Saturday, February 5, 2011

Foreigners Ability to Contribute?

Last week, I noticed a blog post about immigration and the right of movement. I found this blog post very interesting as I had been doing some research on the idea of immigration and the responsibilities of the citizen. The final point that was made within the blog post reiterated my same thoughts, that often times foreigners are deemed as foreign without giving them a proper chance to contribute to a society. The foreign label strips the person of their equal rights as human beings. This depiction of a human less than deserving of equal rights does not allow for people to even give them a chance of being respected and emphasizes the divide between a foreigner and a nation. With the issues of immigration so public within our own society, this idea raises a few questions: Can foreigners ever become a part of a nation? If so, how? What are the steps to allowing foreigners into a society without creating a divide between the citizens and the immigrants? Finally, if there are ways, where is the ending? How do we stop everyone from coming?

The last questions I am still having struggles answering, but in regard to the first couple I think there are a few issues that can be addressed regarding foreigners. First, there is the issue of perspectives. Nations want to keep their own identity and keep the security of their citizens in mind. This furthers the idea of the social contract and maintaining a political unity within a country. Citizens are proud of the success of their members and take pride in their country. These are contributing factors as to why foreigners would be interested in being a part of the country and why they would choose to move from their homes to some place unknown. It is through recognizing the foreigners perspectives that one can see why they chose to be there. Countries, like the United States, provide people with hope, a chance to succeed, and the possibility to contribute to society. Through first recognizing the human rights of foreigners, citizens can seem them as equal human being with the capacities similar to themselves. Once, this has been established, there must be some form of education that can teach the foreigners how to be a part of the nation. There are many differences that keep them apart, but through education, I am willing to say that foreigners will be more confident in trying to maintain a nation’s identity. If foreigners are willing and trying to contribute to the nation, the citizens will be more likely to accept them within their country. From acceptance, there will be a sense of respect and the people of the country will appreciate the originality that comes with foreigners while still identifying them as fellow citizens.

If this argument could be taken as valid, how is a country able to decide who would stay in their country? How can the nation be in accordance with the declaration of human rights, while maintaining a national identity?


  1. I have a little trouble identifying with your proposition of an education system for foreign immigrants. It seems to me that this sort of forced assimilation merely strips the immigrant of his or her identity in order for them to fit into some sort of cookie-cutter model of what it is to be, say, American. If anything, this education system should be focused on educating current citizens on the responsibilities of being a national power--including those binding us to build a nation on the foundation of tolerance.

  2. I think you're bringing up several questions here. First, there is the legal question of immigration: What laws does a country have to block or facillitate immigration? Second, there is the question of culture and society: Can someone who's immigrated to a foreign country ever feel.. un-foriegn?
    I think the United States is a particularly interesting case to study when addressing these questions, particularly the second one. Unlike many other countries I've visited and lived in, part of the US identity lies in diversity. Now, this diversity certainly does not always live up to the hype we give it sometimes, but it's also not to be ignored. For example, I'm from Texas, and there are many parts of my hometown that look, tast, feel, and sound exactly like parts of Mexico. Although there are some people opposed to this, it's what I've grown up with and I love it. So yes, I think it is possible--within certain societies-- to feel "at home" in a foreign country.. at least in a home community.

  3. I also find the idea of teaching immigrants how to be part of a nation a little odd. If the idea is that there should be a system in place that educates potential immigrants on the major customs, laws, and social conventions of a society, I would agree with that. However, I do not know that teaching someone how to belong to a group or society is quite possible unless that group intends to violate some of the very human rights that the U.S. appears to value so highly.

    In response to your question about national identity, I would say that national identity as the pride and culture of the society in question is not likely to disappear all together so much as evolve in a way that may actually be better in the long run. The fact is that no country started with all of its current traditions set in stone, and most of them will have new traditions within the next twenty years regardless of immigration. In terms on national identity as the way that other nations or peoples view that country, it may be that change is for the better in this case as well. Of course, that would depend on the condition of the society and how it treats the individuals that pursue citizenship.

  4. I think this is a very interesting idea... When does one become no longer foreign? In some ways a person always retains their nationality to the point of being forever a foreigner, yet in other ways they can very well be considered a citizen. I think that this is extremely interesting and I have not given it much thought. I think Sarah brings up an interesting point about the inner communities that form, but then my question is, must they have a place that feels like their old home in their new home to not feel foreign? I wish I had answers to these questions!


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