By Erica Rawlins, Scholarship Winner —
The influx of immigrants into the U.S. should not be seen as a crisis. Not only does this cause hysteria among media consumers but unfortunately immigrants are negatively portrayed. Although our immigration system is in desperate need of reform, the public’s syntax associated with aspiring and new Americans needs to change.
The U.S. is a Nation Built On Immigration
The U.S. is a nation built by immigrants all seeking to forge their version of the American Dream. A century ago, the U.S. opened its doors for millions to come and ignite an economic powerhouse. In the 21st century we are isolating ourselves from an interconnected globalized world, a vision we once spearheaded. As other world powers continue to expand, the U.S.’s isolationist perspective has hindered our growth. From the federal government to everyday civilians, we all have a part to play.
The U.S. has branded itself as a welcoming society. The iconic Statue of Liberty is an emblem to never forget—at her feet, you could find refuge, live freely with the pursuit of happiness. However, that tone has changed drastically with the landscape of our evolving population. Our global branding campaigns do not reflect domestic language. This imbalance will continue to cause friction between Americans and immigrants. This “us” versus “them” rhetoric is divisive.
The President’s tirade against asylum seekers contributes to social tensions. They are deemed rapists, criminals, and invaders. His rants transcend to his constituents, border patrol agents and sadly mass-shooters. This hate propaganda strips immigrants of their humanity and is a blatant contradiction of what Brand USA is campaigning to the rest of the world. Communication is so important and should be the first step toward reforming how our society views aspiring Americans.
Many small towns and cities are suffering from brain drain and younger residents are moving to larger metropolitan cities. As a result, cities are facing existential threats. A prime example would be Syracuse, NY. According to MoneyWise, Syracuse ranked No. 19 among cities where people are fleeing. Historically, Syracuse was famous for the salt and automotive industries in the 20th century. In present-day with major organizations relocating, the city is struggling to sustain its vibrancy outside of the prestige of Syracuse University.
According to the New York State comptroller’s office, between 1950 and 2000, Rochester and Syracuse lost approximately 30% of their population. Fortunately, New York State has positioned itself to attract refugees to dwindling upstate cities. Through state funding for resettlement agencies, refugees are moving into abandoned homes and leased empty storefronts. This suggests that these once deserted cities are transforming with new life and culture. If this idea is replicated across the country many places will be revitalized.
U.S. Immigration Policy Needs Reform
Immigration policy needs to reform for the sake of the country’s soul. It should not take 10+ years to become a citizen. It is longwinded & stressful for those waiting for a status especially in the era of rampant I.C.E. raids. We must remove bigotry and replace it with compassion and humanity before we could truly unravel the “immigration crisis”.