You’ve heard this one, right?
I used to say stuff like this myself before I actually met some folks in my hometown who came the the USA as refugees from Afghanistan in the 1980’s (pretty sure it was Afghanistan, but don’t quote me on that). Now, their oldest son runs the Halal market started by his parents when they first came to the United States what seems like ages ago, and it really changed my tune because I was running personally into the fact that we are a nation of immigrants and refugees. Alaska, my home state, was largely settled by people who couldn’t make it anywhere else, or were running from something.
It’s easy to read about that stuff in history class and file it as a tidbit in your head, but quite another to find yourself face to face with the reality of that fact.
And Detroit? The former Motor City that fell apart in the 1960’s and 1970’s? It’s beginning to shine again. Who’s doing it? Muslim immigrants who weren’t wanted anywhere else, but saw the almost abandoned ruins of a former capital of industry and decided to make something of it. There is nothing more fucking American than that. That is the American Dream, the idea that people with nothing can make themselves and even their communities into something great. Maybe we don’t all get to be as rich as the Walton Family, but we can all be MORE than we started as, and our children can be more than what we finish as, and down the line that goes, propelling us further as long as we keep the Dream alive.
America was built by that attitude. And if immigrants and refugees want to bring that to my country and give us a shot in the arm of a powerful cocktail of new blood and a can-do attitude, then let them come. Bring them in by the barge-load. Because Trump is more right than he knows. This IS the time to Make America Great Again, and these brand new first and second generation Americans are going to be invaluable in that pursuit. Because nobody wants to build something new more than someone who has already lost everything.
Let them come. Let them have a fair shot at living the Dream. And if some of them want to start trouble? We’ll deal with them. But punishment comes after the crime, and we don’t prosecute the innocent along with the guilty.
As Captain America once said:
So should we all.
I refuse to stand in the way of honest folks who just want a piece of that for their own families. I’ve no more right to it than they. No one has any more right to it than they.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
― Emma Lazarus