I think people who come here legally and live and work here are great. We have a problem now, though, with people who are here illegally, work without paying taxes and then use public services, such as schools and hospitals. Some of our states are going bankrupt from this.
My friends think more or less the same way I do. People are welcome to come, but they should come legally.
We always need people to come here, because we have a shortage of some kinds of workers. I don’t care if more or fewer people come here, as long as we have enough. I also like my country’s traditional role as a place for refugees to settle, although we don’t have room for all the refugees in the world.
However, there are a few things I don’t like:
I don’t like being required to stop and choose between English and Spanish every time I access a phone menu, use an ATM or do something similar. The percentage of Hispanics who do not speak survival English in the US is very tiny, and in my area there are almost none, so there’s no reason to aggravate us with this choice all the time. They don’t provide this privilege to speakers of any other language, no matter how many of them there are in a given city.
I don’t like it when one ethnic group clumps together and creates a community where nobody has to learn English if they don’t want to. In my area this can be done by Poles and Arabs. Those people who don’t adapt don’t live full lives here, but they get along as well as they want to, I guess.
I don’t like it when a group comes here, balls together into a tight community, is intolerant of the majority religion and culture, but expects the majority to conform to their own religious and cultural norms – not just respect them, actually conform to them. In one part of my area some Muslims cause trouble in ESL classes and in other ways because of this. However, if you go to the next county, the Muslims live among the general population and behave just fine.
We have some immigrants who think that dating and having sex are the same thing, and they cause a lot of trouble for various people because of this.
Some immigrants bring their centuries-old family vendettas here with them, and this causes trouble on the street and in schools. In some groups there are actually kids who have been raised from childhood to believe that their purpose is to murder the great-great-grandson of Mr. XYZ. Most of them drop this eventually, but occasionally there’s a homocide.
Ours is not always a tolerant society and, sadly, discrimination against immigrants (mainly if they are poor, as I’ve said before) is only too common and usually born of prejudice, fear (of the unknown?) and plain ignorance. Some people don’t know why they reject immigrants – they just fiercely do so. Others perceive them as a threat (to their jobs, to their safety – most of these ‘second-class’ :x citizens are bound to be criminals or some such. If not, why would they leave their country in the first place?). :evil:
The concept of patriotism is something that I have always been at a loss to grasp. Furthermore, I don’t understand how you can feel a country to be in your possession and that you have more rights than others to live in it (this sentence limps, somehow). Some (probably well versed in politics) will think that these views are idealistic and simplistic. Well, I’m sorry for them, because it means that they need to complicate things more than they already are! My thinking may be influenced by the fact that I was an immigrants’ daughter myself, but I like to think this isn’t the only factor.
Now the direct answer to your interesting question, Spencer, is yes. Not only do I like immigrants, but I/we need them – and not solely for economic and demographic reasons, but also and for example from a social and cultural point of view.
If only we all saw them as fellow earth dwellers who bring a piece of the world to our doorstep and give us a broader and more human perspective of it!
I agree with You, I don’t understand how anyone can forbid me to go somewhere as a free man on planet Earth.
Just because he was born there, or just arrived a couple years before I’d like to go?
I think everybody deserves one chance at least, and if he skrews up, that’s it, throw him out,finito.
For example, I’d say: I want to see New York!
(It’s not the truth, if I had that much of money I’d rather go to Costa Rica)
So first I have to pay a lot of money for the visa, they think it over, decide, and 'cause I’m young, most likely reject it.
The money I paid is gone,and I don’t have to worry about asking for visa again for two years. (Or more, I don’t know exactly)
I’m not a criminal, I’m a good man (kind of :)), still, there are some countries where I wouldn’t be welcomed.
It’s all right, I can live with it,especially now we’re allowed to
crawl all over in Europe, but again, what if I’d like to go and play with kangaroos in Australia?
Jumping up and down till I get tired and go swimming with sharks?
I couldn’t ,'cause they’d say: We don’t want no immigrants walking up and down our deserts, jumping around with our own kangaroos,fooling around with sharks, no thanks.
So if I still want to see those little creatures of God, I have to go to the darn zoo again,
so much about freedom,huh?
