I was born in the United States. So were my parents. A few generations earlier, their ancestors and mine came to our shores from other countries — immigrants. My parents were white, according to the way in which we categorize skin color in our country today. That I was born in this country and my skin is white grants me the privilege of citizenship in this country. I had no choice. I celebrate being American.
I don’t need a green card to identify me as a legitimate citizen. A person who holds a green card is one who is authorized to live and work in the United States permanently. Such an individual carries a green card, issued by the government, specifically, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to prove his or her status as a U.S. citizen.
The Great Depression swept millions of Americans into poverty when my parents had been married barely two years. Like many others, they struggled mightily to have a modest place to live and to put food on the table. Jobs were extremely hard to come by, and they paid little, but my parents managed to make it through without having to depend on welfare to stay afloat. The administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt created thousands of jobs aimed at lifting Americans out of poverty, and it worked.
Today, large groups of people approach our nation’s shores fleeing from violence and oppression, seeking to survive. Some who already live here, who share my good fortune of having been born in America, want to shut the door and deny these desperate immigrants the same opportunities we enjoy — citizenship. The deniers are white. The immigrants have darker skin. The deniers refer to these desperate people as illegal.
Our president, whose imagination knows no bounds in creating ways to prevent immigrants from becoming Americans, now has escalated his battle of blocking immigration by moving the goal posts yet again. He has issued a new rule that targets immigrants who already live and work here legally but whose income is limited, thus are judged to be a burden on America’s taxpayers. Effective this October, our government will use an aggressive wealth test to determine whether those immigrants will be able to support themselves.
This has a familiar ring to it. Nazis routinely sorted their captured Jews in order to separate the aged, ill and weak from their stronger, healthier captives, then quickly murdered the weaker ones.
We whose faith teaches us to help those less fortunate weep in frustration and itch to find ways to fight back. Trump’s cruel new policy is likely to be challenged in court and probably will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which now has been stacked with partisan judges.
FDR is no longer our president. Donald Trump is, and an increasingly restive population of citizens itches to send him back to where he came from and restore sanity, morality and compassion to our nation’s leadership.
That includes me. Let’s scratch that itch.