Recently, Donald Trump made headlines for calling every African nation, along with Haiti and El Salvador, “shitholes.” He indicated that immigrants from those nations were not welcome, and that he’d prefer to have immigrants from places like Norway, a statement that was roundly criticized for being racist. His comments came despite the fact that nearly every wave of immigration in America’s history has been driven by instability and need.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will be sending Trump a message about his ignorant statement with her choice of guest to the State of the Union address—a newly elected city councilor of Brockton, Massachusetts.
Jean Bradley Derenoncourt is a 27-year-old Haitian-American immigrant who came to the United States after the earthquake in 2010. A local ABC affiliate reports,
‘Derenoncourt is a 27-year-old Haitian-American who became a U.S. citizen two years ago. He was born in Port-au-Prince and immigrated to Brockton after the devastating earthquake in 2010.
‘“Someone who shows a little bit about the best of America, about how we’re building an America that asks for each person to bring your talents bring your energy, bring your work and help us build a future,” Warren said about Derenoncourt.’
Donald Trump has made it clear that he not only wants to deport undocumented immigrants, but legal refugees. His immigration plan also calls for cutting legal immigration in half. That would rob our nation of inspired, ambitious people like Jean Bradley. The Enterprise reports,
‘He came to Brockton less than seven years ago from Haiti, following a massive earthquake which devastated the country in 2010. Then, in February last year, he became a U.S. citizen. And, on Tuesday, he was elected to his first position in public office.
‘At 27 years old, Jean Bradley Derenoncourt was elected on Tuesday to become the next new councilor-at-large serving on the Brockton City Council. Derenoncourt is the first ever Haitian-American elected to the City Council in Brockton, which has a large Haitian-American community.
‘“It’s a historic moment for Brockton,” said Derenoncourt, speaking to The Enterprise on Tuesday. “The next move is to represent each and every Brocktonian to the best of our ability.”’
Contrary to the white supremacist rhetoric coming from the modern right wing, immigrants have contributed massively to the national tapestry of the United States. This nation has been defined by the successive waves of immigrants who came here fleeing hardship or in hopes of a better life.
When Donald Trump talks about American values and traditions, he has no idea what he’s talking about. He fails to understand even a fraction of what it is that makes our nation great. The followers he has support him because they think he’s “different,” but the only thing different about Trump is how open he is with his racism. Usually Republicans try and be a little bit more subtle.
The economic promises he makes will not come to pass. When he’s done coasting off the success of the Obama economy, we’ll be left with the shambles. With strong economic indicators, the goal should be to balance the budget and begin paying down debt. Instead, Republicans advocated policies of austerity, claiming we needed to balance the budget in the midst of an economic crisis. Now, they’re slashing taxes for the rich while blowing up the deficit so that they can come for the social safety net later. It’s disgraceful.
We need more leaders like Sen. Warren and Jean Bradley Derenoncourt. That is what will make America truly great.
Featured image via Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images