Immigration and Welfare
The United States of America's official seal is inscribed with the quote “E Pluribus Unum.” Translated from the Latin, this phrase means “From Many, One.” Modern America is in fact one nation, built from many; many cultures, religions, and citizens from many different origins comprise the American polity. America is a nation of immigrants. The first immigrants to this country were fleeing religious persecution. Others have come escaping a life of poverty or political repression. Whatever the reason, immigrants come to America in hope of a better life. Despite America's strong immigrant tradition, the issue of membership in the American polity has been a contentious issue throughout our history. Chinese Exclusion, and the National Origins Quota System are merely two policies implemented with the express purpose of keeping foreigners out of America. Over time, anti-immigrant sentiment in America has been fueled by nativism and the desire to allow economic prosperity to benefit American citizens. While nativism has played an important role in determining American immigration policy, many modern-day arguments for a restrictive immigration policy are based on economic considerations. It is often claimed that immigrants take jobs away from citizens. Economic research has shown that modern-day immigrants tend to be lower skilled and have a lower economic performance than natives. As a result, the presence of a large number of immigrants does create greater job competition and lower wages for citizens in low-paying jobs. The desire to keep jobs available for American citizens has been a primary cause of existing restrictions on immigration.