Letter: A nation of immigrants

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

We hear a lot about immigrants these days. According to Merriam-Webster, an immigrant is one who moves to a different country in order to take up residency. That’s exactly what my forebears did in 1635. They left England and settled in Massachusetts because they believed in the separation of church and state, as did all Puritans. They fought in the Revolutionary War, one cousin having been in the Westchester County militia. Another part of my family came from France with other Huguenots for much the same reason as the Puritans. They were looking for religious freedom. And in 1635, all were welcomed to this country with no preferences as to religion, color, country of origin or political preferences.

Has that changed today? And if so, why? Have we become bigoted? Aren’t we all immigrants after all? Or is our attitude, “I’ve got my piece of the cake, and I don’t want anyone else to have any”? I think back to the first expression of Thanksgiving that my great, great grandparents enjoyed and how much they must have appreciated the freedom they found here. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we followed the teachings of that religion that they struggled so hard to hold dear, and made our country a welcoming state rather than an exclusive fortress?