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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Welcome to America

  • At some point in our past, the town of St. James was separated between Swedes, Norwegians and Germans. They all spoke different languages, and they didn’t mix because of the fear of the unknown. That is an absurd thought these days – in fact we can’t even see a difference between a Swede, Norwegian or German...
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  • Immigration is a part of life, and we here in the United States understand that better than anyone. The majority of Americans at some point in their ancestry were immigrants.
    This is especially important to remember today, while immigration reform is underway. While it may be others attempting to live the American Dream now, it was you or your ancestors at some point.
    I’m writing this because I heard something reassuring at an interview the other day. It came from long-time resident Randy Henderson who said: “I think that when the Hispanic population came to St. James, St. James took a step forward. We’ve had great neighbors and we’ve become great friends and I think it’s wonderful that they were able to come.”
    At some point in our past, the town of St. James was separated between Swedes, Norwegians and Germans. They all spoke different languages, and they didn’t mix because of the fear of the unknown. That is an absurd thought these days – in fact we can’t even see a difference between a Swede, Norwegian or German. This is a change that is taking place with the Hispanic population being infused in the St. James population.
    “With the kids, I’d say half of their classmates are  Hispanic, but they don’t know that! It took a generation or two to learn, but now they don’t see a difference, they’re just classmates,” said Henderson.
    While I was attending school and playing soccer two of my better friends were going through the immigration process to become American citizens. They are exactly the same as me, except that they speak Spanish fluently and I speak Spanish hesitantly. They are hard working people who want nice houses, nice cars and children who are successful, just like anyone else. That, to me, sounds like the American dream.
    So I say welcome to America! I’m no politician nor am I an expert in immigration reform, but if the decisions were purely based on the individuals moving to this country, then there should be no debate at all.
    As Henderson said to me, “They want something better than what they had and they’re willing to work for it.”  That sounds like an American to me.
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