Without Them, America Wouldn’t Be America

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3406981893_af40006621_oToday on International Workers’ Day, we should take a special moment to recognize Americans. All too often in the debate over immigration policy, American workers are forgotten or devalued.

Just last night, the up-scale D.C. restaurant 1789 hosted a launch event entitled “Accelerating Immigration Reform” with sponsors Partnership for New American Economy, FWD.us, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and featuring U.S. Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida) and Mick Mulvaney (R-South Carolina). All having “U.S.” or “American” in their names, you would think this event would highlight being an American. Instead, it was an event launching a new political ad advocating for the importation of cheap foreign labor.

The ad airing on TV, online, and in D.C. taxi cabs, a voice proudly declares, “Immigrants invented many of the things we use every day.” The narrator then claims, “Without them, America wouldn’t be America.” The ad tries to demonstrate what it would like without immigrant-made inventions. In the ad, a figure loses his denim jeans and is left in his underwear, because Levi Strauss was an immigrant. More “immigrant inventors” are listed on Partnership for a New Economy’s website. The underlying point of this initiative is insulting. Hard work, creativity, and success are not things only foreigners who migrate into this country have.

Furthermore, the immigrationmade.org website is misleading. Many of very inventors on Partnership for New American Economy’s “Immigrant Made” website would more appropriately be identified as “American” because they were U.S. citizens at the time of their invention. At naturalization, these individuals renounced their previous citizenship. They became fully “American” at that ceremony. “German-American” or other hyphenated status would not be appropriate.

For instance, Levi Strauss became an American 1853, long before his company acquired the patent for riveted blue denim jeans. Then, the inventor of processed cheese even self-identified as an American on his patent application, where it is written, “I, JAMES L. KRAFT, a citizen of the United States, residing at Chicago, in the county of Cook and State of Illinois, have invented or discovered a certain new and Improved Process of Preparing Cheese.” Even Partnership for a New American Economy admits on its “Immigrant Made” website that the  implantation of a heart was done in 1957 by Willem Johan Kolffafter becoming an American citizen” (emphasis added). Also, Eero Saarinen, who invented Tulip chairs and tables and the Womb chair as well as served as an architect on many American projects (Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the TWA Terminal at Kennedy International Airport, and the CBS headquarters in New York) was naturalized in 1923. Finally, Gholan Peyman, who the Partnership for New American Economy highlights for being “born in Iran” actually proudly lists his U.S. citizenship on his resume along with information on his patent of the LASIK eye surgical procedure.

Today and every day, we should support American workers. Without them, America wouldn’t be America.

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Content written by former Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.

21 Comments

  1. avatar
    John Perot on

    Recently?……..obviously you do need a huge dosis of American History…………where have u been?

  2. avatar

    Are you sure you are FAIR…….it appears this article puts you in a different country but the USA that fuels and OWES its success to immigrants the children of them……HA!

    • avatar

      So the only countries that have been successful are immigrant countries? How do you explain a country like Japan that has almost no immigration legal or illegal?

    • avatar

      John, same could be said of almost any country in the world, since we’re all “immigrants” with origins in Africa.

    • avatar
      Concerned Citizen on

      John Perot, a little history for you:

      Benjamin Franklin, sometimes called “The First American,” was a brilliant inventor born in Boston. He didn’t immigrate to America…he co-invented it.

      Thomas Edison…born in Milan, Ohio. Not an immigrant, but a brilliant inventor.

      Some of my born-in-the-U.S.A. ancestors held patents and invented useful things that made them successful. None of these inventors were immigrants.

      The whole idea that immigrants are the drivers of innovation is fantasy. Too many people who beat the drum for immigration don’t appreciate the talents and successes of the people who built a country where immigrants wanted to come. Along with this, Perot, most immigration proponents don’t even understand why America is successful. Including you. Institutions over raw power politics, a sense of doing the right thing for the public good, hard work, sacrifice, Yankee ingenuity, optimism…these are qualities of the Republic that have no root in immigration.

      Smearing American workers with notions that Americans, on their own, can’t cut it, is hardly optimistic and therefore is hardly American, either.

      • avatar

        Concerned citizen your concept is completely not accurate nor precise……one of my ancestors was a forefather and even though he was born here, 7 or so generations prior they came from England and were the first settlers and founders of many cities in this country out of which one of them funded and fought the American Revolution. You have no idea of what Yankee ingenuity means and you are completely forgetting the contributions if the African Americans, Chinese, Italians, Irish, etc etc Ellis Island……..

        George Washington the grandson of an immigrants from Essex, England……are you able to understand it?

