Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appearing on Fox News naturally, had the following to say about immigrants to the United States:
“What good does it do to bring in someone who’s illiterate in their own country, has no skills, and is going to struggle in our country and not be successful. That is not what a good nation should do, and we need to get away from it.”
Well Mr. Sessions, anyone who has either screened or hired applicants for a job, whether it be entry-level or upper management, knows that there are some things that can be learned and others that can never be taught. Experience is good, but most employers look at two different qualities:
Attitude and aptitude
I am reminded of a television program that aired a few years ago regarding Southwest Airlines. The company had brought in several applicants to be interviewed as ticket or customer service agents. The airline paid for their trip, but following the interviews, some of the prospective job seekers faced a change in their travel plans that caused a delay in their departure. Their reaction was to complain bitterly to the ticket agents about “unfairly” they were being treated. After they left the ticket counter, the camera caught one ticket agent turning to her companion and saying “They are never going to be hired. You can’t teach someone to be nice.”
What Mr. Sessions, along with most of the Trump administration and other Republicans, fail to grasp is that they are equating experience with ability. Give me someone who is willing to learn over someone who thinks he or she knows it all any day of the week.
People who are illiterate can be taught to read. Classes for learning English as a second language (ESL) are bursting at the seams and teachers skilled in facet of education are highly sought. These people WANT to learn. That is the attitude we need in immigrants.
Someone who “has no skills” can be taught a skill. No one is born knowing how to operate a computer, drive a truck, or how to repair a car. These are skills that must be learned, whether you are born in the United States or come from another country. People with the attitude and aptitude can learn and quickly become contributing members of our society.
“Struggle in our country and not be successful” Yes, for many it is a struggle, but it is one that THEY are willing to make. How much sweeter the victory if one achieves success after struggling for it instead of having it handed to you on a silver platter, like – well, you know who I mean. Who are you, or anyone else for that matter, able to judge without any information who is going to be successful or not? And what, by the way, is your criteria for determining success?
The best definition of success ever written comes from the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, titled appropriately “Success”
Session’s ends by saying
“That is not what a good nation should do, and need to get away from it.”
No, that is exactly what a good nation should do. That is how our nation became not just a good nation, but a great nation. We are a nation of immigrants, a nation built by immigrants, whether they arrived here in the 17th century or the 21st century. We do not “need to get away from it.” We need to embrace Because that is what being an American means. Perhaps Jefferson Beauregard Sessions needs to learn more about American history than the period between 1860 and 1865.
For those who remember the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, the United States accepted nearly 125,000 people fleeing the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba. Yes, Castro also released criminals from his jails as part of the flood of immigrants – but most were eventually identified and incarcerated. The vast majority became a positive contribution to our society. We now have people of Cuban descent serving in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
That the current Attorney General of the United States would make such statements is indicative of the cancer that the Trump administration has become on the soul of our nation. This cancer must be removed as soon as humanly and legally possible before our democracy becomes hopelessly diseased by it.