When I saw pictures of the criminal aliens who assaulted the Border Patrol and tried to storm the barricades between the U.S. and Mexico, I considered the irony of calling them “migrants” (I thought they were the fruit-pickers) or comparing them to the immigrants of old.
All four of my grandparents were immigrants. They didn’t assault anyone to get in, They didn’t demand entry and claim they had a right to be here. They didn’t come like a swarm of locusts intent on consuming everything in its path.
My maternal grandfather, Israel Whitman (his memory should be a blessing), came from what was called the Pale of Settlement in Russia. His father died in the Czar’s army. When Zayde got his draft notice, he left. He came over steerage and eventually settled in Troy, New York.
All he asked was to be an American, live as a Jew and have the opportunity to support his family. He worked hard (12-hour days in his tailor shop) every day except Shabbos. His wife and six children lived in an apartment above the shop.
He forbade Bubbe from speaking Yiddish at home, so his children would learn English.
Even though he left Russia to escape the Czar’s draft, when World War I broke out, he lied about his age – told the recruiting officer he was younger than he actually was — to enlist. Two of his sons and two of his sons-in-law served in World War II.
I wish I could have known him better. He died when I was less than two years old. But the memory of an immigrant who was proud and grateful to be an American helps to sustain me, when I witness the Democrat-inspired chaos on our southern border.
EDITOR’S NOTE –
My wife’s father was born and raised in Barbados. He immigrated to the United States when he was 17-years-old.
Although it would have been easy for him to enter the country illegally, he chose to enter legally and stood in line for hours to be processed through Ellis Island.
He was proud to be a legal immigrant his entire life, until his death in 1985.
He worked for the United States Post Office in New York City and in Arizona.
He also served as an officer in the New York City Police Auxiliary.
Living in Arizona he was very familiar with the influx of illegal aliens and often spoke out against them.
He believed that every person wishing to enter the United States do so legally, as he and so many others did.
I also have good friends who fled violence in their home country, but were forced to leave their teenage daughter behind for another couple of years while her legal paperwork was processed. She lived in an area where white teen girls were regularly physically assaulted, raped and killed and they feared for her safety and life.
They could have smuggled her into the country illegally, but they respected the laws of America and waited until it was legal for her to join them here in the States.
They too speak out against illegal immigrants, including the migrant caravans.
They firmly believe in the legal peaceful and legal process, not resorting to violence at the border and total disregard for America immigration law.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.