        You have no idea why America is successful and live in the past where you “think’ all we have is thanks to the people from 300 years ago or so is a 100% thanks to them. You have no concept of continuity and replenishment of ingenuity…….for instance we went to the moon thanks to the Germans………………biggest company nowadays in income Google and Apple both Immigrants or a son of an immigrant………………

        I have several patents in science and work with people from all over the World………in medicine…engineering biology Chemistry…..etc etc our science body is a melting pot………..Noble Prizes in science went to 4 immigrants and 2 Americans……

        It really shows you have no grasp of our country and the least how we became a power………..our immigration System is a mess and NOBODY in congress has taken a shot at our population and demographics to see the correlation of the population age and respectively make the necessary changes for the next 50-100 years…and this is a complex matter that starts with Immigration……..

        You are in complete denial as to who we are…….500 fortune companies….a big percent comes from immigrants or children of immigrants…..you need to go out and find out more about our reality and facts…..you will be obsolete unless you make an effort………………..

  3. avatar
    John Perot on

    So the point is that America has been fueled by immigrants…………………

    • avatar

      Except that a large percentage of immigrants now are a drain on the country, not an asset. The people that came a hundred years ago and more actually WERE the go getters. Their fate was up to THEM. They supported themselves and their families with their own hands. There was no coming to this country, legally or illegally, having children and then insisting that the taxpayers provide for those children. In fact, we are encouraging those people to come here by our actions.

      The Statue of Liberty may say give me your tired and your poor, but the implied message was always that you can come here and you can make something of yourself by your own hard work. It did not say give me your welfare dependent and food stamp eligible. And in fact, in those days, a fairly large number of immigrants returned to their home countries, because it was tougher to make it than they thought. The streets weren’t paved in gold after all.

      And what would we do without Velveeta cheese. I shudder to think how we would have gotten by.

      • avatar
        John Perot on

        You said it by our actions,,,,,,,,why Leland?,…..I tell you….they are abused and used so that those who do that become wealthy………..I am glad you agree to that….next we need to fix that and BY THE WAY…you need to learn more about our history until n=NOWADAYS……………everybody contributed not just the ones 300 year ago,,……..which means we owe it to the immigrants…..

        Leland you live in a subset of our reality……….even nowadays it is tough to make it, and people use their hands to make it much harder than you will ever be able………and throughout centuries the streets WERE NEVER PAVED OF GOLD…..so I wonder what you based this on…really………….you speak as if you knew exactly what is going on…when in fact you don’t…….you only know a small fraction of what is going on and influenced by your upbringing and the Media……as simple a s that….

        • avatar
          John Perot on

          Leland what has been paved of gold was those 300 years ago people, the African Americans and all immigrants that had the desire to work & fight for their beliefs of having a common goal:..for a better life…and it is still happening…..you need not to discriminate people BUT recognize what makes this paving of gold a great country we still have and can keep………..:with people that think at all times with hope and self-determination & motivation to never give up but enjoy through the effort……….money is a consequence of it…that is also important but not taken for granted……………………something you still need to learn other have and perhaps you “might” have had it in your teen years but gone and perhaps never had so that you cannot see it in other people or immigrants and the least on the good illegals………….god bless you.

        • avatar

          John, someone who uses stolen SS numbers and commits fraud to get jobs by undercutting AMERICAN workers is NOT being “exploited”. He is exploiting this country and its people for his own ends.

          • avatar

            Ali the best thing that can happen is to take that money and put it for the federal gov……for the poor instead of those who do benefit from this……………..Ali if by now you think illegals are not exploited….you have a hole in your soul and brains……………….

            Actually think about touching a produce, fruit, going to a restaurant, market, etc etc EVERY time you go and buy there, you do support illegal immigration how much of a hypocrite does that make you? really…..and illegal touched that before you ate it or used it………….think about it….therefore you support illegals.

          • avatar

            or movies etc etc illegals cleaned that as well……think about it…………it has been this way all these years……………….it is a pity that you coming from the Middle East and given a good opportunity here tin the US you want no future for these honest people….at least the good ones……

        • avatar

          I notice you never addressed what I said in all that babble. Which is the fact that there was no welfare back then. You made it on your own and taxpayers didn’t have to provide for your family.

          • avatar

            I did it is just you have no grasp of our reality……………………….people still use their hands to make a living nowadays…..WELFARE?………………….you cannot collect unless you are legal………..to start with….and the biggest demographics of the Welfare are us………………or you just did not know this? Again, you have no idea like concerned citizen which tells me you both have a limited view on what it is to make a living in…….streets paved of gold?………………tell me a better fairy story….

  4. avatar

    I See

    Basically, legal Americans build the greatest nation on Earth and illegals recently sneak in and claim all the credit….and recently, while they’re at it, Rome is crumbling….