Op/Ed By George Payne –
President Trump’s latest move to deport 200,000 migrants from El Salvador that have lived in the US for 16 years is not only cruel and inhumane, it is bad for business. According to the New York Times, The United States Chamber of Commerce and immigrant advocacy organizations had urged the administration to extend protection for Salvadorans, noting their deep connections to America. In fact, the Center for Migration Studies claims that Salvadoran beneficiaries have 192,700 American-born children, and 88 percent participate in the labor force, compared with 63 percent for the overall United States population. Nearly one-quarter have a mortgage.
In agriculture, construction, entertainment, athletics, medicine, finance, culinary arts, teaching, commerce, and many other fields, Salvadorans are one of the most hard working, loyal, resourceful, warmhearted, and courageous immigrant groups in America. To dispense with their talent and expertise would be a major loss to our cultural identity as a nation, and a significant blow to our economic prowess as a world superpower. Put in even starker terms: to wage a war of suspicion and fear against a people who have given back so much to their adopted homeland is both impractical and unproductive.
After-all, what have the vast majority of Salvadorans done to America except to help build and defend it? Once again, it is painfully clear that Trump does not know what he is doing. In the wake of his reckless and racist policies, he is leaving behind destroyed lives and weakened foreign partnerships; he is disgracing what it means to be a free and open society, and inviting the worst elements within our populace to have a microphone in the White House.
Salvadorans deserve better. Americans deserve better.
(George Cassidy Payne is a SUNY Adjunct Professor of Humanities at Finger Lakes Community College. In 2005 he spent two weeks in El Salvador on a seminary delegation.)