<<Prop. 187 Table of Contents |   <<Back to Materials |   <<Back to Assignments


Quotes on Immigration


“If our state is illustrative of anything, it’s that illegal immigration is seriously out of control and consider these statistics that the California Department of Justice has provided:  98 percent of all illegal immigrants who are deported for committing felonies in California will eventually return to the state, and of that number, 40 percent will commit crimes again.”

—Representative John Doolittle (R-Ca.)

in: “Alien Nation?” March 26, 1996, transcript, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/congress/immigrant_benefits1_3-26.html


“Remember, remember always, that all of us... are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

—Franklin D. Roosevelt


“What, then, is this new man, the American? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, that race, now called Americans, have arisen.”

—J. Hector St. Josh de Crevecouer


“In times of shrinking expectations,... everyone feels like a victim and pushes away outsiders to defend his own corner.”

—Oscar Handlin


“Remember that when you say ‘I will have none of this exile and this stranger for his face is not like my face and his speech is strange,’ you have denied America with that word.”

—Stephen Vincent Benet


“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

—Emma Larzarus

(This is also the inscription on the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island.  Ellis Island was a major immigration station for the United States from 1892 to 1943 and an immigrant detention station until 1954. Since 1965, it has been part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.)


“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”

—John F. Kennedy


“Today a wide-open door is an invitation to national disaster.”

—FAIR (The Federation for American Immigration Reform, http://www.fairus.org)


“The inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty was written before welfare…. People [back then] came to this country to work.”

—Representative Clay Shaw (R-Fla.) in: “Down on the Downtrodden,” Time, Dec. 19, 1994.