Immigration is a subject near to my heart. For one, I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which has a large immigrant population. Fort Wayne has the largest Burmese immigrant population in the country. It also has many legal and illegal Latino immigrants. I have close friends who are illegal immigrants from Guatemala and could not imagine what my life would look like without them. I have seen the hope in families coming from violence-ridden villages in Burma who find refuge and stability in America.
Even though my Guatemalan and Burmese friends inspire me, there is a part of me that is very much concerned with the government’s ability implement an immigration policy that is consistent across the country. The authors of the article raise important questions. Who should be a citizen? How can one be a citizen? What characteristics define citizens? And which characteristics alienate someone from becoming citizens (636). Should the country define citizenship by the place in which he or she is born? Or is the community in which one invests their energy and resource the place of citizenship?
The authors of the article introduce a vitally important idea that helped me better understand the growing fears and frustrations that nations have when it comes to issues of citizenship. Globalization (638). As the world continues to becoming increasingly more connected it should not be a surprise to us that people will have loyalties that lie in multiple countries. My Guatemalan friends for instance, love their home country and have citizenship there. The only reason they came to the United States was to help their children have a chance of a better life than the one they could get in Guatemala. After living and working in the United States for over 10 years, this family now has a deep connection with their neighbors, friends, church, and community in which they have invested the last ten years of their lives.
I think that with the increase in globalization nations will have to readjust their concept of citizenship. With businesses having interests in multiple continents, and families investing money, time, and energy into multiple states, people no longer feel a sense of nationalism that once existed. I think that many in America are scared of the idea that they will have neighbors that look, sound, and act differently than themselves. I am hopefully however that as immigration increase, there will be less fear and ignorance and more acceptance for others who are different. I also hope that the government will find ways to treat everyone equally regardless of citizenship status. To be honest, most state governments find a way to get around citizenship laws in order to help people like Jesus and other immigrants who have become part of the communities that make up this great nation.