Everyone I know has someone in their life that takes care of something for them, whether it is their personal physician, their automobile mechanic or their house painter or a myriad of other people in other professions. These caregivers, plumbers, grocery store clerks and bank tellers all have one thing in common. They are immigrants. They came from all over the world. This is hardly surprising as the world not only depends on these individuals going elsewhere, their respective country’s economies depend upon it. If you do not know this, take a walk over to your local Israeli post office and watch as Philippine or Thai or Nepalese caregivers or farm workers wire money home to their relatives. In America, it is a cottage industry with places everywhere that will do this for a fee. Every ordinary American citizen knows this fact. Every American except, perhaps, for Donald Trump.
Here are the countries of origin of the folks I see often who wait on me at the Mediterranean Bakery in my town, keep me alive with excellent healthcare and ring up my purchases at the grocery store and even give me quarters at the bank for laundry purposes: India, Syria, China, Ghana, Lebanon, Nigeria, Guatemala, Yemen, Egypt, Iran, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Cambodia. And this is just in the span of one day. And I am just one person.
I read the Executive Order Donald Trump signed into being regarding a ban on immigration for 90 days and 120 days respectively from seven Muslim-majority countries. Since none of the listed countries is home to individuals who have directly attacked Americans, this order has one purpose and one purpose only. It discriminates against Muslims. It also violates every tenet of our Constitution and makes a mockery of the words enshrined at the base of the Statue of Liberty penned by Russian immigrant Emma Lazarus. Furthermore, it was disingenuous to put a time limit on the order’s reach. Usually orders such as this remain in place longer than the stated timeframe. They can be extended with a signature. This throws uncertainty into the confusion over the effects of the ban and gives those seeking entrance to the United States more trauma than is warranted. I know a Syrian family who was recently granted asylum here. Will they be sent back to Syria? They have no idea.
Clearly, Trump and I hang out in different circles. He has a Jewish doctor and a son-in-law whose families probably endured the Holocaust era. The rest of his circle consists of wealthy white American males. The immigrants who do the carpentering and painting and plumbing at his various endeavors worldwide are the folks who Donald Trump often stiffs and doesn’t pay for their services without them dragging him into court. His litigious nature is only surpassed by his greed. Granted, all wealthy individuals rely upon immigrant labor. For them, it is a way to save money by not having to hire natives who expect a higher living wage, usually due to a higher level of education and experience. Suffice it to say, without immigrant labor, no country is economically stable.
Donald Trump, who extols his own business acumen seems to have forgotten who cleans his apartment and why. It is not like the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business offers classes in the janitorial arts. Nor would anyone who owes one-half-million dollars for their medical school tuition want a minimum wage job post-graduation.
America has a shortage of trained physicians, biotechnical engineers, researchers and scientists. Their absence hurts our economy in ways large and small. But perhaps more troubling than this fact was the spectacle of having to watch an Iranian researcher whose five-year-old son was held in detention at Dulles International Airport for 18 hours explain his trauma to a local news reporter. Nor should he ever have been placed in that situation. We cannot welcome a highly-educated and well-trained group of people one day and shut the door to our country on them the next on a whim generated by a racist White House advisor intent on punishing an entire group of people merely due to their religion. You can’t get any more un-American than that.