News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 10, 2013: Dear Mr. President,
On Saturday, May 4th, I took a train ride from Jackson Heights, Roosevelt Avenue to Flushing, Queens, NY. The ride on the #7 train took me through what is undoubtedly, South Asia and South America, Queens, USA all the way to China, Queens, USA.
The Jackson Heights/Roosevelt area is home to predominantly immigrants from India, Bangladesh while the Jackson Heights/Corona area is home to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru foreign born. Flushing is home to one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia.
Just a simple 15 minutes train ride without leaving my borough of Queens, allowed me to see and experience so many different cultures. From the curries, naan and sweets of South Asia to the Empanadas and Arroz Con Pollo in the Hispanic populated areas of 82nd Street and on to the Szechuan hot pot and fresh fish, unique fruits and vegetables in Flushing. And all in less than three hours!
It was truly an uniquely American experience – the proverbial “melting pot” – that allowed for me to “touch” two continents on different side of the globe and the predominant cultures of each – all with just a train- not plane ticket.
Maybe instead of having lawmakers battle in Washington over comprehensive immigration reform and which side benefits or not – you should bring them each on a train ride in the most diverse of the boroughs of New York – Queens.
Let them ride the number 7 train; stop at the various “national” enclaves on this line and see, taste and feel the United Nations of the USA right here in New York City. Not to mention, experience all the small businesses that create jobs and contribute directly to the economy.
Perhaps then they will understand that comprehensive immigration reform is not a “hand out” or a reward to law breakers but it’s about the benefits to America.
The United States of America is stronger, distinctly unique and better because of immigration. We can experience the world without even setting foot outside America if we let ourselves. Few other countries in the world can boost of this.
Now it’s time to make sure we preserve the assets that make us strong; the hands that build us up, not tears us down; the diversity and strength that is immigrant and American.
Immigration reform must not be allowed to be derailed because of two zealots who happened to be immigrants. They do not represent the 11 plus million hard working, dedicated and morally upright immigrants in this country – whose only crime was to overstay a visa or cross the border to seek a better life for themselves or their families.
Mr. President, we have come too far to back off now; you have to keep on making the case for immigration reform for the sake of the immigrants in areas like Jackson Heights, Corona and Flushing all over this country – who represent America’s true beauty and strength. Onward with immigration reform!