A demonstrator joins a protest asking for immigration reform ahead of the Summit of the Americas Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Los Angeles. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

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The ever clever conspiracists offer yet another “theory.” This one claims that mainly Latinos seeking to enter our country are aiming to replace patriotic American workers. In fact these new immigrants join a long list of people coming to America seeking a better life.

We are a nation built by immigrants. My grandfathers came from Finland and Hungary. My Finnish grandfather worked at the same job for 57 years, never missing a day’s work. Three of his sons served in World War II, two as officers. His daughter was a nurse in a veterans hospital. On the Hungarian side, two of my uncles served in the Navy. My uncle Lewis rose in the ranks to become an officer, his last duty post was teaching the first computer course at the Naval Academy. Many other immigrant families have similar stories.

We took pride in America being a “melting pot.” The infusion of new blood made our country stronger. In the mid 19th century the aptly named Know Nothing party focused their hatred and prejudice on Catholic migrants. Attempts to exclude Jewish, Chinese, Muslim and other people are further black marks in our history. Those from sub-Saharan Africa were forced to come here beginning in the 17th century. Today so-called white supremacists seek to deny these early migrants their constitutional rights.

Americans come in all shapes and sizes and many shades of skin color. We are multiethnic and take comfort in a variety of religions. No one wants to replace you. Like our ancestors, new arrivals seek to enjoy the freedoms promised by our founding fathers. They want a better life and the right to become citizens. In every community in the U.S. there are help wanted signs and businesses seeking new employees. There are plenty of jobs. We actually need more immigrants.

Ron Jarvella

Belfast