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Why Immigration Is An Essential Part Of Our Country
What do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Isabel Allende, and Elon Musk all have in common? At first glance, perhaps not much. Arnold is a former winner of the Mister Universe award, as well as a popular actor and politician. Isabel is one of the world’s most widely read authors. And Elon is the founder of several innovative companies such as PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX. But all three are similar one regard: they are all immigrants to the United States!
Over the years, millions upon millions of people from all corners of the globe have immigrated to our country, making it into the great nation we enjoy today. This tradition continues now, as more than one in every ten American residents is foreign born. In our upcoming feature film Deported, we hope to honor this history while also exploring the relevant issues of today--and having a ton of fun along the way! But we’ll get back to that later. First off, we’d like to discuss a few of the ways that immigration is an essential part of our country.
The Great Melting Pot
Ever since its inception, United States has been described as “the great melting pot” due to the wide cultural diversity of its population. Throughout our history, immigrants many regions across the globe have come to our country bringing their food, their music, their literature, their ideas, and much more. This allows us to enjoy many distinct cultures right here at home--all while sharing the common experience of being Americans.
People who object to immigration on the grounds that it will somehow make our country “less American” are forgetting this important fact: in the United States, multiculturalism and diversity are a huge part of our identity in the first place!
The Economy Immigrants play an important role in the country’s economy. For example, immigrants create many new jobs and opportunities by starting businesses: roughly 18% of all small business owners in the United States are immigrants. More than 40% of all startups in Silicon Valley have at least one foreign-born founder. Immigration adds greatly tothe workforce while also increasing demand for local goods, thus creating additional demandfor jobs.
Additionally, studies have shown that immigrants tend to fill important shortages in our workforce from top to bottom--be it migrant workers in the fields of central California, or highly-trained tech-specialists a few miles over in San Jose. This contradicts the oft-repeatednarrative that immigrants “steal our jobs.” It should come as no surprise, therefore, that many of the nation’s cities boasting the most foreign-born citizens (such as Houston, Miami, and the Bay Area) also tend to boast the strongest and most rapidly growing economies.
Population and Age
An important fact that is not discussed as often as it should be: the fertility rate in the United States has been below replacement rate for many years. Left unchecked, this would lead to an aging population, a shrinking workforce, insolvent social programs, and many other problems that developed countries such as Spain, Germany, and Japan are currently struggling with. Thanks to immigration, however, our country is able to maintain healthy population growth.
Immigration Helps Make Global Citizens
Living in a culturally diverse setting can help promote open-mindedness and multiculturalism. These are all great qualities than can increase the enjoyment and richness of our own lives while also making us better equipped to compete in the modern world economy. Multiculturalism exposes us to new ideas, new languages, and--most importantly, new friends.
Many immigrants who travel to a new country are doing so to escape conditions of violence, warfare, and extreme poverty. Others migrate in order to be reunited with family members and loved ones who had previously fled their country of origin. In these cases, immigration is doing more than just offering new opportunities--it is saving lives and bringing families together.
Fostering this type of migration allows our country to reap the benefits of immigration while also doing a great deal of humanitarian good. This has a very real and positive impact on many lives. Taking a broader perspective on the issue, allowing immigration into our country helps ease the turmoil plaguing the countries that the immigrants were fleeing. In this sense, fostering immigration is one of the most important ways we can help create a safer, more peaceful world for the future.
What can you do to help?
Unfortunately, the prevailing discourse in our country has become contentious and sometimes even just plain xenophobic. Misinformation abounds, and many people (including, *cough cough* at least one prominent candidate for president of the United States) falsely blame immigrants for our nation’s problems. Such a situation can feel very frustrating, discouraging, and saddening.
Thankfully, it is possible to make a difference! Knowledge is power, and the more people learn about immigration, the more likely they will see through the constant hyperbole and scapegoating that surround the issue, and instead support policies and attitudes that are both rational and compassionate.
There are many logical arguments to be made for supporting immigration: after all, the majority of economists believe that it is beneficial for a country to receive immigrants. Perhaps even more important than sharing statistics, however, is sharing stories. If we could all just take a bit more time to consider the human aspect of immigration, we would all be a bit more understanding and generous.
That’s exactly what our movie, Deported, is all about. We want to put a human face on the real life stories of immigration in a way that is fun, relatable, and family friendly. In order to achieve this dream, we need your help. We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign in order to get our idea off the ground. Check out the Deported Indiegogo page to see our trailer; and please consider helping the cause with a donation of any amount. We’ll see you at the theatres!