I feel that if we were all more accepting of immigrants, there would be fewer problems. Our countries were already filled with lazy people and troublemakers, even before the first immigrants arrive. What we need to do is show love towards these people and then you’ll start to see positive effects take place. They often stay together in groups because they feel more comfortable that way. Why don’t we go out of our way to make them feel comfortable, and then you’ll find that they won’t all stick together. Love yourselves and your family, that’s great. Try loving thy neighbour and thy immigrant as well.
There is a tendency among some people in any country to think that all the immigrants are pure, innocent people and just want to be accepted by the larger society. People like this think that if the immigrants stick together in a community, behave nastily toward the local population or in any other way have or cause trouble, that it must be the fault of the majority population. People who think this way usually imagine they are being respectful and charitable toward the immigrants, but this belief is actually a form of arrogance and narcissism. The immigrants are adults, make up their own minds and behave the way they want to.
I’ve got news for you: Among any immigrant population there are many people who don’t mix with the majority society simply because they don’t want to. They hate your religion, your form of government, your language, your culture, your personal customs or morality. Many of them simply hate everything about you, don’t want to be part of your society, and don’t even want to be your friend. No amount of love will change their minds.
I can see this in my own classes and on the street around me. In my area the most insular people are usually Poles and Arabs. Many of the Poles just generally believe that they, their culture, their language and their society are superior, and that they have nothing to gain by having American friends or living near Americans. Many of the Arabs have those same feelings, along with a disrespect for the majority religion of Christianity and a disgust with the way most people here live their lives. (Some Arabic women have actually told me that Americans should start murdering their daughters if they shame the family. Then American society will “improve”.) I have a Chaldean (Iraqi Christian) friend who, in four years, has made no other American friends besides me. She just dislikes the way they live, so she doesn’t socialize with them. This situation continues no matter how much affection Americans show her.
In Europe the problem must be that much worse, because in many European countries people are not very open and friendly (I don’t mean hostile, but just not friendly), so it’s hard to mix and make friends with them. In the Czech Republic, or in Latin America, you can make a new friend in a day. In Germany, and some other countries, you have to spend years chipping away at everyone’s stone shell before you have friends. (I am never more lonesome than when I’m with a group of Germans. In fact, I’m more lonesome with Germans than I am when I’m alone!)
Conchita, this is because your society is based on ethnicity. It makes a bit more sense when your society is based on an idea.
Spencer, it’s all about whether people are likely to go home or not. Germans who want to visit New York don’t need a visa. That’s because almost all Germans go home after their vacation is finished. With people from many other places, who have no substantial personal ties to their own countries, there’s a better chance that they won’t go home.
Look at au pairs. I get a lot of them in my classes. The ones from Germany, Sweden, Finland and other countries go home. If an au pair is from Thailand, there’s about a 50 percent chance she’ll go home. However, I have never seen an au pair from Eastern Europe go home if she is under 30. They just find ways to stay and stay and stay and stay. They become very good citizens and do all kinds of things they couldn’t do in their own countries (like go to university or get a job), but it’s just predictable that they won’t go home. (The ones who do go home are those who already have careers established and are just here to learn English and maybe find a husband, because they are over 25 and considered “too old to marry” in their own countries.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy if those East European girls and some of the Thai girls stay here. I’m crazy about them! But you should know that some people are not allowed in because our government knows they almost certainly won’t go home.
I think you have to justify this sweeping generalisation, Jamie. I would also like to put the other point of view to balance this comment about the Germans:
I first went to Germany just 10 years after the end of World War 2 to work in an office to put into practice the German I’d learnt at school fully expecting that I as an English person would not exactly be flavour of the month. To my delight I was made extremely welcome everywhere at work and in people’s homes, was invited up for a drink on my birthday by one of the directors of the company where I was employed as a filing clerk and invited to stay with the family of a fellow clerk.
All I say is that’s my experience and beware the sweeping generalization.
Jamie, I?m a bit astonished and amused. You complain having to chip away stone shells. Why? I think one can not always match to a group of people because of, for instance, different interests. I myself feel ignored by you! Why is that? Might be I had came across to you in any way you don?t like or if not you don?t like perhaps you only don?t know to begin anything with my way! Or you may have any other reason. But you can?t say that my way is a generell German way. I think you can communicate with Torsten who declares to be a European indeed but is a native German.
