End the cycle of discrimination

Since the Revolution, America has been a symbol of hope for those who seek freedom and prosperity. However, The United States has become a hypocritical nation. For hopeful immigrants, America, land of the free, is becoming nothing more than a false promise. People claim that immigrants are the problem, but in actuality, it’s the hatred that Americans harbor for those who are different than them.

Today’s teenagers cannot let hate towards immigrants influence their actions as they mature into adulthood. If today’s teens let hate consume them as it did the adults before them, the U.S. will no longer be a place American natives and immigrants alike are proud to call home.

For hopeful immigrants, America, land of the free, is becoming nothing more than a false promise.”

The fear of the unknown affects how people treat and interact with immigrants. Being afraid of the unknown is common. Some people allow the fear of an unfamiliar culture to affect how they perceive those different from them. When put it in the context of immigration this is called xenophobia. It causes them to, at best, be wary of others and, at worst, become violent.
Our country’s fear of people not like “Us” has been bolstered by our current president. This has caused xenophobic people to once again become commonplace instead of condemned. Instead of reminding people that diversity is part of what makes this nation so amazing, the government spews inaccurate claims and hateful rhetoric about immigrants who are not white.

For example, the president perpetuates the stereotype of illegal immigrants being criminals. He claims that illegal immigrants pose a threat to the country because they will commit crimes other than entering without documents. However, four academic studies, including one from the University of Wisconsin, have proven that illegal immigration does not have an effect on the prevalence of violent crime or problems related to drugs and alcohol. No matter what opinion people hold about illegal immigration, the assertion that they’re all going to commit crimes when they come to America is false.

Throughout the course of American history, the U.S. has chosen different immigrant groups to focus their pinpointed hate. For the first 100 years or so after the nation’s birth, there were no heavy restrictions on immigration. During those years, Irish, German and Chinese immigrants came in large numbers. Many Americans at the time didn’t approve of the Catholicism practiced by Irish and German immigrants. They were treated poorly as a result. The Chinese were stereotyped as prostitutes, criminals and job competition. Even though all three groups were largely disliked, the U.S.’s first major immigration restriction was placed only on the Chinese in the late 1800s.

But that was soon forgotten when attention turned to the floods of Italian and Eastern European immigrants. They were assumed to all be unintelligent, and so the government made all immigrants take a literacy test. The restrictions increased steadily and by 1928 the overall number of immigrants allowed in was decreased and quotas were established based on nationality. The number of immigrants from eastern Europe and Africa decreased dramatically. People from Asia, with the exception of Japan and the Philippines, could no longer legally reside in the U.S.

This is where the nation is headed once again.

The American adults, past and present, have set a terrible example for its youth. As the future of the country, teenagers can’t fall into the same cycle of hatred for immigrants as their parents. The xenophobia will not cease unless there is a shift in the mentality of the nation’s future, its young adults. That shift must happen, and, for the sake of our country, it must happen now.