While it is a truism, yet though, it is still very true, that America is fundamentally a nation of immigrants. So then, in an age in which traveling across the Atlantic ocean from America to Europe can be done via airplane and takes around seven to eight hours at a very reasonable cost; recognize, that the heyday of massive immigration into America from 1850-1930, not only didn't offer air travel, but also meant that all those departing from their given lands, didn't even have a visa, and they often didn't have a guarantee of a job or even a standing offer of employment, of which, many of those so departing for lands unknown, were also short of capital.
What these immigrants to America did have, though, was an awful lot of pluck and a deep desire to make something of themselves in a country that was basically considered to be a fresh land of fair opportunity. Still, as in most everything, that basically is unknown, a significant amount of those people so traveling, did so, under the belief, that America represented the promise land, but without really knowing if this was true.
This really meant that the millions upon millions of immigrants to this nation, were big risk takers. Not only were they risk takers, but their journey into the great unknown, was the type of journey that in effect, was a make or break journey, for failure was not an option, for whatever welfare state existed during those years, was marginal, at best.
Yet, these immigrants did come. They came because when a people, any people, are living in the reality of deliberate persecution, food shortages, and a distinct lack of opportunity within their native land, then, such a people will grasp at whatever straws and hopes are left to them, and thereby they will take and make their chances. America, though flawed in many respects, represented at that time, especially for those of European ancestry, the promised land. So then, even with the overcrowding, even with the exploitation, and even with overseas recruiting that cheated immigrants, these immigrants came because America represented hope and a version of meritocracy that validated such a hope.
These millions of immigrants that came here, were courageous and brave, and quite obviously were willing to die in a new undiscovered country, if it came to that, then die without having fought for what they believed that they had an inalienable right to, for the reality of their own land, was bleak, desperate, and brutal.
So then, all those that immigrated here and still today, immigrate here, almost without exception, are not coming here to pick up some sort of welfare check, or welfare benefits, or anything of that sort, but rather, instead, they are willing to suffer incredibly indignities as well as injustices, just for the fair opportunity to prove themselves in the cauldron of opportunity. These people, then, personify, and thereby truly do represent the spirit and heart of what it means to be a true American.