Thoughts About Trump’s Rhetoric Towards Legal Immigrants

Trump says a lot of untrue and inflammatory things about illegal immigrants, but it is horrible what he says about LEGAL immigrants. In a recent speech, he said that we have to get rid of the lottery system because countries are sending us “their worst.”  Trump is doing what he always does–scapegoating.

Remember, he is saying this about LEGAL immigrants.

Trump seems to be like a lot of other people–he has strong opinions on subjects he knows very little about.  He uses language to make all other countries and their citizens our enemies. He says these countries are sending their worst and they are “infesting” us. Countries don’t “send” legal immigrants. Instead, individual potential immigrants apply for a visa.  Immigrants have to be motivated. They have to file a bunch of background information about places they’ve lived, gone to school, worked, etc. It reminds me of the paperwork people have to fill out for a security clearance. I say this as one who knows because I have had a security clearance in the past, and I had to pay a lawyer to help my wife and I when she applied for her visa.Petitioners for visas also have to pay a fee to the US government in their application and there is not any guarantee that they will be accepted. For people in a third world country, the application fee is a rather substantial amount of money.

Let’s talk about the immigrants I know. First there is my wife, Maria de Lourdes and her daughter, Ingrid. Lourdes came into the country on a K1 visa (and her daughter a K2). The K1 visa is commonly called a “fiance visa” because the person receiving the visa has to marry their sponsor within 90 days of arrival in the country. In Mexico, my wife was a paralegal working for the federal judiciary appellate court of Mexico. Hardly “the worst”. She raised two children on her own and was actively involved in feeding the poor.

Let’s talk about my co-workers. I am a software engineer, and I’ve been on the same job for 22 years. The business was founded by three immigrants: 2 from Poland and one from Germany (Pawel, Elisabeta, and Thomas). My first boss there, Julek,  was another Polish immigrant. The business was sold in 2014 for $73 million. My current boss, Ivan, is Russian with a masters degree in computer science and smarter than anyone else in the building–including Venu, the head of the analytics department who is from India and has a PhD.  We have two other developers (Karthic, Sivakumar), and one tester from India (Amruta). Diana is a female developer from Colombia. Veronika is tester from Russia who moved to Chicago and works remotely from Chicago.

I don’t want to give the impression that everyone in the office is an immigrant. I am not. I would say we are 50% Americanos and 50% immigrants. I know of no legal problems with my immigrant workers. However, I can’t say the same thing with my white American co-workers.

One of my co-workers, Andy, somehow managed to get his car stuck on a train track and it was subsequently hit by a train. The police found him walking/staggering down the road. He wasn’t in the car when it got hit. When they found him, they made him take a breathalyzer and he blew a .25 blood alcohol percentage.  I have another caucasian American co-worker, Beau, who in a drunken rage against his wife drove his truck purposefully at high speed into his garage and went through the back wall into his house. He was arrested for DUI and assault with a deadly weapon–pled down to DUI.

Let’s talk about two co-workers who left the company. Kent was a technical support engineer. He left the company and shortly after he was charged with propositioning an 11 year girl who was his neighbor and friend of his daughter. He saved the state the cost of a trial by killing himself. Then, there is Paul. I worked with him for 5 years.  After he left the company, he was convicted for possession, production, and distribution of child pornography. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Let’s talk about my church–which has a lot of immigrants.  We have a lot of immigrants from the Middle East–especially Lebanon and Syria. Our sub-deacon, Khalil, is from Lebanon and is an MD, as is his wife (from Lebanon and also an MD). Did I mention they are tri-lingual? Arabic, French, and English are the languages they speak. There is Tony who is from Syria. He owns a BBQ restaurant. There is a gentleman I don’t remember his name and his wife who are both from Syria. He is a civil engineer and works on major construction projects. Suad is a woman from Lebanon. She is “just a housewife” but is active in all the church fundraisers.  We have some construction workers from Romania, another doctor from Lebanon, a family (the parents) from Jordan, a family from Georgia (next to Russia), and a family from Ethiopia. I am now remembering a woman from Russia. I am sure there are probably another dozen others. We’ve had no problems with them.

Trump’s rhetoric reminds me of another time and place in the 20th century. What was the problem of Germany in the 30s? Hitler told the Germans it was the Jews. What is the problem of the US in 2018? Trump is telling us it is immigrants.  What problems are immigrants causing us? Honestly, I can’t see. I have had only good experiences with immigrants. Do immigrants never commit crimes? Of course not. But, the statistics show that as a group, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than natural citizens. To speak of them the way Trump does is reprehensible.

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