My grandparents emigrated from what is now Slovakia at the time of the Bolshevik revolution. They wanted to move to a country where individual freedom was practiced.

A house, an acre of land, a large garden and a Plymouth in Masury, Ohio, were supported by my grandfather, working in the steel mills next door in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Not much English was spoken in the household, but it afforded my father a college education, a 35-year career in engineering with General Electric and five kids. This was despite the fact that he occasionally had to fight his way home from school with others who called him a “Hunky.”

“Un-American” was not a term my father took lightly. I don’t know what he would think of immigrants now, though I guarantee he would think twice before denigrating them – unlike so many citizens in this country who have completely lost their sense of history.

Immigrants – not computers – built this country. Interaction that could ameliorate the differences between people has been replaced by mindless, self-centered tweets. What is going on at immigrant detention centers in Texas and elsewhere is the result of the Trump administration’s efforts to keep freedom from spreading.

This is the same country that found a place for the president’s German and Scottish forebears. Unfortunately, if you’re from south of the border, you get the Third World treatment. Witness the new acting head of Customs and Border Protection (and former acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement), who stated to Fox News in January that he had looked into the eyes of detained migrant teenagers and knew they would become gang members. To him, I say: Hate begets hate.

Doug Yohman

East Waterboro

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