Same job, different uniform.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Why Immigrants Still Come to This Country

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend, Melanie Kirkpatrick wrote of the Newcomers High School located in Queens, NY where the 850 students who attend come from 60 countries around the world and speak 40+ languages.

A couple weeks ago, as Thanksgiving approached they had a discussion in the classroom about those first immigrants - the Pilgrams. (This part of the class, taught by U.S. History teacher Tim Becker, is something he adds on his own because teaching Thanksgivng is not part of New York's state-mandated curriculum.) Many of the students easily identified with the Pilgrims, stating that when they first arrived they faced difficulities, they felt alone, that their parents came to get a better life for their families.

However, my favorite comment in this discussion came from a Bangladeshi boy who referred to the Declaration of Independence when he said that his family came here for the purpose of "pursuiting the happiness."

It was a beautiful, but for many natural born Americans, a seemingly forgotten summation of what the United States has to offer to the world. There's no guarantee of health, wealth, healthcare, or even home ownership, but by God and grace you sure can strive for all those things. Statements like that above remind me that for a huge number of people around the world, it is enough to scrape, claw, dig, sail, swim, and risk death to come to the United States of America for nothing more than the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

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Blogger girlfriday said...

What a good post.

I take these things for granted; I take so much for granted. And I'm afraid I suffer from American Guilt, forgetting that there are people who still see the USA as a land of opportunity. And that's something to be proud of. No matter who's president!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


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