I'm not sure why Donald Trump feels the need to make inflammatory remarks about immigrants. I guess it gets him a lot of attention; I'm giving him more attention right now. But I do find it ironic since his mother was an immigrant from Scotland, and his father's parents came to the U.S. from Germany.

Immigration is good for the United States. Immigrants help our country function by working at farms, restaurants, hotels, construction sites, medical facilities, tech companies, and universities. Immigrants provide jobs for other Americans by opening businesses. Immigrants pay taxes that support government at the local, state, and Federal levels. Immigrants spend money that supports businesses, which support workers, who support families across the country.

Yes, a relatively small number immigrants cause problems. But plenty of people born in the United States cause problems, too. By restricting immigration, we may keep out some of the trouble-makers. But we also keep out thousands and millions of hard-working people who would make our country stronger.

Grand Canyon National Park hosts a naturalization ceremony with 23 individuals from 12 countries becoming U.S. citizens. NPS Photo by Michael Quinn

Grand Canyon National Park hosts a naturalization ceremony with 23 individuals from 12 countries becoming U.S. citizens.
NPS Photo by Michael Quinn

I recently mentioned Edward Bok and his work with the Ladies' Home Journal. Bok immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands in 1870, soon before his 7th birthday. At the end of his autobiography, Bok talked about lessons he had learned during his life in America--good and bad things he had seen among his countrymen. Writing in 1919, just after World War I, he said:

One fundamental trouble with the present desire for Americanization is that the American is anxious to Americanize two classes—if he is a reformer, the foreign-born; if he is an employer, his employees. It never occurs to him that he himself may be in need of Americanization. He seems to take it for granted that because he is American-born, he is an American in spirit and has a right understanding of American ideals. But that, by no means, always follows. There are thousands of the American-born who need Americanization just as much as do the foreign-born. There are hundreds of American employers who know far less of American ideals than do some of their employees.

People born in the United States do not have a monopoly on virtue, diligence, common sense, or faith. Those of us born in the U.S. may indeed fail to appreciate the benefits associated with living here--benefits which millions of people around the world would love to experience.

We will not stop illegal immigration with name-calling and animosity. We will not stop illegal immigration by deporting millions of people. We will not stop illegal immigration by building a wall. The only way to stop illegal immigration is to make immigration legal. We should welcome immigrants as fellow human beings who can make our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, and our country better.

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