■ By By P.S. MAKRIAS
PRESIDENT Trump enthusiastically adopted a proposal by two Republican senators to lower the number of legal immigrants in the United States by 50 percent, in addition to the crackdown he launched against illegal immigrants; namely, everyone who enters the country from its southern borders without a visa or who enters with a visa and then violates its terms by remaining in the country after its expiration.
The proposed law calls for visas to be issued only to migrants who speak English, can fund their stay, with some education, and possess a specialized skill in some trade. And so, the number of legal immigrants will be reduced to 50,000 persons per year instead of the current 100,000, while the lottery system will now exclude countries with a large number of refugees or immigrants.
If such a law existed 100 years ago, millions of people who were penniless, unskilled, and uneducated—but who worked hard, built up large and small businesses, and contributed to the development of the economy and the greatness of America through their hard work and sacrifices—would have been excluded.
These people are countless in number, including many illegal immigrants who rose to prominence and continue to distinguish themselves in the American society not only as entrepreneurs, but more specifically as… restaurateurs!
There are countless “illegal” (λαθραίοι) Greek-Americans who boarded ships and “jumped off” at some U.S. harbor without college degrees, bank accounts, or the slightest knowledge of English, their only possession being the clothes on their back. They rolled up their sleeves, and nothing stopped them from quickly climbing the difficult ladder of successful entrepreneurship in a foreign land. The “dishwashers” went on to become restaurant owners all across the country, or they formed all kinds of businesses providing work for hundreds of thousands of people. Many amassed high incomes and huge estates that enabled them to live the American dream. They were able to send their children to college, to provide the dowry for their sisters in Greece, to help financially their families that they left behind, build schools, roads, and town squares in their villages, being proud not only of their heritage, but also of the fact that they are American citizens.
All these heroes of life and bold businessmen who have been hailed for their successes, ingenuity, and philanthropy would not have a place in President Trump’s America. This would not have been the America we know. The country where poor and persecuted people from all over the world find shelter. This would not have been the America we love.