Immigration into the USA has recently become a contentious issue in the national debate. Democrats and Republicans have clashed with each other, and with the White House. Republicans have clashed with Republicans as well.
Why is immigration such a problem to a country that was founded on immigrants, and has inscribed ““Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” on their famous Statue of Liberty.
There are several reasons that emerge in the debate. The historical source of immigrants and national identity is a main one. The original immigrants to the USA were in fact Anglo Saxon Protestants. As their national identity grew, they saw themselves as a Christian, Protestant, English speaking people and nation. As further waves of immigrants arrived, they were, if not Anglo Saxon, primarily western European, and Christian and mostly willing to learn English, and be absorbed into the American way. Even when the Irish, Italians and Polish made their way to the USA, although Catholic they were Europeans, who fit into the predominantly Anglo Saxon American identity. They were minorities, who learned English and accepted the status quo. Also, many of them brought needed skills to the country.