On Sunday March 12, 2017, Iowa Republican Representative Steve King twitted the following, “Wilders [a Twitter page] understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” This controversial statement was received majorly with hostility but surprisingly a few political leaders remain supportive of his claims. Those few political leaders also happen to be governing our nation and have the power to influence our nation’s policies. We are currently living in an era where anti-immigration rhetoric, like that of Rep. King, has become common.
It has become a common and natural activity for certain people, like Rep. King, to blame the world’s problems on a particular culture or demographic. This is not the first time he has expressed his concerns to save Western civilization from the attacks of foreign immigrants. He intensely supports the need to build a wall on the U.S. border and to ban Islamic immigrants from entering the U.S. Despite understanding his claims, our blogs ideologies do not support his statement. The United States of America was established by “somebody else’s babies.”
Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding father’s, was the son of an English immigrant. Josiah Franklin (Benjamin’s father) was born in England and emigrated to the U.S. in the 17th century. Without Mr. Franklin’s migration, one of the keystones of our independence movement would not have called himself American. In fact, all of our founding fathers were sons or grandsons of immigrants who came to America for the promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Our America was established by “someone else’s baby.” Benjamin Franklin was not the only child of an immigrant that shaped our nation. Immigrants like foreign born physicist Albert Einstein enlightened our world with his knowledge. Alexander Hamilton, the founder of America’s financial system, was also foreign born. Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant. His multi-billion dollar company has produced technological devices that have changed our generation.
We do not need to restore our civilization because it was never destroyed in the first place. Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Alexander Hamilton and Steve Jobs are only a few of the immigrants, or sons of immigrants, that have changed our world for the better. They were someone else’s babies of immigrants who were taught right from wrong and contributed to the world they were living in. Their diversity is not our demise but our salvation.
During the election and during President Trump’s first months as President, immigration has been a highly controversial topic. During his campaign, President-elect Trump expressed his distaste for the H-1B work Visa program, which ironically was how his wife Melaina Trump could come to the US along with the annual average of 200 Models that were granted the visa even though they don’t meet that education requirements (Huffington Post). Currently the President is in the middle of drafting an executive order that will effect the Visa program, although he needed to hurry before April 3rd deadline (when the applications are accepted) (Bloomberg). The program has been equated to indentured servitude (Huffington Post). This is since the recipients of this Visa are required to work to stay in the country. Although these workers can change employers it would mean they would have to restart the long process of acquiring a green card. Silicon Valley is the major participator in this program and the removal of this program would hurt business like Apple, Google and Facebook because it allows them to recruit foreign employees that they can pay at a lesser rate than Americans. The salaries of software engineers have fallen flat lately and are only rising by 2% per year for established workers (Huffington Post). Since the visa discourages the workers from changing job they are less likely to leave even if their income growth is stagnating. The program also favors younger immigrants since they will be able to work for a longer period (Huffington Post). This is a form of ageism. Encouraging immigration, especially intelligent and skilled immigrants, is necessary for economic growth. While I admire the fact that the program has brought these immigrants to America the program needed overhauling. I would like to see a more open immigration policy, but concerning the H-1B visa I believe that the minimum salary needs to be raised to discourage employers from using these immigrants as cheer labor. We need more skilled workers and that we should not limit it to the 65,000 that are awarded these visas (Forbes). While America needed these talented individual, we should not limit ourselves by what we consider “skilled”. The H-1B visa requires at least a bachelor’s degree, most recipients have a higher degree. This requirement means that millions of people who could bring wealth to this country and our culture are excluded, possibly because of a lack of income needed to acquire a degree on top of the slim chances of winning the H-1B Visa Lottery. This is similar to Candidate Marco Rubio’s idea for a merit based immigration reform, allowing only the affluent and privileged to enter this country. Even though we want the skilled, we also want “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.
What features are associated with immigrants? Is it the color of skin? Is it the way one dresses? Maybe it’s a name or a religion. In today’s society, there are certain attributes that the media paints with what an immigrant is and how they look like. Although this video is short and simple, it sends a clear message: all immigrants are unique. One cannot simply label or assume that all immigrants will look the same. This clip does a great job of demonstrating the wide spectrum of how an immigrant may look like. You may never know if your neighbor, classmate, or coworker is an immigrant if simply judging on looks. As the old and cliché saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
I’m an immigrant, but I’m not to be feared. There are a lot of stereotypes around immigrants, and this video by BuzzFeed touches on some of them. Being an immigrant myself, this video was very relatable. I have been on the receiving end of some of these stereotypes–unfortunately. This video covers more than just the negative stereotypes bestowed upon immigrants, but also, talks about what immigrants actually contribute to the community and who they actually are. Every immigrant has their own story, and their own path, only thing we have in common is a legal document, so don’t categorize us. We are humans, just like you are.