Grateful For Our Nation Of Immigrants

NBC, among other news outlets, recently ran an article showcasing Jin Park, a Harvard student who recently won a Rhodes Scholarship. Jin is a DACA recipient; he was brought to the US when he was seven years old.

“I’m thankful and I think it’s a testament to if you give immigrants in America an opportunity, if you allow us to live fully in our truth and see us totally in our personhood, this is the kind of thing that can happen,” he said.

Park is currently completing his bachelor of arts at Harvard in molecular and cellular biology,according to a biography provided by the Rhodes Trust. Park plans on pursuing master’s degrees in migration studies and global health science and epidemiology at Oxford, according to the biography.

Whatever one’s feelings about undocumented adult immigrants, Jin and other DACA recipients were brought here as children. They didn’t have the capacity to make a decision to enter the country illegally, and they shouldn’t be punished for their parents’ actions.

DACA aside, there are many reasons America should be welcoming immigrants, not trying to wall them out.

I’ve previously posted about the incredible contributions to the American economy made by immigrants–both documented and not– and their children.

More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Collectively, companies founded by immigrants and their children employ more than 10 million people worldwide; and the revenue they generate is greater than the GDP of every country in the world except the U.S., China and Japan.

I was reminded of those contributions when I opened last week’s issue of the Indianapolis Business Journal. The IBJ has a yearly feature called “Forty Under Forty,” in which the publication showcases up and coming “movers and shakers”–young people who have made a demonstrable impact in Indianapolis’ business, nonprofit and public organizations and civic life. Over the years, the diversity of those included has steadily grown–there are more black and brown faces and many more women than was the case some ten or more years ago.

There are also a lot more immigrants or children of immigrants. I didn’t count, but I’d estimate that the descriptions accompanying the photos identified nearly a quarter of this year’s honorees as either immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants. These young men and women are already making substantial contributions to our city and state–contributions from which all of us benefit.

Sentient Americans understand that Trump’s fevered and stubborn insistence on building a wall is both stupid (most undocumented people have flown in and overstayed a visa) and racist (he doesn’t want a wall between us and Canada, and he issued an invitation to Norwegians). That isn’t to say the wall wouldn’t have an effect, but that effect would be symbolic: it would send a message to brown people that they are not welcome here, and it would reaffirm the real basis of Trump’s appeal in the eyes of his supporters: his promise to make America White again.

As I looked through the accomplishments of this year’s list of 40 Under 40, all I could think of was the incredible amount of talent, entrepreneurship and work ethic that Indiana and America stand to lose if Trump and his supporters prevail.

I for one am immensely grateful I don’t live in a nation populated with versions of Don Jr. and Eric.


  1. The fact that ‘Forty under Forty’ is more diverse, more female, more populated with immigrants or children of immigrants, is of NO comfort to the Trump base; it is, in fact, confirmation of their greatest fear – that they are no longer “in charge”, no longer the majority, no longer ‘better than’. I’m sorry, but until that mind-set dies out, things will not improve; our best hope is to try to educate it out of the next generations.

  2. Quite frankly, I find it embarrassing as a Nation that we are even having this discussion in 2019.

    Unless you are of Native American Indian descent, you’re of immigrant origin. All the Trumps are immigrants. New York has always been the hub for immigrants. The bullshit we hear from Trump and now some of the Democrats is pure racism. Holding government workers ransom is equally disgusting considering our economy where Oligarchs like Trump take advantage of immigrants.

    And where is our “free press”?

    Plenty of documentaries out there showing how immigrants are used and abused. Red Gold uses electronic ID verification for workers in their plant, but the migrants in the fields are a different story. The Mexican supervisor I spoke with had his entire family working in the field picking tomatoes because of the Trump and ICE circus. The arrests in Michigan scared migrant workers, especially since they were targeting men only.

    If our government was really concerned with illegal migrants (which they are not), they would go after corporations who abuse the migrants. Mostly the Ag, Meat, and Food Processing industry. Also, construction and landscaping.

    Mexican restaurants also employ mainly migrants.

    Therefore, this is all racist propaganda. Period. It’s a political shit-show. And the media plays along because the controversy attracts readers. Nothing more.

    As for drug smuggling, El Chapo’s court case documents blew up that discussion. Heroin isn’t thrown over the border to wanting dealers. LOL

    Furthermore, our military guards the largest hectares of poppy in the world. If we wanted to eliminate heroin from American drug users, we would be burning the fields in Afghanistan. For those who think it’s a “conspiracy theory”, please explain why the CIA/military has a vested interest in poppy plants? 😉

    The Sacklers’ aren’t the only legal “drug dealers” in this country.

