Immigration is an important social issue that divides the United States.
Below, we have compiled immigration quotes from dozens of prominent figures that explore each side of this social issue.
How has immigration affected your life?
From the fruition of the United States, immigration has always been the American way.
From genre-defining scientists to award-winning artists, immigrants have done amazing things for U.S. culture.
Throughout history, immigrants have played a large part in the progression of our society.
Below, we have compiled quotes on immigration from a wide variety of sources including politicians, celebrities, and journalists.
With their insight, you can learn more about the perspectives behind both sides of the issue.
Immigration quotes from politicians
1. “The immigration issue is, I recognize, one that generates a lot of passion, but it does not make sense for us to want to push talent out.” – Barack Obama
2. “Before ICE, we had Immigration and Naturalization Services, but it wasn’t until about 1999 that we chose to criminalize immigration at all. And then, once ICE was established, we really kind of militarized that enforcement to a degree that was previously unseen in the United States.” – Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez
3. “Our immigration policy should be based in compassion and a desire to help the other.” – Ilhan Omar
4. “But I can tell you another engine for growth and job creation would be comprehensive immigration reform.” – Hillary Clinton
5. “We need comprehensive immigration reform. Dr. King wouldn’t be pleased at all to know that there are millions of people living in the shadow, living in fear in places like Georgia and Alabama.” – John Lewis
6. “I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter-century.” – Newt Gingrich
7. “I’m for immigration reform. I think the system’s horribly broken, and we need to do something about it.” – Rand Paul
8. “One of the reasons why Canadians are generally positively inclined towards immigration is we’ve seen over decades, over generations, that it works.” – Justin Trudeau
9. “We can affirm our values as a country and have immigration systems that support our economy, that grow our country, and that make sure that we stay secure and strong.” – Cory Booker
10. “We need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, period.” – Kamala Booker
11. “There is overwhelming bipartisan support outside of Washington that we need to finally secure our borders, enforce our laws, and stop the problem of illegal immigration.” – Ted Cruz
Don’t forget to also read these memorable Thurgood Marshall quotes on law, race, and more.
More immigration quotes from political figures
12. “I am very supportive of Donald Trump’s call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorists influence and impact represents a threat to the United States.” – Mike Pence
13. “Immigration has a huge cost on social programs, and it lowers salaries and drives up unemployment.” – Marine Le Pen
14. “I believe the House of Representatives is exactly the place where immigration reform should take place. Our entire House is elected every two years. We’re the people closest to the people.” – Aaron Schock
15. “People who think that the immigration system is easy and people should just apply legally – it just isn’t that easy.” – Pramila Jayapal
16. “Comprehensive immigration reform should be debated and passed by Congress.” – Amy Klobuchar
17. “I’ve never met a Democrat in Congress who wants open borders or who doesn’t believe in enforcing immigration laws.” – Chris Murphy
18. “We need legal immigration as an alternative to illegal immigration and a way of getting the millions of unauthorized immigrants already here to get legal and get in compliance with our laws.” – Luis Gutierrez
19. “The Dream Act will be a nightmare for the American people. No doubt, we need immigration reform, but the Dream Act is written far too broadly, and it will only encourage more illegal immigration, promote chain migration, and will be a magnet for fraud.” – Mike Coffman
20. “It is so clear that the conservatives in Congress will only settle for a bill that allows the unequal treatment of immigrants, allow them to be shoved around the system with no way to plead their case for relief.” – Rashida Tlaib
21. “America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.” – James Madison
Immigration quotes about illegal immigration
22. “There should not be a question of legal or illegal immigration. People came and immigrated to this country from the time of the Indians. No one’s illegal. They should just be able to come.” – Linda Ronstadt
23. “If you want to stop illegal immigration, you have to make it so that – so that the people that hire the illegal immigrants will not be in a position to hire them.” – Jesse Ventura
