“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

I am a Green Card Holder Too

The blog post I planned for today will have to wait for another day. It is a rare thing that can make my blood boil, but the President’s actions on Saturday left me very sad, and deeply incensed. I came to the U.S. in 1989 on a Green Card. I am a still a permanent resident alien. I love my home country, Ireland. It is the place of my birth, the place of my heritage. I married an American who was living in Ireland, and when he wanted to move back home, we made a joint decision for the betterment of our family. I am still dearly attached to Ireland and very proud of my culture and heritage. Does that mean I don’t love America or harbor ill will to its citizens? It is possible to love both countries and cultures and be able to see the uniqueness of each.

Do my white skin and Christian background make me any more valuable than a Muslim, or an Arab? I understand the concern about terrorism having come from Ireland; we had our own share of terrorism with the I.R.A. If the U.S. held to the theory of not allowing in anyone from countries known to have terrorism, it would have to block almost everyone from coming in. Columbia has the FARC, Spain has ETA, Germany has multiple neo-Nazism organizations, Ireland has the I.R.A, and South America has a multiplicity of radical groups. Each country has its own small segment of extremists in one form or another.

What has happened to the call for bringing “your tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to be free?” Where is a genuine and real concern in preventing those who wish to harm America from coming in, balanced with excluding everyone, or more explicitly, excluding Muslims? This feels an awful lot like ethnic cleansing – the very thing America abhors and fights against in other countries. To target Muslims is no better than how the Japanese were targeted in World War II or than how Hitler treated the Jews. Where does this action lead and how does it impact the very foundation that America was built upon. Given that most Americans are not Native Americans most of the population came from immigrant parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. America has been known as the great melting pot, home of the brave, and land of the free.

Some famous immigrants who brought a richness to America are Albert Einstein – Germany; John Muir – Scotland; Madeline Albright – Czechoslovakia; Hakeem Olajuwon – Nigeria; Irving Berlin – Russia; and Ang Lee – Taiwan. There are numerous others who names may not be famous but who have helped America become a great nation. Even the U.S. Treasury acknowledges the economic contributions of immigrants to the American economy. According to the U.S. Treasury, immigrants are more likely than non-immigrants to start a business (this includes me), representing 16.7 percent of all new business owners, while representing only 13 percent of the U.S. population. Immigrants are also more likely to hold an advanced degree, and twice as likely to hold a Ph.D.

It will be a sad day for America if it sends the message to other countries that their people are not welcome here, or if they are only welcome if they are white and Christian. The saddest part of this is that this movement is the very antithesis of Christianity, which believes that Jesus died to save all men, and holds love, hope, and charity as basic tenets.

I know this is a departure from my usual blog posts, but as Tabatha Coffey said, “sometimes, in order to follow our moral compass and our hearts, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in.” Let us strive to realize and understand there is more we have in common with all our fellow men than what drives us apart.

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