By JOHN DURSO
Every morning I have my usual routine. I get up, shower, shave, walk the dog, have coffee and read the paper, and not once during these mundane chores do I have to face the fear that there will be a knock on my door that could break my family apart. When my wife and I go to a movie or shopping together, we do not fear that we will be asked spontaneously for our papers or that we will return home and find our children being taken away from us.
Unfortunately, thousands of families who live in New York don’t have the same peace of mind. Many families won’t go out in public places together due to the risk of deportation, which could leave their family without anyone to care for them. Many hard-working families live in fear every day. We are the United States of America the beacon of hope for the world that has long been known as the Gold standard by which all other countries strive to achieve.
Every time I see the Statue of Liberty, I feel proud and thankful that my grandparents came to this country, and I try to image what those millions of immigrants felt when they first saw her holding the torch of freedom. To me that is our America! Immigrants are our neighbors and friends, hardworking law-abiding families that contribute to the very fabric of our society. The clear majority of our undocumented immigrant community are hardworking people who sacrificed everything they had to come to America, all yearning for a better life for themselves and their families; isn’t that the promise of America?
This is America, our people should not be living in fear! For over 200 years we have been the hope of the world, the country founded by immigrants, made richer by melding our different cultures, the place where people from all over the world strive to reach its shores for a chance at the American Dream.
As we celebrate our 242nd anniversary, let’s remember who we are, a country of compassion, a country filled with hope and dreams and the opportunity for all who are willing to work hard to reach the middle class and beyond.
The time has come for the rhetoric to end, for partisan politics to be put aside for the good of our nation and humanity. A comprehensive immigration plan that is fair to all upholds our American principles and allows millions of immigrants to come out of the shadows and into the light to have a path to citizenship for themselves and for their families. As we celebrate our country’s birthday, let the next chapter of the American story be one of compassion, dignity and respect towards those who only want to share in the American Dream.
John R. Durso
President, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW