America is lucky to ‘absorb’ immigrants

America is lucky to ‘absorb’ immigrants


Originally published by The Washington Post

The poverty statistics in Robert J. Samuelson’s Feb. 5 op-ed, “A happy medium on immigration,” ranging from 1980 to 2016, show a steady rate of poverty as a percentage of population (12.9 percent in 1980 and 12.6 percent in 2016). It’s hard for me to conclude that increased immigration leads to increased poverty. It would be more accurate to track poverty in the second generation.

The United States is more resilient to immigration than Mr. Samuelson gives it credit for. Anyone who wants to uproot his or her life and come here to make a better life is the kind of person we need and should want, regardless of the skills he or she shows up with.

In his Feb. 5 op-ed, Robert J. Samuelson said, “the ability to absorb new immigrants is one of the glories of the American project, but it is not infinite.”

My grandfather came from Ukraine and was an illiterate tailor. His wife, my grandmother, cleaned houses. They raised five sons. The eldest became an engineer. My father, the second, became a Supreme Court judge in New York state. The other three were doctors, all of whom served the United States in World War II. Would we welcome my grandparents today? My granddaughter came from an orphanage in India and has a doctorate in physical therapy. Would she be welcome in our country today? My sister was orphaned during the Holocaust; she became an elementary school principal. Would she be welcomed today?

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