Saturday, October 25, 2014

Those darn immigrants

Four mornings a week, my wife and I drive through the campus of Northern Arizona University so that I can drop her off at one of the local elementary schools. One of the buildings that we pass on our journey is the Raul H. Castro College of Social and Behavioral Sciences building, which caused me to wonder why NAU would name one of their buildings for Fidel’s brother.

After a bit of research, I discovered that Raul H. Castro (who was born on June 12, 1916) was the 14th governor of Arizona, but left his post after Jimmy Carter appointed him to be ambassador to Argentina in 1977. He previously had been appointed as ambassador to El Salvador by Lyndon Johnson in 1964. He also happens to be a graduate of NAU, which was formerly known as Arizona State Teacher’s College.

He was born in Mexico, but moved with his family to Arizona when he was 10 years old. He was the first (as well as the only) Mexican-American to serve as Governor of Arizona. He is now 98 years old, and now holds the title of the oldest living former governor in the United States.

Fidel’s brother, meanwhile, has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008. He’s now 83 years old, but does not plan to seek re-election when his current term ends in 2018. Much to the surprise of a lot of people, it’s entirely possible that we will have normal diplomatic relations with Cuba by the time that Raul’s current term of office ends.

Our country has had a long and torturous relationship with immigrants ever since the first immigrants arrived at Jamestown in 1607, and immigrants are still a source of concern today. In fact, “securing the border” seems to be one of the main talking points for most Republican candidates for office in this election cycle, even though we currently spend $12 billion a year on border security, and the NET migration from Mexico has been ZERO since 2005. Few Republican candidates are as extreme as Ted Cruz of Texas, who wants to “secure the border and stop illegal amnesty”. Ironically, Ted was born in Canada, and his Cuban-born father did not become a United States citizen until 2005. The only reason that he technically would be eligible to run for the Presidency (oh, the horror) is that he’s an “anchor baby” (his mother was born in the United States.)

Eventually, the immigration reform program designed by “the gang of 8” may actually get passed by Congress, but the Democrats wisely chose not to pursue it too aggressively before the election in order to retain their narrow (and critical) majority in the Senate.

As a country, we desperately NEED talented immigrants to help our economy grow, and the best example of WHY is Google, which was deemed the second most valuable brand in the world (behind Apple) by Interbrand ranking in 2014. One of the founders of the company, Sergey Brin,, who was born in Moscow in 1973. He’s now worth $30 billion personally.

We’re always going to have people in America who will decry “those darn immigrants”, and we’re not going to be able to change their minds. However, we CAN prevent them from getting elected to office, and that would be an important first step towards restoring at least a little sanity to our country.

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