“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” – Donald Trump
I remember when the faces on construction job sites and landscaping crews changed in my community 25 years ago. The change happened quickly, dramatically would probably be a better description. Many of my friends and peers work in or own construction and landscape companies. This sudden change brought many new challenges to their business, ones they had never encountered namely the ability to communicate and verifying and confirming the labor could legally work. All agreed that these new faces were dependable, showed up, were skilled, worked hard and changed their businesses for the good.
Superintendents and job site managers began taking classes at the local Tech School in conversational Spanish. Job sites were not only inspected for safety and code enforcement’s but for Green Cards as well. It was a whole new world then, and now is so common place we don’t even notice.
200 to 300 years ago my ancestors immigrated to the United States from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. When I work on my Ancestry genealogy I try to imagine why my 7th great-grandfather would make such a perilous journey to an unknown country with unknown possibilities. Leaving his home, his family, his country behind him must have been a terrifying and gut-wrenching decision. I can only assume he thought there would be more opportunities to work, to survive than at home.
New faces continue to make these same decisions, make these same perilous journeys today as they look across the Rio Grande River or the Mediterranean Sea. They are driven by hope, safety and survival, seeking new possibilities and new opportunities for themselves and their children. The risks are great, but so are the risk of standing still.
I am glad there wasn’t a wall to keep my ancestors, new faces, out of this country 200 years ago. I wonder if Donald Trump is thankful for that as well.