Recent actions against immigrants are deeply troubling and downright un-American. In the past two weeks alone, hardline anti-immigration rhetoric has reached a new extreme.
First, thousands of military troops are being ordered to the border to “intercept” a so-called invasion of migrants into the United States. These innocent people are actually fleeing dire conditions in Central America and seeking a better life elsewhere, just as each of our ancestors once did before.
Second, on Oct. 29, it was announced that the administration would attempt an executive order to end birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to immigrant parents, erasing part of the 14th Amendment.
These actions are part of a disturbing trend. From efforts to eliminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the “zero-tolerance policy” that separated and detained migrant families, the administration has been making sweeping efforts to limit both legal and illegal immigration.
Once again, across our country, efforts to demonize immigrants have arisen right before the midterm elections.
Let’s be clear: America is a nation of immigrants. With the exception of the Native American community, we all had ancestors abroad who were uprooted, voluntarily or involuntarily, from their countries of origin and who built new homes in the United States.
The year your family immigrated — whether it was seven generations ago, like my own ancestors, or only a few months ago — is no determinate of your patriotism.
The sentiment that immigrants are enemies is a divisive falsehood that has become a political strategy. If followed through, these immigration policies will have a crippling effect on our nation’s economy.
This is more than a social or humanitarian issue. Immigration is an economic imperative, and immigrants of all skill levels are necessary to help this great nation reach its maximum economic potential.
The United States needs more immigrants to help our economy grow in the post-recession era. In fact, economists estimate that, for every 1 percent increase in immigration to the U.S., GDP rises by 1.15 percent.
By RAMIRO CAVAZOS for THE HILL
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