  3. As Todd mentioned, everyone who is screaming about immigrants is a descendent of immigrants. We are all anchor babies, a few times removed.

  4. There’s another reason to welcome immigrants that I seldom see and that is the aging of America. More and more we rely on fewer and fewer young people to provide for the needs of us old farts. If we are to have vigorous social program for anyone in need, we need more young people working.

    We have thousands of jobs that aren’t being filled. Why would we want to limit entry of people who might be capable of filling those jobs.

  5. None of this means anything to the xenophobic and psychotic racists who populate our executive branch. Between Trump, Miller and Pompeo, we have a triumvirate of hate and bigotry. There will be NO constructive conversation on this subject until they are gone.

  6. According to theory and some credible evidence, the American Indians are of immigrant extraction too, suggesting that the Western Hemisphere may once, millennia ago, have survived without human life until some tribes crossed a land bridge from Asia possibly via what is now Alaska, or drifted across the Pacific on ocean or wind currents
    If so, that’s when the pseudoscience of politics, oligarchy and other insanity began in the “new” world.

  7. The entire point of maga is to not only make America white again, but to put white men in control of everything and everyone.

    Those young 40 under 40 who were recognized by IBJ may eventually find it appealing to move out of Indiana. We continue to show the country and the world that we do no welcome those who are different, especially if you are lbgtq.

    Until the younger generations are able to take control of Indiana’s government and societal norms away from old white men we will continue to be about as backwards as the south is.

  8. Todd is correct in pointing out the exploitation of undocumented immigrants by Korporate AmeriKa. As usual in AmeriKa the proles at that bottom are terrorized into silence, i.e., no Union activity, etc., to bring about better the working conditions. The Korporations are not sufficiently punished by the Law for their activities. The “free press” – McMega-Media ignores these stories as their prime directive is to defend the system as it exists.

    We need “see” the “whole”. We can point out the success of some immigrants. We have to point out that American pie in the sky success stories to keep the AmeriKan Myth of hard work alive. (A bit like the prosperity gospel.) However, for the vast majority of immigrants they will be proles like the rest of us. As proles they are subject to the same inequities we all are.

    The whole is our society in general. We have a health care system that is the worst among the industrial nations. Other countries have found the determination to provide a tuition free higher education or trade school vs our for profit system. How many people could have made a lasting positive influence on a micro or macro level, but they died because they could not “afford” health care?? How many people could have made a lasting positive influence on a micro or macro level, but lacked the higher education to do so??

    We have look for whole change to our society.

  9. Jane – you are so right. It is likely to get worse. AOC may be a “new voice”, but she likely is simply filling the coffers of the GOP super PACs.

  10. Year after year, president after president, administration after administration, party after party ignored the escalating immigrant problems, legal and illegal, documented and undocumented. President Obama took “One small step for man…” to begin to address the problem; Trump took “…one giant leap for mankind.” but a giant leap backward into the middle of the 20th Century. There was nowhere to go but downhill from there and he has taken giant leaps in directions no American could imagine to resolve the problem…kidnapping children and babies…then losing them somewhere in the American bureaucratic quagmire of the Republican party. How long will it take to get through our current immigrant problems to return to a reasonable starting point to resolve his Fascist, White Nationalist immigration problems involving children and babies born in this country and those who came across our borders and have disappeared into a void?

    Trump’s egotistical wall is already blocking progress to resolve any and all immigration problems and awareness that the immigrants have for years been funding the American Dream for America and Americans.

    “More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Collectively, companies founded by immigrants and their children employ more than 10 million people worldwide; and the revenue they generate is greater than the GDP of every country in the world except the U.S., China and Japan.”

    Friday is almost upon us and 2020 is creeping closer and closer and Democrats haven’t yet found a rallying cry for their campaign foundation.

  11. Everyone in America is an immigrant or the descendant of immigrants, even the American Indians, the only difference being that their predecessors came to an empty continent, so what are we talking about? Artificial distinctions, socioeconomic ideas advanced by those in power to maintain and expand power, an antiquated system now finally headed for the dustbin of history – and good riddance!

    The white immigrants who displaced the American Indians are now engaged in a game to maintain power; building walls and racism are symptomatic of such intent. They, like those they displaced, will be losers. Anyone who is paying attention can see the handwriting on the wall, i.e., a colorless society where merit finally supplants the artificial distinctions the Trumps and David Dukes of this world would impose via fear on the gullible. It’s over, but those in power have chosen to resist this tsunami in view rather than to accommodate it, hence the present trauma among the political class and occasional turmoil in the streets and schools (e.g., Parkland and Charlottesville).

