The Statue of Liberty stands tall, representing the freedom of America.

Bella Reeves

The U.S. is divided on immigration

February 5, 2019

The U.S. is known as the “land of the opportunity,” but that isn’t the case for everyone.

“Immigrants deserve equal opportunity in America, especially if they are escaping poverty or injustice. Being born with different circumstances shouldn’t limit them in our society,” said Tej Tummala, a sophomore at Carlmont High School.

Many immigrants who enter the United States come in hope of a better life. Some are running away from corrupt governments and are in search of amnesty, while others turn to a better future for their children.

Ismael Betancourt came to the U.S. when he was ten years old and later became an American citizen. His family came to America with a dream: to make a better life for themselves filled with opportunity and success. Betancourt now works as a librarian at the Belmont Public Library living the “American Dream” that others wish to experience.

“Ismael is a dedicated and lovable librarian. He can be strict sometimes, which has earned him a bit of a reputation. But he’s absolutely necessary for the operation of the library and deserves respect for his endless hard work,” said Aaron Lee, a sophomore.

According to a poll conducted by Gallup Inc., although 41 percent of American citizens favor the expansion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, 83 percent of the American population approves of DACA immigrants becoming U.S. citizens.

“I am a second generation immigrant,” said Elias Mandegarian, a sophomore. “My dad legally moved here at the age of eight from Iran. America should have secure borders so we aren’t flooded with millions of people, but also many terrorists as well that could threaten American citizens. People that are legally allowed to come into the country should be allowed here but we should definitely defend our borders.”

That is not a sentiment shared by the current U.S. President, Donald Trump. According to a deleted Tweet of his reposted by the New York Times, President Trump said that “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals.”

This viewpoint is representative of the setbacks that immigrants experience in order to achieve citizenship.

Lisa Nguyen, a sophomore at Carlmont, immigrated to the U.S. from Canada. Nguyen suffers from terrible migraines and has to leave school for months on end to receive medical attention in Canada.

Nguyen said, “I wished I would have insurance or any medical coverage even though my mom has worked here for three plus years. Since I’m an immigrant, I’m not eligible.”

Fortunately for Nguyen, and other documented immigrants (green card holders), they are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP after five years of residence. There is a path to get access to healthcare, but how to get it is anything but easy.

A common concern some U.S. citizens have is that legal immigrants are stealing existing citizen’s jobs. Although it can be seen as a reasonable question, other people say that if an immigrant works harder than an American citizen, they deserve it.

Thomas Leme, a Carlmont senior, said, “Legal immigration is useful for everyone, both the immigrants and the U.S., and thus should be encouraged without question.”

According to a global poll conducted by Gallup News, 29 percent of the people in the 142 surveyed countries believe that immigrants steal wanted jobs from citizens while 27 percent believe that immigrants take citizen’s unwanted jobs. 18 percent believe that both occur in their country. After analyzing the data given, one could assume that there is a distinct division on the topic of immigration.

“Immigration allows for a harder working population that will improve the business and ultimately the economy. It demonstrates the ‘American Dream,’ how hard work pays off,” said Adrian Fernandez, a junior.

According to a poll conducted by Gallup Inc., 75 percent of the American population claimed that “immigration is a good thing.” As well as liberal point of views, there were also conservative perspectives.

The people of the United States of America struggle on this topic. According to a poll taken by Pew Research Center, there is little consensus on the major immigration issues facing the United States. Authors of the poll summary state, “...illegal immigration is the highest-ranked national problem among GOP voters, but it ranks lowest among the 18 issues for Democratic voters (75% and 19%, respectively, say it is a very big problem).”

While immigration is a divisive issue for the U.S., it is how the country comes together which determines our future.

“Illegal immigration is a much more difficult situation where there are a lot of cons but also some pros so it's hard to find an easy solution,” Leme said.

Map of Immigration

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