“Give me your tired, your poor,”

Essay by MiguelFlopezCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2010

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Miguel Alfaro-Lopez

EN 111


"Give me your tired, your poor,"

For centuries, the United States has attracted people in search of a share of "the American dream" from all over of the world. From the mayflower settlers to the influx of immigrants during the 19th century, U.S. history is one of immigration. The U.S. had previously encouraged newcomers and practiced an open door immigration policy, but that changed in 1882 when it began trying to control immigration by excluding certain people from coming to the country. In 1921 the U.S. continued to adjust its immigration policies with the national origins quota system. Admittance into the United States now depended upon an immigrant's country of birth. With the nation's immigration policies becoming stricter and citizenship even harder to gain, the U.S. saw an increase in illegal immigration. In response the United States toughened laws for legal and illegal immigrants alike.

Despite the tougher laws illegal immigration continued to rise. Today there are over an estimated 12 million undocumented workers in the U.S. ("Comprehensive Immigration Reform Resource Guide" 7). They have become both part of the infrastructure and everyday life for much of the southwestern United States. They have families, jobs, and new lives. The question now is what should be done with the 12 million undocumented workers and their families residing in the United States.

Immigration reform is a now central topic of debate because of the vast number of undocumented workers, so much so that it became a hot-button issue during this year's Presidential election. Immigration reform was so important, that Presidential candidate John McCain, whose approach "was seen by many Republican politicians and voters as akin to 'amnesty'", gave into political pressure and "now shares...