JOE DE MOTT ON THE CHILDREN FLEEING TO THE U.S.

Immigration Blog

JOE DE MOTT ON THE CHILDREN FLEEING TO THE U.S.

When I see reports of children fleeing to America, I think of my great-grandfather. During the potato famine, he and his brother were orphans in Ireland. They scraped together money to buy tickets to America. Three day before the boat sailed, his brother died. He sold his brother’s ticket, and got on the boat alone with hopes of making a better life. When he landed, he was 16, an unaccompanied minor. Signs on businesses said “Irish need not apply.” Finally, he found work digging tunnels for the railroad in Pennsylvania. Years later when my great-grandmother would be frightened by the thunderstorms that shook their Iowa farmhouse, he would say, “This is nothing. You should have seen the storms that tossed our boat on the Atlantic.” He never took a day off, but worked every day. His son, my grandfather, was elected County Treasurer in Carroll County, Iowa for 35 years. Immigrants have made America great. They come with a strong work ethic often from countries that have no social safety net. They come determined to work hard to make better lives for themselves and their families. In the process, they make a better America for us all.

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