30 January 2017
I am an immigrant
I moved from Canada to the United States in August of 2001 to take a job at what was at the time The University of Texas Pan American.
I have many advantages. I’m from a nation that the United States considers “friendly,” I am white, I am a man, I am a native English speaker, I am a skilled professional in a respected occupation.
And after the events of the last few days (the so called “Muslim ban”), I don’t want to go out of the United States for fear I might not be allowed back in. Or that something bad might happen. I’m nervous about driving to San Antonio, because there’s a Border Patrol checkpoint on the highway I have to drive through.
The executive order isn’t directed at me in any way, but I have eyes. I saw how quickly the ground truth changed. I saw the heavy handed implementation. Even if the “Muslim ban” is ultimately overturned, I saw the needless turmoil it caused. Damn right I’m nervous. I’m fine today, but will I be tomorrow? Next week? The week after that?
I can only imagine the fear and stress that other immigrants must feel, particularly those who don’t have my laundry list of advantages.
I would like to believe the university and the United States have benefited from my presence. In general, the United States has benefited from immigrants, and especially in science. The Manhattan and Apollo projects probably wouldn’t have even started without immigrants. Michio Kaku has certainly argued that the United States has been the preeminent leader in science for decades because of immigrants.
I thank those American citizens who have stood up against the terrible “Muslim ban” executive order and voiced their support for immigrants. And I support my fellow immigrants.
P.S.—I’d rather be writing about science.
American science without Americans?
Picture from here.