What does it mean to be an immigrant in the United States? American treatment of immigrants and migrants should reflect the nation’s core…

What does it mean to be an immigrant in the United States?


PromptA central theme of the book is the lived experience of immigrants/migrants in the United States. What does it mean to be an immigrant in the United States? What forces affect that particular mode of life?

Although it may be easy and even understandable to relegate this question to mere politics, insofar as legislative policy, that belies the underlying importance of immigration: If immigrants are necessarily displaced, uprooted, or even legislatively unwelcome by simple virtue of their \”homelessness,\” how do these realities affect the way we treat them? Before questions of policy or law arise, what should our default position be  toward the immigrant? 

In this prompt—taking what you\’ve read in the book, your experiences, and your guiding philosophies—paint us a picture of how you believe we (residents of the United States) should treat immigrants and migrants. What would that look like? What are obstacles we need to overcome to meet your vision? What are good things we do now that could continue? 

Common Reader: How Americans Should Treat Immigrants


American treatment of immigrants and migrants should reflect the nation’s core values and history. America is known as a country of immigrants. Unfortunately, the country’s immigration system is broken, with divisions on how America should treat immigrants (Jawetz, 2019).

Like any other country, the US should protect its borders and control the number of people entering the country. However, Americans should not forget the traditions and history of a nation of immigrants. I believe the immigration system needs reforms to restore the rule of law to ensure fair and human treatment of the immigrants.

Considering that the US will always be a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, the government should ensure a workable immigration system. The country cannot be a nation of laws if the laws undermine its foundational history. The system should acknowledge the need for movement and the importance of defined borders.

The guidelines should be clear, and the immigration policies should confine the two American visions. The primary goal is to ensure fair, human, and workable solutions and eliminate the immigration restrictions that demonize immigrants. The current system is typical of how immigration restrictions in America are dysfunctional and cruel.

America should humanely treat immigrants, upholding its decency, honor, and values. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security enforced a rule that allows the detention of immigrant children at the border indefinitely. This rule undermines the protection of immigrants and their children. The detention centers struggle to ensure access to health, treatment from trauma, and other services that foster immigrants’ health and wellbeing (Cullen, 2019). The facilities are also often overcrowded.

Humane treatment of immigrants should not be a contentious issue, and the government and immigrant protection agencies should consider conditions at detention facilities and ensure they are humane. The government should also find alternative solutions for overcrowding and poor conditions, like releasing undocumented immigrants under supervision. It is unfair to separate families, put children in overcrowded detention facilities, and deprive them of basic needs like vaccination, soap, and blankets.

Americans should protect all immigrants that come across the border and avoid politicizing the issue, which adds to the infringement of human rights. Immigrants in the US have reported emotional trauma that affects their health. Humane treatment of immigrants should be non-negotiable, and government officials should collaborate and negotiate to protect immigrants, strengthening the country’s democracy and success.

Americans should ensure the immigration system is generous and well-functioning to respond to the country’s changing needs. America should also develop a humane asylum and refugee system that commits and honors American’s history as a nation of immigrants (Jawetz, 2019). The system should ensure the humanitarian protection of immigrants.

It is also vital to ensure proportionality and accountability in enforcing immigration guidelines and policies. There should also be immigration courts to render fair and just outcomes regarding sanctions and opportunities for relief. A clear path to citizenship for deserving, undocumented immigrants will ensure that people no longer have to enter America outside the law.

Some of the barriers and obstacles to a fair, human, and well-functioning immigration system include a closed and restrictive system, static immigration quotas, politicization of the issue, dysfunction process of awarding citizenship to undocumented immigrants, limited green cards for the migrants, lack of entrepreneurs’ immigration category, and differential treatment of immigrants from different countries (Bier, 2018).

In addition, Americans consider immigrants from some countries, like European countries, as more essential than immigrants from other countries, especially in South America.

However, most residents support the fair and humane treatment of immigrants, especially children in detention centers. Undocumented immigrants in the US also have the right to freedom of speech and religion, the right to privacy, and other fundamental rights like other US citizens. These things should continue to support and ensure a workable immigration system.

There is also a need for reform to create a clear path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. The people should continue to support the current government that considers reforms of the immigration system a priority. The open society foundations should continue to support immigrants’ access to legal services and culture change. The benefits of immigrants outweigh the cost, and Americans should support immigrants and help them integrate into society seamlessly.   


Bier, D. J. (2018, July 10). Why the legal immigration system is broken: A shortlist of problems. Cato Institute. https://www.cato.org/blog/why-legal-immigration-system-broken-short-list-problems

Jawetz, T. (2019, July 22). Restoring the rule of law through a fair, humane, and workable immigration system. Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2019/07/22/472378/restoring-rule-law-fair-humane-workable-immigration-system/

Cullen, J. (2019, September 6). Our treatment of immigrants should reflect our values. AAFP American Academy of Family Physicians. https://www.aafp.org/news/blogs/leadervoices/entry/20190906lv-detentionhealth.html