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Editorial

The Appeal of the United States to Immigrants – Even Greater than Before

“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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These are the words one reads as one enters the Statue of Liberty at the entrance to New York Harbor.

Of course, the words belong to other years and other times (the inauguration took place on October 28, 1886).

Still, every era has its own challenges. As does today’s. The result is that nearly a million immigrants became American citizens in the fiscal year that ended on September 30, seeking the security and opportunity offered by the United States.

That’s the largest number in nearly 15 years and the third greatest annual number in U.S. immigration history.

“People have incentives to become citizens,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, a senior demographer at Pew Research, who co-wrote the study based on government data according to the New York Times.
“The numbers have not only rebounded. They are reaching levels we have rarely seen in our history,” he added.

All in all, people from 65 countries became U.S. citizens during this time. Some waited more than a year.

We still don’t know how many Greeks became naturalized American citizens during this period. There will certainly be quite a few – but not in the numbers we used to see in the 60s and 70s.

Is that a good thing? Yes, of course it is, but hopefully many ambitious and capable ones will stay home and help Greece grow even more. And may the young people living abroad return eventually.
However, the reality is that the United States, despite its problems, holds a powerful appeal, attracting young people who dream of another life.

And always, or almost always, young people leave their homelands with the hope, and the promise, that one day – someday – they will return. However, they should wish for the road to be a long one…

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