I was pretty shocked to be called a racist by a few people at the dinner table this past Christmas Eve. They happened to disagree with my views on immigration. These people also consider themselves to be extremely open-minded, but their reaction to a genuinely different opinion proved otherwise.
I see the same problem everywhere in our society today. People can no longer just have a conversation. It always has to be political. I was going to say black or white, but that would probably make me a racist too. Real discussions and reasonable compromises are forbidden.
As a hedge fund manager, I know that I ought to focus on business and stay out of politics. It just offends me so much to be called a racist that I feel the need to respond publicly.
First of all, I come from a family of Italian immigrants. The first generation started as brick-layers and eventually became skilled plumbers. The second generation all enlisted in the military and then became civil servants. I am part of the first generation of my family to go to college.
Second, I believe that what makes this country great and exceptional is the fact that we are a melting pot of people from around the world. I think that immigration is key to our continued greatness. I would guess that 90% of the people in this country agree with that statement.
What put these people at the dinner party over the edge was when I used the term illegal immigration. I said that there is a big difference between how my family and millions of other immigrants entered this country and illegal immigration. To add fuel to their fire, I said that we need a screening process and that we should build a wall or just send the army to the border. I was then called a racist, and they told me that I should be ashamed of myself.
I cannot understand why anyone would consider that racist. Maybe I am too much of a rule follower or just too “simple” to understand. We have laws in our country that people must follow if they want to live and work here. If you break the law, then you should not be allowed to stay.
There should be no difference between immigration laws and any other laws that we have on the books. If I go over the speed limit, then there is a consequence. If I drink and drive, then I lose my driving license. If I do not pay the taxes that I owe to the government, I will be fined and possibly imprisoned. If you enter this country illegally, you ought to be deported!
We should never reward people for breaking the law. Illegal immigrants should not be able to work in our country and send their kids to school here while people who play by the rules are forced to wait for years. We need to be able to pay for hospitals, schools, housing, and police. I want businesses to pay their payroll taxes and follow safety regulations rather than using Illegal immigrants. Am I missing something here?
This is not racism! These laws protect our country. In 1965, the same Congress that passed the Voting Rights Act and created Medicare also produced most of our immigration laws. Having this immigration process does not make us racist or anti-immigrant. It makes us smart.
We only let in productive and law-abiding immigrants. That is why our country is filled with incredible immigrants doing amazing things. We have a process for everything, from issuing a license to collecting taxes. People from all over the world come to our country to escape from lawless banana republics.
I know that our current president has increased the hypersensitivity to a lot of the old issues that we face as a country. Regardless of our political views, we need to stop labeling people that we disagree with as racists, fascists, and socialists and start listening to each other again.