Migrants Build Nations

by Kofi Ayim

Historically, developed civilizations and nations have been built through migrants. Ancient Egypt was great built by migrants. Western Europe was built mainly by migrants from Africa and other places. The U. S. is the most powerful nation in the world because of collective mosaic of immigrant talents. Any nation that attempts to defy this natural phenomenon risks failure.

International migration, which has historically stemmed from economic pursuit, religious persecution, and violence, among other factors, has contributed immensely to the greatness of the United States.

However, the current immigration policies under President Trump have potentially undermined America’s greatness and moral authority even among its traditional allies.

Dr. Amadu Jacky Kaba, professor of sociology at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, made this observation at the Fifth Annual Manley-Yamba Lecture Series, speaking on March 24, 2019, at the First Presbyterian and Trinity Church in South Orange.

Speaking on the theme “The Immigration/Migration Phenomena: Myth, Reality and Compassion in Action,” Dr. Kaba pointed out that not only has the Trump administration reversed migrations to the U.S., but the president has also encouraged some of America’s European allies to follow suit.

“The role of the United States as a leader in international migrations has been indisputable for many years. But,” he added, “the moral authority of the U.S. under the current administration tends to undermine America’s greatness in the eyes of the world.”

He cautioned that some initiatives by the U.S. government are making it hard for this country to maintain a leadership role in world affairs.

Dr. Kaba supported his argument with elaborate PowerPoint data to demonstrate that immigrants in the U.S. remit more than $400 billion to their countries of origin.

This figure, he explained, is more than the foreign aid given by the U.S. He suggested that migration to the U.S. is necessary because of population decline, among other factors.

He remarked that the number of refugees to the U.S. nosedived between 2015 and 2018, and emphasized that the notion that immigrants have any special tendency to commit crimes in the U.S. is a myth.

Dr. Kaba also observed that all categories of migrations have been adversely affected, with the exception of the Diversity Lottery. One key implication of these policies, he lamented, is the loss of talent to other countries, particularly Canada. “What happens when smart people like Elon Musk stop coming to the U.S.A?” he quipped.

Dr. Kaba commended the First Presbyterian and Trinity congregation for organizing these lectures to highlight current issues in society. “The church is a holy grail where compassion starts. Thank God, the church is still a vital force in this country, unlike places in Europe where many churches have been turned into condos,” he added.

Contributing to the theme, Mr. Serges Demefack observed that human rights laws in the U.S. guarantee protection for every immigrant. He lamented that immigration policies by the Trump administration are eroding a once-gorgeous mosaic of diverse people in the U.S.

He decried the end of former immigration enforcement priorities and their replacement with policies that seek to arrest and deport all undocumented immigrants irrespective of their length of stay in the U.S. and of whether they have U.S.- born children and have never had a run-in with law enforcement.

“When you destroy the community by arresting parents waiting for their school children on the curb, you are destroying America,” he added.

“When did we shift from Mexico building the wall to America building the wall?” asked Mr. Demefack, who is co-ordinator of the End of Detention and Deportation Project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Immigrants’ Rights Program, sarcastically and rhetorically.

Introducing the event, Mr. David Niles, an elder of the church, said the lecture series was established five years ago to honor the work and contributions of Dr. Robert Manley, founder/president of the Center for Global Responsibility, and former professor of political science at Seton Hall University, and Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, president emeritus of Essex County College, Newark, NJ. The Rev. Valencia Norman, pastor of the church, wel- comed and thanked the audience for their continued support.

Posted by on May 13 2019. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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