Politics, United States, World

Has Immigration Changed the United States for the Better?

“Build that wall!” “I will build a great wall!”. We have all heard these statements made by our own president, Donald Trump today. There are many of debates on if the United States should build the wall, who should pay for it, is it really necessary, are all common ideas that pop into people’s head when the topic of immigration comes up. The United States of America has always been a safe haven for people to travel to a rebuild their lives, a way to give millions of people a better chance at the life that they have always wanted, and will continue to do so through the power of immigration. Immigration has been a concept for hundreds of years, and since the beginning, there have been many debates on how it changes and who it is benefiting. In fact, we are all immigrants who have come to America for better economic opportunities, freedom from persecution, or the better chances of formal education and social statuses. Immigration has helped millions to come to a better place to live as well as spreading culture, religion, and technology, making the United States a better place to live.

Immigrants have been traveling to the United States in hopes of improving their lives for many years. The first Europeans who were led by the Spanish and the French, by the 1500s, had begun establishing the many settlements that would make up the United States. Pilgrims came to the Americas in the early 1600s in search for religious freedom, and the first settlers in the Americas traveled from Asia over a land bridge.Even though immigrants have been coming to the United States for hundreds of years, the main time for immigration was during the industrial and urbanization periods causing a transition to a major period of American immigration between 1880 to 1920. Many people traveled to the United States during this time looking for new economic opportunities. In 1907, the United State hit an astonishing 1.3 million legal immigrants who entered the country but that would not top the near 20 million immigrants who traveled to the United States of America 1880 and 1920. The Industrial Revolution opened up many new jobs, which caught people’s eyes for a way to start over and better their lives. The majority of these new immigrants had come from Ireland after experiencing a massive famine to their country, which acted as a huge push factor. In the mid-1800s, many were pulled towards America, more to California, because of the massive gold rush, hoping to strike it rich. In the 1820s, the government had passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, banning Chinese laborers from coming to America. The Chinese at that time had angered the Americans as the Americans strong believed that the the Chinese and the many other immigrants were here to destroy the economy; but, seeing the incoming number of immigrants, Ellis Island was created as a major immigration operation, letting in more than 12 million immigrants between the years of 1892 to 1954. However, immigration in the Americas drastically decreased during the global depression that followed World War 2. Followed by World War 2 and the the plummet of immigrants, the Immigration and Nationality Act was passed by congress in 1965. This act eliminated the quotas set based on nationality and allowed Americans to support their family members living in other countries.

The principle idea of immigration has been around for hundreds of years, and with each new president, new laws are passed on immigration. Many laws have been submitted and passed about immigration, but the United States would not be the country it is today without it. People living in poor, or war-fighting countries dream to extend their opportunities and freedom. By coming to the United States, these people are receiving the protection and support that America stands for and are able to give their children and family a second chance at the life that was purely a dream. Marisela was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and lived with her mother, father, and siblings in the poor town. Marislea’s mother was a waitress and her father was a ranchero. It was Marisela’s job to take care of her younger siblings and set an example for them. One day, Marisela’s father died and her mother insisted on moving their family to the United States. The family moved into a small apartment in New York. The children attended school and received good grades, while the mother was a waitress at a local restaurant. Marisela, wanting to prevent crimes in the city that was so good to her, grew up to be a police officer in the city of New York. “I thank America for the opportunities it has given me and will be forever grateful”(Marisela). Marisela and her family dreamt of the things that they could possibly have in another lifetime, but because the United States is giving the opportunity for a better life to all, their family was able to make their dream a reality.

Tens of thousands of immigration reform supporters march in the “Rally for Citizenship” on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Many people have been given a second chance and are able to come to the United States, but with recent changes to immigration laws, the amount of people that will be able to move to the Americans, may be limited. President Trump has implemented a few new immigration laws that, to some, are very controversial. Many people have opposed the recent changes in immigration laws, because they are limiting who and how many people can enter this country. Former president Barack Obama, created the “catch and release” policy. This policy often released people into the United States who were caught trying to illegally cross the border, while their requests to stay in the United States was being processed. This request could take years, and when it was finally granted or denied, most people were unable to locate, leaving them in the United States. President Trump has ended the so-called “catch and release” policy, but it may take a significant amount of time to see the changes that are being made. President Donald Trump has also imposed new restrictions on foreign travelers from either different countries, which not only affects the people living in those countries, but also the people traveling to and from those certain places. The eight countries that have been restricted are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. On July 29th, President Trump’s travel ban went into place, which bars certain individuals from entering the United States. The White House and the Trump Administration outlined who could, and who could not travel into the States. Along with the recent travel ban, and other immigration acts and laws that have been passed recently, have affected many people, American or not.

All in all, many laws have been passed on immigration over time, some have benefitted people more than others. But in the end, immigration is one thing that makes The United States of America what it is today; because the United States allows immigrants to enter this lovely country of ours, our nation has thrived and will continue to thrive and grow due to the immense amounts of new cultures and ideas that will be influencing people all around for the years to come. Stand for your beliefs and values and learn more about these new and upcoming immigration policies by reaching out and contacting your local congressman for information.

Article by Megan Nowag and Shaina Shah

Works Cited

History.com Staff. “U.S. Immigration before 1965.” History.com, A+E Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/u-s-immigration-before-1965. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.

Marisela. “My Immigration Story.” My Immigration Story, myimmigrationstory.com/. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.

Pascaline, Mary. “Immigration: Where Do Clinton And Trump Stand On The Issue?” Internation Business Times, Newsweek Media Group, 19 Oct. 2016, www.ibtimes.com/immigration-where-do-clinton-trump-stand-issue-2433784. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.

Schallhorn, Kaitlyn. “Trump travel ban: Timeline of a legal journey.” FoxNews.com, Fox News Network, www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/18/trump-travel-ban-timeline-legal-journey.html. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.

Zanona, Melanie. “White House Outlines Who Can Travel under Trump’s Ban.” The Hill, Capitol Hill Publishing Corporation, 29 June 2017, thehill.com/policy/national-security/340095-white-house-outlines-who-can-travel-under-trumps-ban. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.


  1. I agree that Immigration can make the United States better by bringing people into our country who want to have the American dream. One famous immigrant who achieved the American Dream was Elon Musk. Elon Musk founded pay pal, is a CEO for space X, and the Chief product architect of Tesla motors. Many immigrants are just looking for a better life in the United States which is why they are making America better.

  2. Thank you for a great article addressing immigration and the controversies currently surrounding it. With the Trump administration creating all these policies and bans pushing immigrants away, it’s distressing to me that many people will lose the opportunity to thrive and succeed in America, and that people in power are trying prevent something that has made America as unique and successful as it is today. This is similar to the Gold Rush days, when the Foreign Miners Tax tried to accomplish the same goal of limiting the success of foreigners. It’s confusing as to why people want to hinder the prosperity and happiness of others because they believe it’s a threat to their own.