Immigrants from 's---hole' countries make America great

Immigrants from 's---hole' countries make America great
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It’s not really surprising that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE reportedly called El Salvador, Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries.

He launched his presidential campaign by blaming Mexico for sending criminals and rapists to the United States.

He long-supported and widely promoted the false birther claim that President Obama was not born in the United States.

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Trump’s comments are xenophobic and racist as he suggested people from Norway are more deserving of coming to the United States than those from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

 

His administration is moving to kick out Salvadorans and Haitians who were granted Temporary Protected Status in the U.S. He has ended DACA, which gave temporary protection to 800,000 immigrants who came here as minors. Their future is uncertain.

Trump's immigration agenda is based in ignorance and the false ideas that immigrants are criminals, job stealers and destroying the American culture.

We could compare Haiti and Norway based on their economy and education levels. But that is beside the point. Clearly, there are differences and many people flee countries like El Salvador and Haiti because they seek opportunity in the U.S.  

But to suggest that people from Europe would make greater contributions to the U.S. than people from Latin American, the Caribbean and Africa is just wrong and based on stereotypes. 

Merit-based immigration policy is code language being used by the Trump administration to shape seemingly racist immigration policy. It assumes you have more to offer if you have met certain educational or professional criteria. But people from all backgrounds regardless of income or education level have succeeded and can succeed in this country. 

Our culture has been enriched by the contributions of immigrants and children of immigrants, including those from El Salvador, Haiti and Nigeria. Here are some examples:

George Melendez Wright (1904 –1936) was an American biologist who conducted the first scientific survey of fauna for the National Park Service. He was born in San Francisco but his mother was born in El Salvador.

Salvadoran-American Dr. Frank Rubio is a NASA astronaut candidate of the class of 2017. He served as an Army helicopter pilot and flew in combat in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. His mother is from El Salvador.

NBA Los Angeles Clippers star forward Blake Griffin’s father is of Haitian descent. Singer-songwriter Usher also has Haitian ancestry from his father.

Uzo Aduba, an Emmy-winning American actress on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” has Nigerian roots.

John O. Dabiri is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and mechanical engineering at Stanford University. Popular Science magazine named him one of its "Brilliant 10" scientists for his research in bio-inspired propulsion. His parents are immigrants from Nigeria.

Trump prefers to highlight cases where immigrants have committed crimes.

But studies show that immigrants do not contribute to an overall increase in crime and are less likely to be incarcerated.

Immigrants are helping the economy grow. They represent about 15 percent of the general U.S. workforce, but they account for around a quarter of entrepreneurs and a quarter of investors in the U.S., according to Brookings.

In case you didn’t know, the color television system was invented by a Mexican, Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena (1917 to 1965). But Trump’s policies would keep out Mexicans. Trump owes Gonzalez a thank you for creating the technology that launched his reality television and political career.

What makes America great is the idea that we are a country shaped by immigration, no matter where you come from or education level, you can find opportunity and make a contribution.

To suggest that some are more worthy than others is wrong.

Teresa Puente teaches journalism at Cal State Long Beach and is a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project.