Contact Us    

All of us have a stake in changes to our immigration laws.

by Michael H. Thomson
August 16, 2006

Bookmark and Share
A headline in the Washington Post recently declared that there were over one million immigrants living in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Many of these immigrants  are from India and south Asia. It was also reported that most are highly educated. In Loudoun County, Virginia, the home of the idyllic village of Paeonian Springs, one in five (20%) of the population is an immigrant.
Driving east from Paeonian Springs to the nearby town of Leesburg it is impossible to miss signs of the influx. On Sunday evening, my wife and I drove into Leesburg to visit our favorite barbeque joint. By accident, on the way, we noticed a Vietnamese restaurant. It is very difficult for me to drive past a Vietnamese restaurant without pulling in. This one was no exception.
Xuan Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant was a very pleasant surprise given the spontaneity and impulsiveness of our visit. There were items on the menu that I have not found anywhere else except in Vietnamese homes. I was very pleased indeed. Speaking briefly to the proprietor, I discovered that she was originally from Central Vietnam and arrived on these shores during the first wave of Vietnamese immigration in 1975.
Back to the immigration discussion – for about an hour, Xuan Saigon enriched the lives of my wife and I. This is a simple analogy, with the point being that overall most of our lives are enriched by the diversity and talents given to this country by our millions of immigrants.
As of publication time, 35 million people living in this country are immigrants. That's 12.4 percent of our population. All of us know immigrants. Some of us come from families who recently immigrated and all of us – including Native Americans - are descended from immigrants.
There would be no United States if people had not taken the risk to immigrate here. I did some genealogical research for a friend of mine a few years ago and discovered that his forbears were Swiss. Most of us assume that Switzerland is this beautiful mountainous country with no problems except where to put the world's money. This wasn't always the case. For numerous political reasons during the 1700's quite a number of Swiss wanted to "get out of Dodge." Deceived by pamphlets advertising the alpine climate and beauty of eastern South Carolina two hundred Swiss arrived at Beech Island on the Savannah River. That first summer forty of this original contingent died.
This is one story. There are millions of stories about the deprivations and risks people have taken as part of their immigration experience. These collective experiences have become part of our national heritage. Our laws, attitudes, and culture are influenced by our immigrant experience.
Currently our population is involved in a national debate over immigration. Undoubtedly, laws will be passed that all of us will have to live with for years.
On the one hand, we as a people have to decide how secure we want our borders - that currently are full of sieves flowing with illegal immigrants.
On the other hand we have to avoid destroying the avenue that makes us who we are – a diverse, strong, imaginative, and bold population of risk takers – a country of immigrants...

Comments (1)

Post a Comment

Brooks from Piedmont North Carolina writes:
August 16, 2006
Mike, makes a very good point when he notes that we all are immigrants. It seems to me that prejustice is still rampant based on the color of skin and the religious affiliation. It is a same that not everyone can be like Mike in his encounter with the immigrants from Viet Nam. As Americans we have the duty to clean up our acts and to learn to accept people for who they are, not where they came from. We need to also understand that all religions stand for something good. Zealots in any religion represent the worst of that group. Thanks Mike for showing that we can reach out to others who are just a little different than we are.

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

RSS Feed for Michael H. Thomson: RSS Feed for Michael H. Thomson
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Michael H. Thomson
Morning Joe
MSNBC's recovery from Imus.
by Michael H. Thomson, 1/30/08
While We Were Sleeping...
India has emerged as an education giant.
by Michael H. Thomson, 1/2/08
Christmas Entertainment
Someone's going to say 'Ho, Ho, Ho,' and someone else is going to get a bundle of switches...
by Michael H. Thomson, 12/19/07
Don Imus Returns
Will the show be the same?
by Michael H. Thomson, 12/5/07
Independent Populist
Is Lou Dobbs anointing himself protector of the "common" people?
by Michael H. Thomson, 11/21/07
Change in the Political Air
But what kind of change will it be?
by Michael H. Thomson, 11/7/07
Made in China - revisited
When are Americans going to pay serious attention to China?
by Michael H. Thomson, 10/24/07
» Complete List (88)

RSS Feed for Michael H. Thomson: RSS Feed for Michael H. Thomson

Recently Published
View Article Remembering a Lesser-Known Carroll
A tribute to Carroll Spinney
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/13/19
A Godwink Defined
Making sense of the coincidences of life
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/6/19
Making Deposits in the Blessing Bank
A grateful heart is a great investment
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/27/19
A Shepherd in Sneakers
Celebrating the ministry of Fred Rogers
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/19
Feeding Our Nightmares
The dangerous diet of late night news
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/15/19
Saluting Puget Sound Honor Flights
Pledging allegiance to our Veterans
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/8/19
The Tale of the Flameless Taper
An All-Saints Day Reminder
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/1/19

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2019 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top