The latest Trump proposal to change the qualifying criteria for entry to the United States as legal immigrants is just another example of this president’s ignorance of historic immigration policy.
The Trump criteria for legal immigrants, even those with Green Cards, is for all to speak English, have advanced degrees or have prospective jobs waiting for
Progressives argue that this policy is a form of racial discrimination. Conservatives suggest that restricting legal immigration to the highly skilled and wealthy would lessen the need for government support of poorer immigrants.
If we take a critical look at the history of America’s immigration policies, those who came to this country throughout our 230-year history all played a significant role in the economic, social and cultural growth of this great nation.
Most of us owe our very lives to our immigrant families. My grandmother, Myrtle, born of Swedish parents who spoke no English, came to America with little money. Only a strong Swedish work ethic and a will to succeed brought them to northern Minnesota to acquire a land grant to establish a successful farming business. That farm still exists today.
My grandmother did not speak English until she was 13. She gave birth to two daughters, both of whom served in World War II, as did several of her brothers. Several of her grandchildren served in Korea and Vietnam, one of whom died in Vietnam. When Myrtle finally died at 99, she left behind her Swedish Bible, which she read every night.
Trump’s proposal would have refused her parents and I would not be writing this column today.
America owes a great debt to the immigrants that chose America as their new home. Immigrants continue to build our homes, work in jobs that no American would work and help our industries to thrive. We do need high-skilled immigrants to help our high-tech companies fill those needs.
We should not amend the message that is a permanent display at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
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