Letter to the editor | Continue immigration legacy

July 9, 2013 

I strongly agree with Helen B. Marrow and Tomas R. Jimenez’s column, “Assimilation fears shouldn’t hinder immigration reform” (CDT, Friday).

They argue that, if given the chance, the 11 million immigrants currently in America without legal status would, in the main, assimilate well and contribute to our society.

Judging from the immigrants I have met, I strongly believe this is true.

This is especially important to me because when I was growing up, I was close to my grandfather, the firstborn son of a Slovakian immigrant.

At that time, Eastern European immigrants were considered crude, ignorant, stupid and dangerous.

They didn’t speak English but were needed to do cheap labor.

My great-grandfather became a miner, his son became a railroad worker, then his son became a pharmacist and then I became a scientist.

I received a legacy — a chance in life — that I didn’t earn myself.

In the Old Country, my family would never have had a chance.

It is ironic that the vast majority of the people spreading fear and resentment about immigrants today had ancestors who were feared and resented immigrants.

I hope the U.S. House of Representatives has the courage to do the right thing and pass comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship to the millions of otherwise honest people who took a risk and crossed the border to find work to support themselves and their families — and to their innocent children who now know no other home.

John Dziak

State College

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