To The Editor
In Jan. 19, 1989, President Ronald Reagan’s last speech was a love letter to immigration. Here is some of what outgoing president Reagan said, and I quote.
“I think it is fitting to leave one final thought, an observation, about a country that I love.” He went on to tell of a letter a man had wrote to him that said, “You can go live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman, you can go live in Germany, Turkey, or Japan, but you cannot become a German, a Turk, or a Japanese. But anyone, from any corner of the world can come to live in America and become an American.”
Yes, friends, America the land of the free, the land of opportunities, a land where if you obey the laws of the land, you can come and go as you please. But there is a problem when these people, illegal immigrants, who come looking for a better way of life, trying to get away from oppressive governments, evil gangs, poverty, hunger, and other kinds of oppressions, want to fly the flag from those countries they just left, and by doing so show disrespect to our flag, that is a major offense to the country you want to be let in. They also expect us to cater to their wants, needs, they want free housing, free food, free education, and the worst part, they want us to give up our God and worship theirs. Sorry, you are welcomed here. But if you cannot or will not give up your ways from the old country, then pack up your belongings and go back to where you came from. This, friends, is the U.S.A. Here we eat apple pie, drink Coca Cola, watch baseball games, and follow Tiger on the golf course. We work to earn money, buy our groceries, pay our utility bills, pay for our clothes, homes, cars, educate our children, and pay our Uncle Sam his taxes. We have different Christian denominations but worship the same God. We love and cherish our freedoms, and yes, we have fought and will fight to keep them just like our forefathers left them for us.
President Reagan in his final speech also told a story of a young American student traveling in Europe, who took an East German ship to get across the Baltic Sea. One of the crew members, a man in his 60s, struck up a conversation with the American student. After a while, the student asked the man how he had learned such good English. And the man explained that he had once lived in America. He said that for over a year he had worked as a farmer in Oklahoma and California. That he planted tomatoes and picked ripe melons. The man said it was the happiest time of his life. Well, the student who had seen the awful conditions behind the Iron Curtain, blurted out this question, “Then why did you ever leave?” To which the man responded, “I had to, the war ended.” The man had been in America as a German prisoner of war. Now I don’t tell this story to make a case for former POWs. Instead I tell this story just to remind you of the magical intoxicating power of America, we may sometimes forget it but others don’t. Even a man from a country at war with the United States, held here as a prisoner of war, could fall in love with us.
Those who become American citizens love this country even more, and that is why the Statue of Liberty lifts up her lamp, to welcome all to the golden door. It is bold men and women, yearning for freedom and opportunity who leave their homelands and come to a new country to start their lives over that keep our country young. They understand in a special way how glorious it is to be an American, they believe in the American dream, and over and over they make it come true. For themselves, for their children, and for others. They give more than they receive, they labor and succeed, and often they are entrepreneurs.
But the greatest contribution is more than economic. They renew our pride, and gratitude in the United States of America. The greatest, freest nation in the world. The last hope of man on Earth.
T. R. Rios,