As I was an authorized immigrant to and am now a citizen of the United States, you might think that, having followed the legal requirements, I would not be supportive of all refugees and immigrants, whatever their status. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although I did not leave Canada out of fear or persecution, I did learn some relevant history there that most Americans are not likely to have encountered.
The two main early European waves of immigrants to North America were from England and France, but they were of completely different characters. Most of those leaving England were doing so following their own impetus, whether fleeing persecution or feeling daring and adventurous. Most of those leaving France were vetted by the French government as being good French citizens, loyal to their King, law-abiding and rule-following.
France did succeed in avoiding a revolution by its colonies, but the population was small, grew slowly and showed little initiative. When conflict with England inevitably came, it was not just the British naval superiority that decided the difference, but also the abundance and fervor of the by then ‘American’ colonists that made for a clear winner.
My conclusion is that, as was so true in the past, the immigrants that America benefits from most are those who are driven, those who take chances, and those who are not deterred by impeding laws and restrictions. Although I am confident that I have made a good contribution to America, I think that they are the ones who will produce the most vibrancy, the most drive for the future. They are the ones most like our ancestors who came to populate this continent, whether they came 10,000 years ago, 500 years ago, or only about a 100 years ago.
So I will be greatly disappointed if the County Council does not pass a resolution very close to the one recently proposed by Councilor Pete Sheehey. Lansing, Mich., recently displayed what I view as an un-American cowardice by retracting their official support for refugees and immigrants for fear of negative economic consequences. They can no longer claim to be a part of the ‘home of the brave’. It is my fervent wish that Los Alamos will remain true to that spirit and a part of the great attempt to create E Pluribus Unum.