The 2010 U.S. Census revealed unique data on the Hispanic population, and one thing it revealed was that, for the first time, growth in the Hispanic population came not from immigration, but from births. This has hopefully made many realize that a large part of the Hispanic community is bilingual and bicultural. Professor Dowell Myers of USC wrote in the New York Times of The Next Immigration Challenge, which is not to seal off the border, but to assimilate immigrants who are already in the U.S. As he aptly puts it, Show me your papers should be replaced with Welcome to English class.
Professor Myers’ essay has a focus on public policy, in particular the importance of not slashing the budgets for immigration integration programs, but there is an important overall focus of the argument. In moving away from keeping foreigners out and moving towards integrating them into American society, Americans focus less on the harm that immigrants bring and more on the benefits of having them in the country. It is important to realize that most immigrants are here and not going anywhere, and thus it is in the best interest of the public and private sector to make sure that they are fully able to contribute to American society. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently launched a campaign to promote citizenship among green card holder ; this is a step in the right direction.