By Jamal Abdulahi, Star Tribune
Donald Trump probably won’t win the GOP nomination. Yet his candidacy has accomplished one thing: He has ratcheted up the rhetoric on immigration.
Trump has called immigrants “rapists” and “criminals” and, no doubt, some supporters are seduced by the racist rhetoric. Shouting “white power” at a public rally is only the most distributing illustration of Trump’s racist supporters. In addition, almost half of Trump supporters in Iowa believe Obama is foreign-born and not a legitimate president. There is no other explanation but racial rigidity.
But many Trump supporters believe he’s speaking truth about America’s immigration problem. There’s a deluge of people coming to America illegally and the federal government is doing nothing. Trump supporters also believe immigrants as a group are unpatriotic and present a danger.
But there’s a problem with this thinking, a failure to recognize the symbiotic relationship between immigrants and America. The truth is, immigrants are good for American and vice versa. Nearly 40 percent of America’s largest corporations including Proctor & Gamble, Pfizer, U.S. Steel, Ebay and Google were founded by immigrants or by their children.
Many first-generation immigrants serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some sustained life-altering injuries in the latest wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. Others gave the ultimate sacrifice, paying with their lives while fighting for America. Data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show that posthumous citizenship was awarded to 138 noncitizens between 2001 and 2012.
Immigrants come to America to better themselves, often times escaping brutal economic or political condition. No doubt America provides better alternatives.
Jamal Abdulahi is an independent analyst. He writes about politics, economy and Minnesota’s Somali-American community. He also blogs at www.minnesotacivic.com.
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