Also I think, if I came to any other place where I were not native I should use some time to make friends. In my opinion that hasn?t to do with any nation, it has more to do with the concrete persons you try to join to. Perhaps it is a German attribute to be a bit sceptic. But did you write about friendship like Blood Brotherhood? Having a look at the American Historie I can find some occasions at which your grown up society had not been pretty kind. And actually you also have the same problems with community as every other else have too. Please don?t misunderstand me. I only want to advice that not every earth habitant can be a Blood Brother to each other. We only can accept each other and don?t try to fight against another.
P.S.: I?ve read most of your posts and think you have a lot of interesting ideas like every other else at this site.
My experience with Germans and Germany has been similar to Alan’s. And I agree with Michael. I don’t find Germans to be unfriendly at all! It seems to me that it also takes time to build a “deep” friendship in the States. Just like in Germany. For me the biggest difference is that the initial contact tends to be easier in the US. It’s probably true that it’s more likely to be me who strikes up a conversation with a stranger here (for example while waiting in a line or in a waiting room), but people usually respond in a friendly way and chatting isn’t a problem at all. Of course chatting with somebody requires a common language and it’s easiest to chat in your native language.
Native English speakers living in Germany are often criticized for banding together and not mixing much with the general population. Many learn very little German even though they live here for years. This is most noticeable among the Americans who are here with the Army or Department of Defense. The bases are like “Little Americas”. Those that live off base socialize mainly with other native English speakers (including expats from Britain and the US who are here on job assignments with their companies). Sometimes I’m absolutely astounded by some of the things that these people have heard or been told on base — things about Germany that are sometimes so far from reality that it’s laughable.
Of course I’ve noticed differences between the US and Germany. But on the other hand, I also notice regional differences within the US. The differences can be very interesting, though. And, after all, don’t we say “variety is the spice of life”?
Jamie, what if the majority of the population are more or less immigrants? What do you think makes people ‘behave nastily toward the local population’ and how many of the ‘immigrants’ show this behaviour (however you define it)?
So why are those people then giving up everything they had at home to leave for a country where a lot of people think like you?
Jamie, what about the rest of immigrants - the Russians, Ukrainians, Italians you name it - are they ‘insular people’ too? Are their kids and grand kinds insular too? How many Americans of Polish descent do still speak Polish and regards themselves as Poles who don’t want to be part of the US?
Is this kind of thinking and behaviour typical for Poles only? Maybe there is a small percentage of people in every nation who think like this?
Jamie, thanks to the Internet you can identify those Germans who want to make friends with people from around the world and you can establish a relationship even before you physcially go to Germany. After all, you don’t need 80+ million friends, just pick those you can get along with easily and concentrate on them.[YSaerTTEW443543]
:o Where on earth did you hear that? This amounts to thinking that all human beings are pure, innocent people. I think we all agree that there is good and bad anywhere – it may be an old clich?, but true nonetheless.
I hope she’s not the same one who doesn’t want to have anything to do with Arabs. She would tend to be on the racist side. But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised: racism is present, and perhaps even rampant, everywhere. Why would immigrants or foreigners be any different?
Jamie, could you please explain what you mean by that for me?
I’m positive this has more to do with our personal attitude when we visit a foreign country or in our relations with foreigners. Spanish people are said to be very open and friendly, and yet it was very hard for me to make friends at first. I know too well that my attitude was negative, because my expectations hadn’t been realistic. In Germany and England, where people are said to be more reserved, I hadn’t had this problem at all.
