Huffpost Latino Voices

My Favorite Immigrant (SLIDESHOW)

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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28: New citizens cheer and wave at a naturalization ceremony at Liberty Island on October 28, 2011 in New York City. 125 citizens were naturalized in honor of the Statue of Liberty's 125th birthday. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Im...
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28: New citizens cheer and wave at a naturalization ceremony at Liberty Island on October 28, 2011 in New York City. 125 citizens were naturalized in honor of the Statue of Liberty's 125th birthday. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Im...

In a country which once bragged about its immigrant roots, an increasingly heated immigration debate has emerged. As the debate wages on, it surprises us that the contributions of immigrants to our nation have easily, and conveniently for some, been forgotten.

What would our nation look like if we had kept out the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" that the Statue of Liberty welcomes to our shores? Consider the many immigrants who became household names for their contributions to science, the arts, and education -- people such as John Muir, Madeline Albright, Joseph Pulitzer, David Ho, Irving Berlin, and Jaime Escalante -- who U.S. history books now praise as America's finest.

After 200 years of immigration laws which have mostly sought to keep out those in pursuit of the American Dream, we think it’s time to look at the issue differently.

Why isn’t the debate focused on finding ways to encourage and harness immigrants’ energy, spirit and commitment to a better life -- for the good of all Americans -- instead of demonizing those who seek the same opportunity millions of our own ancestors also pursued?

Here is a slideshow of some of our favorite immigrants. We hope you’ll choose to add yours and contribute to the discussion in the comments below.

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Around the Web

Immigration to the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NPR: 'Immigration in America'

Famous American Immigrants « Immigration Update