My great-grandfather got on a boat in Ireland in 1905, and ended up in Boston, MA a few weeks later. He had $2.50 in his pocket, one suitcase, and a sister in Woburn, MA. From that humble beginning my family got established in the US, and fought for the US in every war from WWI through at least Vietnam. Unless you are Native American, your family has a similar story.
So what is the It in the title? It is inertia. It is the fear that keeps all of us from doing all those big things we are always going going to do. Things like:
- Start a company
- Through-hike the Appalachian Trail
- Take off an epic road trip
- Move to an island
- Retire young
I could go on but you should get the point. Almost all of us have an embarrassingly long list of big projects we were going to do, but never actually did.
Do you know who doesn't have that list?
Immigrants don't have that list. They did it. They picked up and moved to a foreign land where they may not speak the language, and may not know anybody. They may have even broken the law to do it. They uprooted everything they knew and left a county that was likely their family's home for generations, all on the chance that they can build a better life here in the US.
Immigrants have already done one of the things Americans claim is most important for success. They have shown initiative. They have taken a big chance. They have put it on the line. An American that risks everything to make a better life is a damn hero. But if the person is Hispanic it is a whole different story.
Immigrants founded over half of the billion dollar start ups in the US, but given the risk they take just to get here, that really shouldn't be surprising. By coming here they exhibit the very qualities we claim are critical for success. And that number only counted first generation immigrants. It doesn't count their kids, people like Steve Jobs, who grow up as citizens and go on to do great things.
Immigration is basically a filter for the people that get shit done. It's a filter for the people we need in this country. It's a filter for the people we want in this county. Put another way, if we took the 35% of people still supporting Donald Trump and traded then for an equal number of immigrants this county would be in much better shape.