Closing the Golden Door Essay

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Closing the Golden Door

America has, is, and will always be a nation of immigrants: the great melting pot. In the years that have passed since Emma Lazarus’ poem was inscribed on the Statue of Liberty “the golden door” has seen times when it was open wide and times when it was closed shut to almost all immigrants. Many people tend to look at the present immigration problems as a purely modern dilemma. The truth is America has always struggled with the issue of immigration, both legal and illegal. Changing times however make it imperative that our government re-examine and adjust today’s immigration laws to today’s standards. Those standards however are not easily defined.
All too often the issue of immigration is used as a
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Congress must also find a way to slow the flow of illegal immigration by enforcing the laws already in place. What this paper will attempt to do is bring the immigration issue into perspective. America most certainly has immigration problems but they will not be fixed by eliminating immigration all together. In fact, America will never totally eliminate immigration, because no matter how tightly the door is closed some illegal immigrants will get through. As long as America continues to be seen as a nation of prosperity, opportunity, and freedom there will be those who wish to come to America. Immigrants have always come to America looking for a better life and Americans are always forgetting that their forefathers were once looking for that same life. As a nation there must be a decision on whether immigration is an issue of conscience or economics.
History of Immigration Laws Though most Americans see immigration as a modern problem it has been heavily debated since the 19th century. Throughout most of America’s history immigration was seen as a natural process that benefited the nation (Divine 2). Until the 1890’s there were no clearly defined policies on immigration. During this time the country started questioning the economic benefits of more immigrants, so things have note changed in that respect. In May 1921, the first bill in
American history restricted

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