Most Americans are descended from immigrants
The problems and unfairness of our immigration laws have been on my mind for some time, and now the story of a victim of these laws reminds me of my family. [“Guest column: Trapped as the spouse of an H-1B visa worker,” Opinion, July 15.]
My grandfather came to the United States from Denmark as a young man in the mid-1890s. There is no record of his arrival in the US. Our best guess is that he just walked off a tramp steamer onto an obscure dock and decided to stay here.
He married, had four children, worked as a carpenter, and led a good and decent life. As a young boy, I recall him explaining why he didn’t speak Danish by saying that “we’re Americans — we speak American.”
He has been succeeded by generations of productive, taxpaying citizens. Many have college degrees, a few have master’s degrees, some have been more successful than others, but none have been criminals.
It’s fair to ask what could have happened if my grandfather (admittedly here illegally) and his immediate family had been subjected to the immigration laws and restrictions now in effect? We probably wouldn’t be here. I (part of the third generation) wouldn’t have had a successful career as a federal employee. My grandchildren wouldn’t have attended U.S. schools and earned academic awards.
It’s also fair to ask why our lawmakers can’t make immigration laws that reflect the economic and social realities of the 21st century; laws that eliminate the cumbersome, time-consuming, petty, and frustrating requirements for entry and citizenship that work only to the detriment of our economy, our society, and thousands of individuals.
Harry Petersen, Bellevue
Immigrants need to follow the rules
The Times opinion piece by Dakshina Thekkekalathil is a good example of what’s wrong with many who immigrate to this country.
She writes that “tagging along with my techie husband to America was a well-thought-out decision.” If it was such a well-thought-out decision, why is she complaining about the processes she found when she got here?
She states that “nobody is asking that all benefits be made readily available.” Really?
People who come to America need to follow the same rules our relatives followed when immigrating.
John Christensen, Edmonds