Immigration In The Book Of Unknown Americans By Cristina Henriquez

1312 Words 6 Pages
Today in America, the issue of immigration has become a major concern of citizens and politicians alike. In particular, the issue is whether to only give visas to high skill workers and refugees and whether other immigrants cause more harm than good. Some argue that they are taking much needed jobs, are criminals and will never assimilate to our culture here. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez seeks to show lives of immigrants which counter these common misconceptions by sharing realistic immigrant stories. Though I can see potential problems with adding many more people to our population, I believe that immigrants are a vital part of both the American economy and culture.
One of the most common arguments against immigration
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Because American citizens are eligible for Obamacare, employers must pay $3,000 to provide this. “If it is true that the president’s actions give employers a $3,000 incentive to hire those who came here illegally, he has added insult to injury. The president’s actions would have just moved those who came here illegally to the front of the line, ahead of unemployed and underemployed Americans” (Congressman Lamar Smith). While it is true that undocumented workers cost less to employ, they are not taking jobs that born citizens would otherwise occupy. Neither are the ones who are here legally. In The Book of Unknown Americans, the character Arturo works in the agriculture business, one of the most common occupations for immigrants. He recounts the harsh conditions in which he is forced to work with no breaks. “Well, I stood in a warehouse for ten hours and picked mushrooms out of the dirt… They keep it dark” (24). The agriculture business has always been dominated by immigrants, simply because they are willing to work in uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions for low wages. Because profit is the primary aim of these businesses, they are unwilling to raise wages …show more content…
Many immigrants, particularly those who are not high-skill, know only small amounts of English upon arrival. The argument that they will never try to learn it has worked its way into politics. Even some so called moderate voices on the subject believe that immigrants should be required to learn English to live in America. “They can come here, but they should learn to speak our language” (Sen. Lindsey Graham). This undermines the hard work that many immigrants do put into learning our language. Alma goes to the community center to learn English. Apparently, this is not uncommon. “Sixty-six percent of immigrants who speak a foreign language at home also can speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’” (Huffington Post, 2015). Since the majority of immigrants, according to this statistic, do, in fact, have a good understanding of the English language, it should not be a concern of ours. While I can see why immigrants should be required to learn English, it is unnecessarily discriminatory to those without access to classes in which to learn it. If we as a country decide to require immigrants to know English, we should also provide free and accessible classes. But since America hates to spend money on anything other than the military, and especially immigrants, I don’t see this happening. Most learn English upon arrival anyway, as

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