    Sheila’s reference to the young person who as an intellectual and an immigrant is heartening, and who knows? Perhaps given his speciality he will discover a cure for all forms of cancer. I note in closing that we have immensely profited from the efforts of another brilliant immigrant to our shores, one Albert Einstein. You may have heard of him.

  12. AOC has become a target for Right Wing. A “friend” on face book is constantly posting some pejorative comments ( brainless ex-bartender, etc.) and photo shopped images of AOC and sharing them. True to form others are quick to “like” the share and add their own comments. So I thought I would set the record straight and posted the following comment as a part of the string:

    You may want to tell more about AOC. Ocasio-Cortez attended Yorktown High School, graduating in 2007. She won second prize in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a microbiology research project on the effect of antioxidants on the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans.

    She graduated cum laude from Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics. After college, Ocasio-Cortez moved back to the Bronx, while she worked as a bartender in Manhattan and as a waitress in a taqueria. Her mother, meanwhile, cleaned houses and drove school buses. After her father’s death, Ocasio-Cortez and her mother struggled to fight foreclosure of their home.

    My comment ended the discussion.

    On a different note some hope is out there:
    Democrats go after political ‘dark money’ with anti-corruption measure

    HR1 is designed to combat the secret political funding illustrated in the John Doe Files, leaked to the Guardian in 2016.
    The influence of “dark money” in American politics that allows billionaires to fund political campaigns through third-party groups without disclosing their involvement will be put under the spotlight at a congressional hearing on Thursday as the Democrats crank up their sweeping new anti-corruption measure, HR1.

    The “corruption game” played by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before the House Oversight committee in which she denounced campaign finance controls – or the lack of them – this week became the most viewed video of a politician’s speech ever posted on Twitter.

    In it she said: “We have a system that is fundamentally broken.”

  13. Todd @ 7:33 am:
    Your larger points are well taken. But, sorry, they do sometimes throw or catapult pot, heroin and meth over the fence as well as dig tunnels under them. El Chapo’s and his cartel’s business model was and remains to have so many different streams and methods of smuggling going on at all times that there is no way the U.S. Government can possibly stop it all. Keep those boys looking everywhere and nowhere.

  14. most drugs are not,hiked in by immigrants,or border jumpers.the fact,as I discussed with a tax port dea man, there mainly bought in by,tourists,container frieight,and truck.(try stopping tourists for a pat down at carnival lines,or opening a container off a ship for a lookie see,or unload a truck at a port of entry,if nothing is found,the driver is on his own,to reload it, you would have wall streets lawyers in fulll swing to sue for those moves)the fbi/dea have always played a cat and mouse game with said imports. follow the drugs,follow the money,while we see further errosion on the streets,and new market kids,waiting in line for prison. im a recipient of fed manditory minns, for growing domestically. while in the camp, i met a whole lot of dealers,wasting taxpayers money,bein ware housed. 40% white,40% black, 10% latino,and 10% mixed. most of the whites,were employed,and had a life. some were just adrenaline junkies for the thrill,blacks, somehow i felt at home,being from newark,n.j. i seen no change in what this society,(wall,street) has handed them,core civic/geo, has just bodies,with no future,and thats how they are treated. the latinos,some hopped the border, some were home boys,everyone,decent. the other mix,also,decent people,trapped in trying to get ahead. we had 6 lawyers,who,were there for coke raps,go figure, one such older lawyer,no name, was sentanced by rush limbaughs uncle whos a judge, in st louis. ill save the story. if you have the pleasure of walking,in southern calif farm fields, its 105 dead hot,irrigated farm land,your greens come from there. ever stoop all day,and cut celery,lettuce,kale,leeks,many of those immigrants,die a early death from that work. and we hand the other side of thier familes greif. the barrios are full of honest people,getting a bad rap,for wanting to be Americans,and working like slaves,for a few bucks.and they still will smile,and enjoy conversations with anyone. if the people who joined the military,get those high fives when they come back, how come we dont high five those,who pick our groceries? do our construction,mow the lawns,do the clean up in the southern heat,after a disaster? the real grunt work,unreconized by those choking on that silver spoon,comin out thier ass..

  15. There are criminals in every demographic everywhere. We have them in the Whitehouse even apparently. Nobody is in favor of crime except for criminals. We spend billions every year fighting crime and holding criminals to account as specified by law.

    If we agreed to clean the country out of every demographic that contained criminals there would not be anyone here.

    I hate criminals for all of that no matter what demographic they are part of.

    Now, how can we accommodate those who want to be Americans, are not criminal, will fill a role necessary for our economy, and will add to our empowering diversity?