24. “We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.” – Nikki Haley
25. “While not a panacea for the nation’s illegal immigration problems, employer sanctions are one necessary means of stopping the exploitation of vulnerable workers and the undercutting of American jobs and living standards.” – Coretta Scott King
26. “Illegal immigration costs taxpayers $45 billion a year in health care, education, and incarceration expenses.” – Ric Keller
27. “We all learned in kindergarten that the beginning is a very good place to start. As we have this debate on illegal immigration and illegal entry into this country, let’s begin at the very beginning by sealing the borders to this great Nation.” – Marsha Blackburn
28. “Illegal immigration can never be completely stopped, no matter how high the wall or how many patrol agents you have watching it.” – Gail Collins
29. “When dealing with illegal immigration, the answer is simple; enforce Constitutional mandates, and you will protect Floridians and the American people.” – Allen West
30. “Illegal immigration is crisis for our country. It is an open door for drugs, criminals, and potential terrorists to enter our country. It is straining our economy, adding costs to our judicial, healthcare, and education systems.” – Timothy Murphy
31. “Anyone who sincerely wanted to use policy to reduce illegal immigration should start by crafting legislation based on changing actual behavior.” – Jose Ferreira
Immigration quotes from immigrants
32. “One of the things I think a lot about, I am perhaps a great example of the enlightened immigration policy of this country where I was able to come here to study and then stay back and work and build a life.” – Satya Nadella
33. “I’ve been going through immigration all my life, and I’ve been stopped for traffic violations by cops, and they get much more curious about me than the regular guy. The moment they hear my accent, things get a little deeper.” – Guillermo del Toro
34. “As an immigrant, I chose to live in America because it is one of the freest and most vibrant nations in the world. And as an immigrant, I feel an obligation to speak up for immigration policies that will keep America the most economically robust, creative and freedom-loving nation in the world.” – Rupert Murdoch
35. “I always get stopped by security and immigration, telling me, ‘Tell me who the terrorist is, or we won’t stamp your passport!’ The last time that somebody did that to me – at LAX, actually – I was like, ‘Hey, don’t ever ask a brown girl that in an American airport!’” – Priyanka Chopra
36. “For immigrant women, the very act of immigration is about opportunity, equality, and freedom. Women immigrants come to America to care for their families, escape gender-based violence, or express their sexual identity.” – Pramila Jayapal
37. “I think being an immigrant makes me overly optimistic.” – Ilhan Omar
38. “As you know, I’m an immigrant. I came over here as an immigrant, and what gave me the opportunities, what made me to be here today, is the open arms of Americans. I have been received. I have been adopted by America.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
39. “As an immigrant, I appreciate, far more than the average American, the liberties we have in this country. Silence is a big enemy of morality. I don’t want our blunders in history to get repeated.” – Gloria Estefan
40. “One of the biggest things immigrant kids oftentimes feel is this big disparity between our parents and us. And our parents are staunch pragmatists, and I consider myself to be an optimist.” – Hasan Minhaj
41. “I’m the daughter of refugees. The immigrant mentality is to work hard, be brave, and never give up in your pursuit of achieving the American dream.” – Reshma Saujani
42. “I’m an immigrant and I will stay an immigrant forever.” – Junot Diaz
43. “My mother is deeply pragmatic by nature. Perhaps you had to be, as an immigrant. You made do.” – Celeste Ng
Immigration quotes about society
44. “Stopping illegal immigration would mean that wages would have to rise to a level where Americans would want the jobs currently taken by illegal aliens.” – Thomas Sowell
45. “Where we are as a nation is due to having an openness to the people of the world. It’s incredibly important. I firmly believe that we cannot shut our borders to immigrants. I think a fair and just immigration policy is good for our country and good for our society.” – Bob Iger
46. “It is actually costlier to hire an immigrant. And yet the farmworker is almost invariably an immigrant. You can’t pay an American to pick blueberries.” – Trey Gowdy
47. “The U.S. immigration laws are bad – really, really bad. I’d say treatment of immigrants is one of the greatest injustices done in our government’s name.” – Bill Gates
