America should be welcoming

Published 9:16 pm Saturday, January 27, 2018

Immigration has been a hot topic in the news lately, brought into stark focus by issues and events such as the wall on the southern border, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals policy and the president’s vulgar comments about certain other countries.

It was also highlighted by Saturday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which marks the anniversary of the day the Russian Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp. You’ll see why that’s relevant to American immigration in a second.

The legacy of immigration in the United States is shameful. First, European settlers “discovered” America and immigrated here in droves, labeling those who were already here “savages” to justify killing them and taking their land. Then, those same settlers forcefully immigrated millions here from Africa and enslaved them. Later, in the 1930s, millions of European Jews wanted to immigrate here, and America didn’t let them in. You know the rest of the story — 6 million of them were dead a decade later.

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Now, many in our country actually think it would be morally upright to deport thousands of young adults who were brought here illegally as children by their parents and other family members. Many of them have only known America as their home, have learned and worked and paid taxes here and don’t even speak the language back in their native land.

So our country has forced the continent’s indigenous peoples from their homeland, forced Africans to come here from their homeland, forced Jews to stay in their homeland when it was deadly and now wants to force others to return to their homeland when they don’t even know that place.

The collective hypocrisy is astounding.

It’s almost as if America is only a welcoming place if you’re a white Protestant, which is the view President Donald Trump betrayed a few weeks ago, when he reportedly called Haiti and African countries by a derogatory term and said we should take more immigrants from countries like Norway, one of the whitest countries on the planet.

It’s my belief that America should be an open and welcoming place, not for just anybody, but for productive citizens of all stripes who come here legally and go through the established process. There should be an established process for refugees who have been vetted and have no ties to terrorists. There should also be a process for the “dreamers” who have pursued education and remained law-abiding citizens to take the same test naturalized citizens do and become legal.

Those who worry immigrants will become terrorists seem to forget that domestic terrorism exists. Those who commit, or plan to commit, terror attacks on American soil are likely to be natural-born Americans almost as often as immigrants.

Absolutely, deport illegal immigrants who were adults when they became illegal and knew what they were doing. Absolutely, deport all immigrant criminals and those with any ties to terrorists, whether they have committed an act of terrorism or not.

It’s also my belief that the wall on the Mexican border would be a giant waste of money. Many, many illegal immigrants are in this country not because they snuck across the border in the dark of night but because they were once a visitor on a legal visa and simply overstayed their visa.

If you’re against immigration, ask yourself why. If it’s because you’re afraid of people who are different from you, you might want to reconsider.