I am the daughter of a Syrian immigrant
I am from a family of immigrants. You would not get to laugh at my nonsense were it not for my Syrian-born mother who came here in her late 20’s. She came here without speaking a word of English — hopped on a plane to a new adventure and met my father. She lost him young, and raised us as a single mother, fully taking care of us, without cutting back on our lifestyle, and never missing cooking us a home cooked meal, front row at the recital.
I watched her sister and brother-in-law come to the US after having “made it” in their homeland as engineers (it was rare to have women study engineering that long ago) to start over and build the American Dream. They gave it all up and went from their established lifestyle to cafeteria tenants, shelving groceries at grocery stores, taking whatever minimum wage job they could get (could you do that? I sure as in hell don’t think I could). They had their hands at being an entrepreneur in a failed business venture, and finally I watched them pop into their dream, and the American Dream. My uncle works at GM in a managerial position, supporting our dying American car industry stay alive. He is the second Syrian immigrant in my family to come to the US and spend his entire career serving our American car industry.
I watched a cousin come here after being a board certified doctor in his country, to cleaning tables at Wendy’s. He was SO proud of that job, I’ve never seen anyone so happy to clean tables. He is now a board certified cardiologist in the US. He has saved many lives with those same hands that washed tables full of dirty fries and hamburger grease.
There are many other vignettes I could share of success stories of my Syrian family coming here to contribute to our economy as hard workers.
But the ones that are now wanting to get out of the shattered economy and war torn country cannot come to America, even though they have existing family that hold American citizenship. These chances were slim to none during the Obama administration, as he only allowed 10K Syrians to come here as millions were forced to flee the country and find a new home. (Canada, on the other hand welcomed them with open arms).
But with Trump, they don’t stand a chance now. And with how the climate is, I’m not sure when I will get to see any of them without leaving the country to meet them.
I am an American. And I am also the daughter of an immigrant. A Syrian immigrant.