48. “The most powerful nation on earth should be able to pass a fair, effective immigration law that combines compassion with responsibility and does not injure hard-working Americans who are taxed up to here.” – Bill O’Reilly
49. “All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.” – Pat Paulsen
50. “My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.” – Barack Obama
51. “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
52. “Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.” – Theodore Roosevelt
More immigration quotes and sayings
53. “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” – Ronald Reagan
54. “The truth is, immigrants tend to be more American than people born here.” – Chuck Palahniuk
55. “The happy and powerful do not go into exile, and there are no surer guarantees of equality among men than poverty and misfortune.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
56. “All immigrants walk around with a scar left behind by their crossing into a new country, an invisible mark of the exile that became their condition when they were uprooted.” – Laila Lalami
57. “When you live in a country that speaks a language you don’t know, you learn a lot. You learn not to complain: too much of a hassle.” – Alberto Madrigal
58. “Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” – John F. Kennedy
59. “I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.” – George Washington
60. “Immigration keeps this country young, it keeps it dynamic, we have entrepreneurs and strivers who come here and are willing to take risks, and that’s part of the reason why America historically has been successful.” – Barack Obama
Immigration quotes to contemplate on
61. “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” ― Warsan Shire
62. “Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.” ― Carlos Fuentes
63. “I take issue with many people’s description of people being “Illegal” Immigrants. There aren’t any illegal Human Beings as far as I’m concerned.” ― Dennis Kucinich
64. “A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out.” ― Tony Blair
65. “We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” ― Jimmy Carter
66. “What has happened to us in this country? If we study our own history, we find that we have always been ready to receive the unfortunate from other countries, and though this may seem a generous gesture on our part, we have profited a thousand fold by what they have brought us.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
67. “The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources–because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.” ― President Lyndon B. Johnson
68. “History shows that it is not only senseless and cruel, but also difficult to state who is a foreigner.” ― Claudio Magris
69. “A broken immigration system means broken families and broken lives.” ― Jose Antonio Vargas
70. “When I think of immigration, I want to think of families. I want to think of unity. I want to think of a safe place, you know, free of persecution, a place where we can welcome a child that is hungry.” ― Rashida Tlaib
Immigration Quotes To Boost Economic Status
71. “Ending illegal immigration only strengthens legal immigration.” — Mitt Romney
72. “Immigration is not just compatible with but is a necessary component of economic growth.” — Dave Reichert
73. “Immigration is one of the leading contributors to population growth.” — Paul Watson
74. “I’m a big supporter of immigration.” — Malcolm Wallop
75. “There seems to be a lot of momentum behind immigration reform.” — Justin Amash
76. “We will never stop illegal immigration until this country has a comprehensive, realistic immigration policy.” — Ruben Hinojosa
77. “What immigration really does is redistribute wealth away from workers toward employers.” — George J. Borjas
78. “While I support immigration regulated through a legal framework, I do not support rewarding those who broke the law to get here.” — Christopher Bond
79. “The immigration must be limited, that is, first and foremost the foreign cultural one.” — Carl I. Hagen
80. “We must say no to illegal immigration so we can continue to say yes to legal immigration.” — William J. Clinton
What are your thoughts on immigration?
Whether you’re for or against immigration, it’s important to continue the conversation.
One factor both sides can agree on is that the U.S.’s current immigration policy is broken.
The issue of illegal immigration affects millions of people across the nation.
To better serve the immigrant community, and the U.S. as a whole, the nation’s laws and policies need to be revamped.
The only way we can move forward on this issue and make changes is to keep talking about it and ensure it remains an important topic of conversation.
Which of these insightful immigration quotes resonated with you best?
Is there an opinion above that you have to comment on?
Comment your thoughts down below.
September 16, 2022 5:00 AM EST