Immigration 'problem' in the US?

Glenn Tucker

Monday, February 04, 2019

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What problem could be so serious as to place the country in such an insecure position?

It has to do with a campaign promise by sitting President Donald Trump to build a wall on the country's southern border to keep out undesirables. To strengthen his case, he conjured up some scary statistics, the details of which were modified depending on his audience.

Basically, he claimed that 'hundreds of thousands' of dangerous, murderous criminals were 'pouring' into the country carrying death, drugs and disease, and he was determined to protect Americans by stopping it.

Actually, his problem is that these people are coloured. Trump's hatred of coloured people is well documented. It could come from his father, who reports have surfaced was a member of the fearsome Ku Klux Klan. He has also indicated a preference for “Norwegians” — blue eyes and blond hair — closer to his first and third wives, who are immigrants.

The southern border is 1954 miles long — about half the length of the northern border with Canada. But the Canadians are white.

And when did this rejection of immigrants start? In 1903, these words, written by Emma Lazarus, were placed at the base of the Statue of Liberty:

“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.”

The very first president, George Washington, put it this way:

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respected stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges.”

The 35th president, John Kennedy, had this to say:

“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”

Trump is the only president — apart from Woodrow Wilson, scared by the events of World War I and communism — to harbour negative views about immigrants. His assertion that immigrants are a burden to the country can be easily challenged. The Cato Institute, analysing Texas data wrote: “The arrest rate for illegal immigrants is 40 per cent below that of native-born Americans. Several nationwide studies reveal consistently that children of immigrants have higher educational attainment than native born children.”

If Steve Jobs' father, a political immigrant from Syria, had not been allowed in there is the strong possibility there would be no Apple. Cubans are not white, so under the present Administration Jeff Bezos' dad could have been sent back. And two of the largest US companies in history — Apple and Amazon — would never have existed. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, only knew one word in English when he arrived from Taiwan at age 12. Then there is AT&T, Kohls, Tesla, Radio Shack, Kraft Foods, Colgate, eBay, Panda Express, Pfizer, Capital One, and Big Lots.

Since I am out of breath, let me just say that 43 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies — Americas most valuable companies — were started by immigrants or their children. Among the top 35, that share is 57 per cent. These companies have provided US$5.3 trillion in global revenues and employ 12.1 million individuals globally in 2017. Over half of the Silicon Valley high-tech start-ups are masterminded by immigrants.

But for President Trump, sacrificing these would be a small price to pay to “make America great again”. Or is that “white”?

Glenn Tucker, MBA, is an educator and a sociologist. Send comments to the Observer or

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