Illustration by Nicole Funes
South East High School

Immigration & stereotypes

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an immigrant is, “a plant or animal that becomes established in an area previously unknown.” The word “immigrant” is a noun and originated from Latin, gaining popularity in the early 20th century.

Dictionary.com refers to an immigrant as, “a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.” The dictionary definition has no mention of uneducated immigrants or immigrants burdening the economy. This is the connotation of immigration that has reached new lengths in recent years.

An immigrant is simply someone who moved elsewhere for the long-term, but today there’s a stigma that follows people looking for a better life. They moved for a reason after all, didn’t they?

No one ever criticizes Mexican monarch butterflies when they fly to Canada, but I mean, Canadians are nice after all. No one ever criticizes penguins when they waddle from one side of Antartica to the other. And no one ever criticized Africans when they migrated to Asia or Europe, if you believe in Pangea that is. Yet, immigrants migrating from different parts of the globe whose destination is America, are chastised for pursuing a better life.

But I guess there’s a reason things are different in America. America is a hot commodity. Everyone wants a little piece of the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is why some Americans get territorial when it comes to accepting new people, because they’re afraid they won’t enjoy the luxury of Los Angeles or the comfort of Chicago.

What they fail to realize is that the United States is a country that first thrived on immigration. Immigrants were necessary when it came to blending together in the melting pot. Aren’t we so proud to live in a country so diverse; you can learn all about Russian music without ever going there? Or eating Italian food without even stepping into an airport? Whatever happened to the “United” in “United States”?

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