A Nation of Immigrants, Once More
About a year ago, in the series “Reflections of a ‘Nation of Immigrants,’” we told the stories of several TMV authors and readers who themselves or whose ancestors immigrated to America and helped make this country great.
Last night, CNN’s Chris Cuomo told the heartfelt immigration story of his family, one that could have been the story of Susan Rappaport, J. D. Ledell, Brownies Girl, Joe Gandelman, Ordinary Sparrow, Markus, Elijah Sweet or this author.
Cuomo’s reflections were in response to Trump’s anti-immigration and anti-immigrant views and actions and they encapsulate the views of most Americans and the experiences of many of those who, or whose ancestors, came here “almost completely uneducated, illiterate and in no way high skilled…[who] embraced the grind, and the chance and served in the military, [who] dug ditches, did construction, worked their way into businesses, homes of their own, put their kids into public education…” and made successes of themselves and of their descendants.
Please watch the video here – Cuomo’s personal immigration story starts around minute 2 – and read part of Cuomo’s “Closing Argument” below. (It has been transcribed by the author from the CNN video)
…what [Trump] really wants to do is create an ugly rejection of who made this country great in the first place.
And you are staring at the big nose of the truth on your screen right now on this point.
My ancestors on both sides of the family were almost completely uneducated, illiterate and in no way high-skilled. I love them, we miss them but that is the truth.
They came, they embraced the grind and the chance, and they served in the military; they dug ditches, did construction, worked their way into businesses, homes of their own, they put their kids into public education.
And a generation later, just one, they had a governor, then one after that they had another governor and an anchor at CNN.
And guess what, we three are the disappointments. My sisters are cancer doctors, lawyers, people who house the homeless.
The point of my story is common, so my argument is this: How many of you would be here if America was like what Trump wants it to be now?
I wouldn’t, would you?
If you are here from Eastern Europe, your people came here during the war or before. They came from Ireland, they came from England, they came from all those places that the president likes to characterize as ugly.
You got these beautiful stories in your family, of how they came here, and they made it and what they did for you and how you remember that and how it channels everything you do for yours and your own, and you try to pass it on, God willing, to your kids.
How did you make the cut?
So, the question is this, Mr. President, are you going to forget where you come from, where most of your kids’ mothers come from, where America comes from?
The men and women whose shoulders we stand on were not the people that you are saying should be here now.
Some are from Norway, but not that many, so please don’t forget who we are and who made America great.
Now, for contrast, please read about “Laura Ingraham’s anti-immigrant rant” here.