We have found ourselves in a time when our nation’s politics have the whole world watching. This time, it’s about immigration.
Recent events revealed the true hue of this nation.
Horrific headlines have plagued our country as of late. Words like “children” and “cages” were strung together in the same sentence; profane descriptors like “shithole” were used to reference foreign countries; political leaders imposed strategic travel bans plainly written as “Muslim bans;” painted immigrant and terrorist connections for fear-mongering purposes — all the while polarizing the nation and forcing Americans to choose a side.
In 1980, my mother, a native of Liberia, West Africa came to the states when she was 20 seeking refuge during a climactic, political era. She attended school, began working in the nursing field, sustained herself, her sick mother, and younger siblings, and became the only matriarchal hope for her family back home as a young woman.
She tells the tale of being in America for only a couple of years when she met face to face with the FBI. Listen to her funny, eye-opening story.
Our country was built on immigrants. Immigrants came for a better life and in turn created a better America. They uprooted their seeds: their lives, families, cultures and planted and nurtured them here. They adopted the American way and learned to harvest and hustle. We all watched the laborious season but partook in its beautiful blossoming. Then, the fruits of their labor were shared nationwide little by little.
What changed? A shift in focus and fear? New leadership?
Citizens who have been in this country for decades are being investigated and their citizenship is being called into question. The peace of mind they’ve yearned for and finally achieved is now at stake. 20 plus year-old applications are being reopened, dissected, picked at and over. ICE Raids are being scheduled and happening more frequently. Companies with known diverse workforces such as 7-Eleven are being targeted – including in Frederick.
The steadfast haste on erupting the melting pot conflicts with the values that founded this country.
We are all beneficiaries of immigration.
Many of the politicians who push anti-immigration are direct descendants. Their ancestors, too, came here for a new beginning, opportunity and freedom.
Are there ways to achieve immigration reform? Absolutely. But through what measures and tactics? This nation was built on the backs of immigrants; all who came and threw their gold in the pot for a greater reward. Let us never forget, discredit or vilify their struggle, hard work, and contributions in making this a great country.
“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources — because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”
― Lyndon B. Johnson