Day 24: Trudeau, Trials And Tribulations

One of the myriad of issues that hung over the Trump/Trudeau meeting today was the handling of immigrants and refugees. On the two issues, they couldn’t be further apart. I am of the opinion Trump doesn’t like refugees and doesn’t want to change his mind by meeting them to correct his misconceptions.

There are many misconceptions about immigration and immigrants. It concerns me that some of us might be willing to put blanket statements on some of our fellow residents without analyzing their situations in depth.

The facts on immigration are available for everyone to access: almost half of undocumented immigrants do not enter this country illegally. They enter legally and overstay their work visas. Two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have resided in the United States for ten years or longer. Undocumented immigrants make up 8 percent of the workforce in the U.S. and 26 percent of the workforce in farming occupations. Nationally, undocumented immigrants contribute approximately $12 billion dollars to the U.S. economy in taxes paid. Immigrants (undocumented or not) are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.
They work in dangerous conditions, are financially exploited by their employers and suffer physical and sexual abuse in the workplace. They have made a choice to come to this country to try and make a better life for themselves and their families. They know the consequences of their actions well, they live with that fear every single day and endure despite working in sometimes-awful circumstances.
By making Sanctuary Cities, we have also made a choice. We have made a choice to protect our local and national economy by protecting the undocumented workers who contribute to it. We have made a choice to keep families together, families that have been residing in this nation in peace for a long time.
We have chosen to accept immigrants in the same way that our families were accepted as immigrants in this country. My great-grandparents came to this country from Hungary in the aftermath of World War One. They fled the unemployment and political turmoil that enveloped their birthplace and were willing to risk everything they had to make a better life for themselves in America. They too, were negatively judged in this country as immigrants and Jews.
But what right do we have to judge? Unless we are directly descended from an indigenous bloodline, all of our families came here from somewhere else, legally and illegally. Many of our family members made the choice to come to the U.S. understanding their situation. Others, like my wife’s family, were forcibly brought over here as part of the slave trade.
No matter where we came from, we’re all here now, in America. The diversity of backgrounds and our acceptance of each other is what makes our country special. Protecting an important part of our population will keep it that way.
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