and may well grow to 404 million by 2050 and 571 million in 2100. Post-2000 immigrants and their descendants will contribute two-thirds of that growth (Grant).
According to Negative Population Growth (NPG), a national membership organization founded in 1972 to educate the American public and political leaders about the detrimental effects of overpopulation, the following chart shows the amount of growth in our country due to immigration over the past decades (NPG):