Friday, August 4, 2017


There's plenty I could talk about when it comes to politics; health care, marriage rights, simple diplomacy, but there's one issue for which I have particularly strong feelings: Immigration.

It's important for you to know my family's past.

Sixty-seven and a half years ago my father was born in a displaced persons camp in post WWII Germany.  My aunt was 4 years old at the time.  My grandparents, neither of whom were Jewish (just to clarify), had suffered through unspeakable atrocities, many of which they kept secret until the day they died.  My Baba (grandma) had a scar on her chest that 50 years later the doctors told us was most likely an acid burn, but she wouldn't tell us how or why it was there.  They hadn't seen their families in ages, and their options were very limited.  My great uncle immigrated to Australia.  Returning home most likely would have meant death as the Ukraine was overtaken by Soviet Russia.  My grandparents looked at the only option they had...some cousins who lived in Philadelphia.

Neither of my grandparents were particularly fluent in English.  Both were blue collar workers.  The only connection they had was family.  Not a son, daughter, mother, or father.  Just cousins.

My father came to the US when he was 6 months old.  Ukrainian was his first language.  When he started school, his mother would study along with him, learning the language through his Kindergarten homework.  My grandfather opened a barber shop.  My grandparents were hardworking, responsible individuals.  My Baba eventually got a job at a bookbindery.  To get to work, she walked a mile to the bus stop, and then rode the bus for an additional 3 miles.  She did this every day, regardless of rain, sleet, or snow.  When she returned from work, she would cook and clean for her family.  My grandparents kept their kids in school and off the street.

My father excelled at basketball and track and field in high school.  Thirty years after graduation, he was inducted into his school's Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in track and field.  He studied at the University of Tennessee and later the University of Maryland on a scholarship.  Some time after school he started a successful auto body repair business until a car pulled in front of him on a busy highway and he suffered serious injuries.  After he recovered, he was unable to do heavy physical work, so he joined my mom in her accounting business, which he still runs today.

My father (and mother) made sure I studied hard and respected my teachers.  My Baba instilled in me a solid work ethic, and she taught me the importance of confidence and self worth.

I now own a very successful dog kennel.  I employ 15 people, and we're growing.  I've been featured as one of the top 40 individual under 40 years old in my city, and my facility is routinely voted as one of the best.

I share all of this with you to say if the policies the current government is trying to put in place were in effect 67 years ago, my family would not be here.

I can't say what would have happened with my family, but we wouldn't be in the US, and we wouldn't be working to keep America the great nation that it is (we don't need to to "make it great." It's already wonderful).  We didn't have strong connections in the US, we didn't have valuable skills, we didn't speak the language.  We were poor refugees from a war-torn nation, and yet we were still given a chance.  We were given a chance that many people now a days are being refused, and I just don't get it.  I don't understand how anyone can support such policies.  I know I can't.  I hope that this post reminds people who do support these policies that they're often talking about their friends, neighbors, and own family members.  I'll leave you with that and this quote, written on the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

America is a nation of immigrants.  Let's not refuse to help those who need it.