The United States is home to diverse people. Many immigrants have chosen to take great risks to reach the American land to pursue a new life, some just come for education opportunities, and others have families who have lived here for generations. As if it’s not enough for most immigrants to start from the rock bottom of the financial ladder and even endure inadequate jobs for long hours at poverty wages, the American society expects these immigrants to swiftly transition to a new culture, language, and land. Like a chameleon that quickly changes its skin color to adapt to a new circumstance. But unlike immigrants, a chameleon does not adapt to camouflage—but as a form of sticking out. In other words, they change color to express themselves. Due to being under great pressure to blend in and overcome tangible boundaries, many immigrants find themselves making desperate and reckless decisions—leading them to question their own identity and beliefs.
Walls. Fences. Gates. These are the tangible forms of boundaries present in life today, separating humans from other humans, sparing one group from interacting with the others. These ideological divisions cause apathy and ignorance and are not limited to physical forms. These fences also include the divisions between people and the divisions in oneself over an issue or topic. But the great ‘land of the free’, who takes pride of the “undeniable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” (US 1776), does not provide the same freedom for all. There’s a great lack of empathy and equality.
The United States is a country who elected an unexperienced business man for President. The same man who, in his presidential announcement speech, on June 16th of 2015, vowed to build a two-thousand-mile-long wall to stop Mexico from “sending people that have lots of problems.” He said, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” (para 11) Three of the statements had no basis in fact—the crime rate among first-generation immigrants is lower than that for native-born Americans—but Trump takes an expansive view of reality. The supporters of this bold ‘solution’ allowed the world to see how much inequality still prevails.
While some condemn immigration, a light at the end of the tunnel remains. In his array “What Does It Mean to Be an ‘American’?” (1990), Michael Walzer claims that the United States is different from other countries. He further explains this by stating that “It is a country of immigrants who, however grateful they are for this new place, still remember the old places” (592). That is, the United States is the coexistence to numerous cultures, religions, and races—also known as many-in-one. According to Walzer, no first-generation immigrant can fully embrace a new culture without keeping fragments of his or her ethnicities. His solution is to allow immigrants to embrace the American culture and combine it with their own.
After all, the beauty of the American society is the melting pot. Building a wall will not change the essence of the American society. Different ethnic groups are part of the American fabric—just like chameleons with a diversity of skin colors. Both Americans and immigrants have a similar goal: the American Dream. But due to racial prejudice and lack of communication, both groups have abstained empathy for each other. Until there are still ideological divisions, ignorance and apathy towards immigrants will remain.