In Washington Heights, a heavily Dominican neighborhood in Manhattan, political rallies are actually held for the presidency of the Dominican Republic, a country whose political parties treat this enclave as though it is a part of the homeland. They raise roughly half of their campaign funds from the hundreds of thousands of Dominicans living in New York City. This raises the question about whether these folks are really Americans or Dominicans living in America? It may well be a perfect example of why one must leave one's old allegiance and citizenship behind. This is a central theme in the growing tensions between the American Public and the current wave of legal immigrants and illegal aliens.
During the Great Wave immigration, more than one-third of all immigrants -- most of them Europeans -- went back to their home countries. Many of the returnees became involved in fighting for change in their homelands. What a novel idea!
Great Wave immigrants who stayed in America soon learned that they were indeed in the land of opportunity. After a feeling developed that the country was being overrun by foreigners, immigration was cut back dramatically and, as a result, the immigrants were able to assimilate faster and develop a greater attachment and loyalty to their new country. This also eased the demographic pressure because, although the immigrants were from many different countries, most were Europeans who blended in easily with the earlier arrivals. They also understood that a common language was not only an imperative to be able to communicate with each other and achieve success in business and in the professions, they knew intuitively that a common language would be the single most important unifying influence in a diverse America.
The adoption of a common language and the assimilation in the new land did not mean: the end of ethnic holidays and parades; the rejection of foreign words and phrases like "kindergarten"; the avoidance of ethnic foods; or the blending of foreign traditions with those of the dominant culture.
But poverty, joblessness and instability are hard to overcome if the solutions are made more difficult by excessive immigration and population growth, threatening demographic shifts, a failure of social integration, and an attachment to the old ways that had not served the immigrants well in their homelands.