Benefits Of Immigration

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Pages: 8

The Necessity and Benefit of Immigration to the United States
A controversial topic in today’s politics is the state of immigration in America. While public opinion is generally positive, politicians continue to disagree over the necessity of immigration, and the approaches which can be taken to create a successful body of immigration policies. Thomas Jefferson, however, was certain that immigration would allow the United States to grow and thrive if handled in a way that made the system beneficial to the United States as a whole.
The DREAM Act and Immigration in America
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that 75% of the 1,504 American adults surveyed believe that Immigration Policy needs ‘major changes’ or to be ‘completely
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Even though he was born and raised in America, Thomas Jefferson consistently supported immigrants' rights to relocate to nations where they felt they would have the lives they wanted. He wrote numerous letters to immigrants and other politicians on the topic, maintaining that it was a right that could not be revoked. In a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, in 1806 Thomas Jefferson stated:
I hold the right of expatriation to be inherent in every man by the laws of nature, and incapable of being rightfully taken from him even by the united will of every other person in the nation. If the laws have provided no particular mode by which the right of expatriation may be exercised, the individual may do it by any effectual and unequivocal act or declaration. [...] The general government has nothing to do with this question. Congress may by the Constitution "establish an uniform rule of naturalization," that is, by what rule an alien may become a citizen. But they cannot take from a citizen his natural right of divesting himself of the character of a citizen by expatriation (Jefferson, 1904, pp.
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This requires permanent residency of 3-5 years and a naturalization test that covers English and civics (U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services, 2013). Jefferson clearly stated that the laws regulating immigration should “be as equal as prudential considerations will admit [...] to unequal privileges among members of the same society the spirit of our nation is, with one accord, adverse” (Jefferson, 1853, p. 395) and for this reason it is unlikely he would approve of the necessity for immigrants to take tests which require ‘general knowledge’ on American history. A study by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum showed that only 28% of Americans are able to name more than one of the five freedoms provided by the First Amendment, while 52% can name at least two members of “The Simpsons” characters (McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, 2006, p. 1), yet immigrants being nationalized are expected to know the answer to the same question in addition to anything from how many amendments the Constitution has to who the current Speaker of the House of Representatives is (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2011, pp. 1 & 5). By Jefferson’s standards, it would be unreasonable to expect immigrants to know more about America than Americans do. Jefferson would more likely be interested in the aspirations of immigrants as Americans; taking into consideration their social and professional goals would not only