Published On: Wed, Aug 3rd, 2016



By Carlo Barbieri


It would truly be impossible to list every reason why people from other nations want to immigrate to the United States.

Many people— be they native-born Americans, naturalized citizens or people hoping to make the USA their home — cite the 1883 poem written by Emma Lazarus that’s inscribed in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The second stanza contains a famous explanation of why America is the goal of so many immigrants, a section of verse that virtually everyone knows by heart:

“…….. Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The process of finding a way into the United States properly and appropriately must be maintained, particularly at this time in history when so many policies, processes and wrong-headed thoughts threaten the legal immigration system.

Maintaining the proper system of allowing people into the US legally, one that regulates the number, behavior and motives of those entering the nation, should center on regulations and not on philosophy.

One thing is certain. Despite its flaws, its economic travails, its political disagreements and other troubles, the USA is still the greatest nation on earth. This is why so many people want to cross its borders. Too often, people see others coming in illegally and not being held responsible for their actions. This must be controlled and stopped, or the whole system will be threatened.
It should be a relatively uncomplicated process to enter the US legally. The nation provides 62 different types of visas, which translate into some 200 means of coming over the border legally.

In 2014, a total of 1,016,518 people legally migrated to the US from around the world. Of these, 98,410 came from Africa, from such places as Ethiopia (12,300), Kenya (5,884) Somalia (5,190), Cameroon (3,943), the Congo (4,347), Egypt (11,477), Morocco (3,605), Ghana (7,115), Liberia (3,874) and Nigeria (12,828).

From the Caribbean area came 46,679 from Cuba, 44,577 from the Dominican Republic, 15,274 from Haiti and 19,026 from Jamaica.

From Central (178,455) and South America (73,742), immigrants came from El Salvador (19,273), Guatemala (10,238), Mexico (134,052), Brazil (10,429), Colombia (18,175), Peru (10,960), Guyana (6,267), Paraguay (10,606) and Venezuela (8,427). A total of 11,586 filed legally across the border from Canada.

Coming from China to the US were 76,089 immigrants and 20,565 arrived from Korea. Others from Asia included 10,527 from Afghanistan, 14,645 from Bangladesh, 77,908 from India, 11,615 from Iran, 12,357 from Nepal, 18,612 from Pakistan and 11,144 from Burma.

The Philippines dispatched nearly 50,000 to the US along with 30,283 from Vietnam, 2,913 from Armenia, 19,153 from Iraq, 3,805 from Israel, 5,187 from Jordan, 3,245 from Lebanon, 3,540 from Syria, 3,834 from Turkey and 3,492 from Yemen.

Entering from Europe were 2,015 from Belarus, 2,981 from Bulgaria, 5,989 from Poland, 2,341 from the Republic of Moldova, 3,246 from Romania, 9,079 from the Russian Federation, 7,752 from Ukraine, 12,225 from the United Kingdom, 3,828 from Albania, 3,298 from Italy, 2,928 from Spain, 4,284 from France and 5,584 from Germany. Arriving from Australia and New Zealand were 3,605.

To discern why men, women and children from around the world still see the US as the place Ronald Reagan called “the shining city on the hill,” let us discuss some of the reasons why immigrants so badly want to make America their new home:

1.To escape persecution based on race, religion, nationality or political opinion. This is known either as seeking asylum or refugee status.

2. To escape conflict or violence. This is of particular concern right now when so many countries are torn by war and the refugee problem is so severe.

3. To find refuge after being displaced due to environmental factors. This would include natural disasters, erosion and other environmental and climatic factors that threaten lives. As this is a newer phenomenon, many countries are still trying to determine how to respond to this growing issue.

4. To seek superior healthcare. The United States is very generous in providing the hungry and sick from other nations with food and medicine. We even bring it to them in their nations.

5. To escape poverty, perhaps the most commonly assumed reason for immigration.

6. To offer more opportunities to both adults and children. Parents sometimes make the difficult decision to migrate so their children can benefit from superior education and plentiful jobs.

7 – Improved tax situation. While most Americans must pay taxes, these levies generally take less out of a person’s paycheck than is drawn from people in other nations. And we in the US get back benefits of our tax money, such as roads, schools, transportation and a generally safe and stable infrastructure.

8 – GDP (gross domestic product). In the United States, gross domestic product is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced during a specific time period. Put simply, GDP is a broad measurement of a nation’s overall economic activity. And the US is still way ahead of everyone in this department.

As we consider the whys and wherefores of immigration, let’s try to remember that we are talking about real people who made a major decision to uproot their lives and start all over again in a new and unknown place. After all, isn’t making the connection with other citizens what being a member of the global community is all about?

About the Author

- My name is Carlo Barbieri, an entrepreneur, civic activist and a leader of many organizations associated with Brazil. A native of Brazil myself, I am currently the CEO of Oxford Group, a firm composed of many international consulting and trading companies. I am also a founding member of the Brazilian Business Group and founding member and Past President of the Brazil Club. In addition, I serve as a Board member of the Deerfield Chamber of Commerce. I have served as a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Brazil Partnership. Past President of the Rotary Club – Boca Raton West for the 2014-2015 term, I have also been Vice President and Professor of 2Grow – Human Development. An Ambassador of Barry University in Brazil, I am the former President of the Black Fire Bull Steak House. I have also presided over a number of organizations such as the Brazilian Association of Trading Companies (ABECE), Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, Brazil-Australia Chamber of Commerce, Brazil-Dominican Republican Chamber of Commerce; director of the Trade Center of the State of São Paulo, Brazilian Association of Freight Forwarders and Brazilian Association of Banks. I was also a local Council member for the Consulate General of Brazil in Miami, for the 2013-2017 term.

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