Although I think Jamie is perfectly ready to defend his sight of this problem himself I?d like to tell you a negativ experience I had had myself:
A few ten years ago I had worked as a town gardener for the town where I?m living now. It happend that a family from Libanon begged for political asylum here. The family had been parents and two sons. One of the sons had been in the age of 20 years and the other had been in the age of 12 years. As there had been no free residence for them they had been lodged in a community residence at first. After a few weeks there had became a residence free for them and I and two other town gardeners had got the instruction to fetch their properties into their new home. When we arrived their community residence there had been the 12 years old boy around although no one of them had been allowed to leave the town (a town with 8000 habitants only). So the boy commanded us what we had to transport -you must not believe that he carried one thing only. Between their properties had been a big plastic sack ful of marihuana and at its bottom I saw a bag ful of poppy-blossoms. Later I told that to our police but nothing happend. Arriving their new residence an other young boy immediatly came, had a look at the properties to our family and noticed all into his notebook. The family never had an interest to learn the German language ever and after two years they had no problem to go back to the Libanon. That had not been the only curious case I experienced with immigrants. I?m not a NAZI and I also like to be with people from abroad but this and some other experiences made me carefully too.
I also have alot of pleasant proficiences with immigrants. I just wanted to show an example that it has some more aspects than it could be interesting only having to do with immigrants. In this sense I also understand Jamie.
There you go again, Alan. I used the word “many” in order to qualify my statement and stress that it is not always true, and not true everywhere in Europe, but you still immediately accused me of a making a “sweeping generalization”. This is a bad habit of yours. I suppose that if I wrote that “in some parts of some particular countries in Europe, where people’s customs are different from those in my country, people like me believe that a certain number of the local population are at times harder to make friends with than many people in some other places,” you would still accuse me of making a sweeping generalization. I think you make sweeping generalizations about my generalizations.
Yes, people have different experiences. I have been inside immigrant and guest worker circles in Germany, and even the people I met who liked and wanted to embrace the local culture and language still had what they (and what Germans!) described as “no human contact with Germans”. Even the German social workers who dealt with immigrants complained about the problem.
I also have daily contact with Germans here in the US who claim they don’t want to move back specifically because (according to them) people are colder there than they are here. I was just told it again today by someone, and a German retiree I ran into brought it up last week.
These experiences are all highly individual, I suppose, but if so many people discuss it – even Germans themselves – there has to be something to it.
First of all, where do you think in Europe a 25 year old girl is considered as too old to get married in her own country?
That’s not true, trust me, whoever told that to you.
If someone stays there, that’s because in the States she can have a much better life than in her country.
When I said I wanted to take a look at the cangaroos, I didn’t mean it like a tourist. What if I want to live there?
I wouldn’t even take no guns, and kill the natives by hundreds, or anything, I’d melt in the society, I’d work hard, pay tax,be one of the good citizens.
If I turned to be a criminal, or whatever you say, (one of those bad immigrants, who doesn’t learn the language, make friends, or go to church every sunday)
then don’t give me citizenship, easy as that.
Let me tell you a funny thing: people who make decision about foreigners coming in the country are mostly immigrants as well. Hey, almost everybody’s a child of an immigrant!(Or two )
People are only affraid of competition, and if more people come, and want to work harder, that could be scary I guess.
When you said the government knows that Hungarians want to stay and work, hell, what’s the wrong with that?
You didn’t talk about criminals, and wellphare-takers.
If someone from Romania comes here, and work harder than me,and do the job I wouldn’t do anyway, so what?
Listen, I really have no intention having even a day in the States, but the fact that I couldn’t go if I wanted upsets me a little.
It’s like when someone says: Don’t bring granpa to the party.
Grandpa hasn’t been to no party for about 40 years, still feels insulted a bit.
By the way, when Hungary let the nato flying up and down freely, Bush promised he was gonna cancel the visa for us.
How’s that for the principle you mentioned?
Sounds like a deal to me, and dealing is always about money.
Are you talking about a society where most people’s ANCESTORS were immigrants, or one where the majority of the local population really are immigrants?
How many of the immigrants show this behavior depends on where you find them. In the areas where people have clustered together very densely, you find a lot of it. In places where the immigrants live among the rest of the population, it’s not as pronounced. I teach classes in what is called the largest Arabic city outside the Middle East, and there I constantly have to worry about what kind of trouble might start in the class. On the other end of the metropolis, I teach people of the same nationalities, religions and cultures without any problem at all. They live in the same neighborhoods among people of every ethnicity, or among native-born Americans, and they like it here.
Well, they do tell me this, because, contrary to the impression you now have of me, they consider me more tolerant and understanding of immigrants than most other people are.
