Every single person in this continent then is an immigrant.
Did the immigrants wanted to leave their lands?
I don't think so. I think they loved it and were proud of it. This is just my thinking.
"If Brazil is so great, why did you come here?" People at the New Haven church used to ask me.
Why did I leave the land I was proud of? Because the land I love could not offer me decent living conditions.
Immigrants usually come here because their conditions force them to make the tough choice of leaving their land.
Religious persecution, famine, war, political persecution, dire financial situations. People come with millions of hopes of finding freedom, work and peace in a new land. A land of dreams. A land of liberty. They are happy to have found the new hope. But are they happy to leave behind everything they loved, their climate, their culture, their foods, sometimes even loved ones?
I think the answer is no. And that's why I think there is no such a thing as giving up your culture. There is no such a thing as forgetting where you came from. Unless you are so scared of showing who you are, unless you're traumatized and believing that who you are is responsible for the mess that led you here, you will want to keep the things that made you who you are. Even if for a while you don't realize that. Even if there are not many of those things that are cherished. You can renounce your history.
I am not defending that cultures should not mingle and melt, but that immigrants have the right to keep them. Keeping one's culture is what makes America so rich.
The mingling and the melting will happen naturally. Immigrants want to learn about their new home. Part of them wants to be like the people in the new place. Especially as far as the new generations are concerned. The second generation of immigrants are the true bi-cultural ones. They will naturally deal with their parents culture and their country's culture and mix them up in one thing. And hopefully keep enough of their home culture to keep this country ever richer.
disclaimer: this is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of every immigrant.