Since the first European settlers
set foot in North America, immigration has suffused the American experience.
Indeed, many of the values that unite Americans as a nation are tied to
immigration. Immigration has not only framed our vision of the U.S. role in the
world, but has seeped into our view of human nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example,
saw in immigration a phenomenon that “will construct a new race, a new
religion, a new state, a new literature” in the United States The idealism
surrounding immigration explains in large part the deep feelings it evokes in
the public policy arena. These sentiments have jostled with concerns about the
economy, ethnic relations, social services, the environment, and other issues.
In recent years, the debate over immigration has expanded to incorporate a
broad range of foreign policy issues. The discussion now features arguments on
U.S. relations with Latin America, human rights, international trade, the
worldwide refugee crisis, and our national security.
As Congressional representatives
debate proposals for reform of current immigration law, it is important for
Americans to understand these issues within the wider context of our long-term
goals for immigration policy. Current proposals focus primarily on ways to resolve
issues related to border control, undocumented workers, and law enforcement.
The proposed legislative policies raise additional questions about human
rights, the economy, the environment, security, and other issues.http://www.choices.edu/resources/documents/immigration_options.pdf