  16. Jack@ 11:47am
    As I’ve mentioned here before, I live roughly 80 miles north up I-19 from the Mariposa International Port of Entry into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Mariposa was built to divert and handle the semi’s, estimated at over a 1,000 every day, that cross the boarder into the U.S. passing through Mexican and U.S. Customs. They are carrying all kinds of vegetables, fruits — particularly in the winter months, and car parts, TV’s, and other electronics from the Maquiladoras in Sonora and other areas of Mexico.

    Don’t know if you, as a trucker, have ever been down that way and seen it, but the semi’s headed north — waiting to cross the boarder into the US — are backed up in 4 or 5 lines for miles south of the boarder crossing day-in-and-night-out. In it’s infinite wisdom, the US doesn’t provide enough infrastructure nor enough Customs officers to handle all the traffic efficiently and timely.

    But the lanes for autos trying to cross from Mexico into the US are usually just as crowded and backed up everyday. Have seen reports that at busy times, it might take several hours to get through the checkpoints and into the US. A problem for the merchants in So. AZ who depend on Mexican citizens legally crossing into the US to buy their merchandize. Make no mistake, So. AZ’s economy benefits hugely from trade with Mexico.

    The Boarder Patrol also operates a permeant 24 hour-a-day checkpoint on I-19 for northbound traffic just north of the small artist enclave of Tubac, roughly 20 miles north of the boarder crossing. Everyone has to stop. Dogs sniff all the cars. Those with white faces, if the dogs don’t alert, are quickly waived on, usually with a smile. A minor inconvenience, if you’re white, and haven’t forgotten to leave your medical marijuana.

    According to the Boarder Patrol, most of the illegal drugs entering the US do so through the major boarder crossings like Mariposa. Drugs are hidden, sometimes more cleverly than not, in all kinds of things. Crates of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, or jalapenos. Inside cans of vegetables. In gas tanks, in false floors, in door panels, inside windshield wiper reservoirs, in spare tires, even in the tires being used to drive on. Just about everyway one could possibly come up with. The same for cars. They even strap drug packs to people’s bodies and have them try to smuggle them in by walking across the boarder.

    Given the volume of traffic and the efforts to conceal, and the insufficient staffing, Customs and the Boarder Patrol discoverers and finds drugs being smuggled through these entry points virtually every day. Sometimes in huge quantities. Usually the dogs, although I’ve always had reservations about how accurate their alerts are, alert, and then the truck, car or pedestrian is diverted to a secondary checkpoint where a through and exhaustive search is conducted. And somewhat remarkably, the Boarder Patrol still regularly finds drugs in vehicles at the secondary checkpoints, like the one in Tubac, even after the vehicles have managed to make it through the boarder checkpoints.

    Most of the people doing the smuggling claim either that they had no prior knowledge the drugs were concealed in their cargo or vehicles, which sometimes might be true for a trucker picking up a load of vegetables somewhere. Or that someone paid or threatened them into doing it. They are, of course, arrested, and are expendable as far as the cartels are concerned.

    The big question, which is unknowable, is how many drugs make it past Customs and Boarder Patrol. Given the amount of illegal drugs available on the streets of the US, I’d venture to guess the cartels are winning the smuggling game. El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel hasn’t skipped a beat since his arrest and extradition into the US. He certainly deserves to be locked up, but it mainly is a P.R. show by the government. As long as the demand for illegal drugs in the US remains, corruption remains endemic in the Mexican government and police forces, huge profits can be made by smuggling drugs into the US , the cartels will continue to win. IMO

  17. Until fairly recently there was a little-argued economic theory that the U.S. would outdo other advanced nations in economic growth. The theory held that thanks to our more open immigration policies, we would not suffer the negative effects of demographic loses caused by our own dwindling fertility rates unlike places like China, Japan, Italy, and other western nations that have the fertility problem but virtually prohibit immigration. Nothing has happened to undermine that theory, but the anti-immigrant political rhetoric has made it nearly unmentionable.

    Through draconian cuts in immigration of all sorts, the Trump administration seems to be arguing the opposite which, to me at least, seems like a form of validation of the original theory. Since Trump has made few or no arguments on the benefits of immigration, it would appear that he doesn’t understand the impact of a slowed population growth. But combined with bizarre tariffs, tax policy, trashing of international trade agreements and a host of other ill advised policies, it indicates a broad brush policy of undermining the American economy as long as Trump properties are not adversely affected. Is that something a narcissist would view as making America great again?

  18. “As Todd mentioned, everyone who is screaming about immigrants is a descendent of immigrants. We are all anchor babies, a few times removed.”

    The depth of stupidity and outright ignorance regarding all of this aberrant thinking in this country is akin to the depth of the Challenger Deep.

  19. Trump and his deplorables are feverishly intent on proving the INFERIORITY OF THE WHITE RACE. To them, stopping immigration of superior races into the United States is an existential necessity.

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