To the editor: Questions over who ought to be considered American are complicated for those who do not look white. Ethnically and culturally, I am numerous things, which is a huge bonus because it helps me understand others. Because I have a significant amount of indigenous American heritage, I can honestly state that some of my people have been in North America for thousands of years.
However, within the last year, I have been told to go back where I came from. Since I don’t speak Spanish, being dumped in Mexico, presumably where these people want me to go, would be a challenge. Regardless, not one of my ancestors arrived here any later than the early 1800s.
On the other hand, President Trump’s mother, both of his paternal grandparents and two of his wives were not born in the United States. Trump’s present wife, who is our first lady, speaks English well enough to hold a casual conversation. In other words, the president’s family is a family of immigrants, and they have been welcomed here.
However, Trump’s rhetoric has people expressing hatred toward Americans like me, whose ancestors have been here for generations, and now he preaches against migrants who want to come here now. Perhaps Trump should learn more about the customs of his family’s adopted homeland so he can become a leader rather than a divider of people.
Marcella Hill, Los Angeles
To the editor: If being humane is our goal, and it should be, then focusing the narrative on a caravan of thousands of migrants misses the mark.
Stories we’re hearing of fathers and mothers leaving spouses and children behind raise an important question: What happens to the failing governments, struggling communities and family members the migrants leave behind? What of the 37 million Latin Americans estimated by Gallup in 2017 who want to relocate to the United States?
If you care about all humanity, including those beyond our borders, then think of the people who aren’t providing political fodder to your opponents. It is hard to turn families away, but if we do not enforce the law, more people will suffer.
Michael Kendall, Azusa
To the editor: Trump claims that children born in the U.S. to noncitizens are not entitled to birthright citizenship because they, like their parents, are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States, as specified in the 14th Amendment.
The president consistently calls for prosecuting unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. who break the law. Since a criminal prosecution requires the exercise of jurisdiction over the person, it would appear that the president must either admit that birthright citizenship is a constitutional fact, or concede that the United States has no jurisdiction to prosecute any undocumented immigrant.
John Hamilton Scott, Sherman Oaks
To the editor: As an immigrant and a Democrat, I agree with those who criticize the president’s mean-spirited and ill-informed immigration policies.
The problem is that the Democrats have been slamming and debunking the administration's immigration policies without offering clear alternatives. This created a vacuum, allowing the Republicans to define us as standing for lawlessness and open borders. We Democrats have to define ourselves as supporters of sane border control and immigration policies that strengthen our nation.
A starting point could be to consider the 2013 immigration bill passed by a bipartisan Senate majority but blocked by House Republicans. We must define ourselves, or others will do it for us.
Michael Telerant, Los Angeles