Regarding the Aug. 3 front-page article “Plan set to slash green cards”:
In the early 1900s, my grandmother Frances Draskovic was living in a dirt-floor hovel in what is now Croatia. At 16, alone, illiterate and unable to speak any language but Croatian and with a ticket purchased by cousins in the United States, she boarded a steamer bound for New York.
She was met by Croatians who put her on a train to northern Minnesota. In her box lunch was a banana, which she ate after watching another passenger peel and eat one. She had only experienced fresh fruit as one orange once a year, shared (including the peel) with her siblings.
Met by her kind cousins, my grandmother found work in a boardinghouse for immigrants employed in copper mines. She made her way to Pittsburgh where she met my grandfather, another Croatian immigrant. They married and moved to Ohio, where my grandfather started a beer business. My grandmother’s sons and daughter were community leaders and philanthropists, and my father served as a Republican Party county chairman. My generation includes a college president, teachers, a school superintendent, entrepreneurs, a Navy officer, a pharmacist, a speech and hearing therapist, a licensed clinical social worker, a law enforcement officer, and (in my case) a civil rights lawyer and trial judge.
If the immigration bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) and endorsed by President Trump became law, my family story would not happen again. I cannot comprehend how such a tragedy would be good for the country my grandmother loved and taught me to love.
Mickey Matesich Edwards, Reston
I am married to a Ukrainian refugee immigrant whose parents were slave laborers for the Nazis. My husband and his parents were naturalized citizens who were proud and grateful to be able to call themselves American. Before we married, I attended a large Ukrainian festival in New Jersey, where I encountered thousands of Ukrainians speaking Ukrainian and halting English while wearing native costumes, selling Ukrainian food and hosting stage performances with superb singers and dancers. As the stage show began, I saw thousands of these new Americans stand with hands over hearts, tears on their cheeks, pronouncing each word of “The Star-Spangled Banner” perfectly. I have never forgotten the moment.
Over a lifetime of hard work, my father-in-law learned to speak English better than our president. Shame on this administration and all who don’t speak up against its noxious and anti-American views of immigrants and immigration.
Nancy G. Czujko, Silver Spring
I have long puzzled about our inability to reach consensus on immigration reforms. I recall that our economy, when booming, accommodated millions of undocumented workers (many who left as jobs became scarce) with little disruption to American workers. It seemed that the problems of illegal immigration were largely associated with its illegality: worker exploitation, suppressed wages, people living in the shadows. So I was puzzled that no one seemed interested in expanding opportunities for legal immigration to supply the workforce. Legalization seemed such an obvious solution that I wondered what powerful interests kept us from employing it.
The short-term answer lies in tying flexible immigration levels to economic indicators, raising the minimum wage to what it would have been had it kept pace with inflation and vigorously enforcing fair-labor laws and employee-documentation rules (perhaps with the same vigor we bring to militarizing our borders and frightening the vulnerable). The proposal to limit legal immigration seems destined not only to hamper economic growth as more people retire but also to guarantee that we will become an armed police state to counter the natural forces of supply and demand.
As a moral issue, the freedom to choose where to live seems pretty fundamental. Especially in regard to limiting care of refugees, I think our children’s children will wonder what we were thinking the way we wonder about our forebears and slavery.
Jan Selbo, Warrenton