Some of them come because the rest of their family have come. You’ll get a more adventurous, risk-taking family member here who then brings other family members here later. The relatives who come later may not like it as much or be as interested in being American as the first relatives who came.
Many of the younger ones come because they can get something here that they can’t get in their own countries. Some are very intelligent people who were not allowed to go to university in their own countries, but in the US they can. Some of them can’t find decent work in their countries, so they come here for that.
There are also people who come here, join their families, hate the US, but stay here long enough to get US citizenship, just so that they won’t have to apply for a visa every time whey want to visit their families.
There are still others who have been treated horribly in their own countries, and they come here because they don’t have to worry about outrageous discrimination or genocide. They come here for more freedom, but they don’t like the society that allows them that freedom.
Then there is one of the most common reasons: They can make more money here.
In my area, Russians, Ukrainians, Italians, etc., are not insular. Those of their kids who are born here are not immigrants, so they are not part of this discussion. (I do, however, know Middle Eastern families who will not let their American children assimilate to American society, travel or even choose their own spouses.)
The Poles are a little special here. Probably the majority of those who were born here – and are therefore not immigrants – are part of the rest of the population. However, there is a large, visible minority of them who wave their “Polish” nationality around, even if they can’t speak Polish and don’t even know that much about Poland. They hang out in their Polish neighborhoods, put Polish eagle stickers on their cars, hold all kinds of festivals that don’t exist in Poland, hold polka masses at church (I am not joking about that!), and find various ways to snub people whom they don’t perceive as Polish. Interestingly enough, real Polish people don’t usually mix with them.
Even though almost all of the Irish have become just part of the ordinary American population, there is a visible minority of third- and fourth-generation Irish-Americans who behave much the way these “Poles” do. In my area, I don’t notice other groups doing this. Certainly the third-generation Hungarians, Lebanese, Armenians, Germans, etc., don’t act like this.
Yes, of course other groups can do this, but in my area I notice it mainly among the Poles. Germans here, on the other hand – and there are many of them now – get into the mainstream of American life rather quickly, as a rule.
Torsten, I sense that you have a much looser definition of immigrants than people in the US do. For us, an immigrant is a person who has immigrated to this country. The term does not apply to a person who was born here, even if his parents were immigrants.
There’s a lot to answer because of the responses to my inflammatory post. I’ll have to go outside and take a breath now.
DISCLAIMER:No statement made in this post is intended to apply to all members of any group discussed. Any perception of sweeping generalization is in the mind of the reader only, and is not intended by the author of this post.
I have not known many Americans but that ones I had known seem to be evidences for your assumption. For native citizens of the green M?nsterland or Bavaria, for instance, the American way seems to be flippant. If you should go to the Rheinland or Ruhrgebiet I think you would be astonished about their skills of communication at every place. The only problem might be the native language!
Spencer, in the Czech Republic as late as the mid-1990s, women over 25 were considered old to find husbands. That age has inched up a bit, so that now they can be 26 or 27, but their chances of finding someone after that age are better in Western countries than they are in their own country. I lived there, and I saw numerous women emigrate for that reason. One woman who liked to travel a lot told me her family and friends said her next trip should be her last. When I asked why, she just said, “Because I’m 23 years old.” I asked, “So, what?” and her reply was, “Who will take me?!” The idea was that she was approaching 25, and her chances were diminishing. She was not the first or last case I saw. People from a few other countries tell me it’s the same where they live.
The most amazing thing to me about this whole thread is that I was the first one who answered your original post, and said I love immigrants, that I’m glad they come, that I think my country needs them, and that if they come legally I’m happy that they do. Later I pointed out that some people who immigrate to another country don’t like or want to be part of the society of that country, that some of those people don’t care to mix with the local population, and that it’s not the fault of the local population. Just for explaining that some immigrants’ insularity is their own fault, I’m getting attacked as if I were anti-immigrant, which I’ve already pointed out I’m not.
Sure, I make generalizations. Everyone makes them. In fact, people have to make them, or they couldn’t function. However, there is a difference between a generalization and a sweeping stereotype, and sometimes you pretend you don’t know that distinction.