Everyone is afraid of something. Most of us have natural fears of the unknown. As a result, there is fear on both sides of the migration experience. Being an immigrant myself, I know migration is never an easy option. You leave your home, family and friends behind in search of a new beginning in the unknown. America was a starting point for me to follow my dreams and live life to the fullest. I am going to be here for good and I have no plans to go back.
Coming from a family that was divided by the Inner German border, I embrace the idea of borders as permeable. My grandparents were Sudeten Germans which were expelled from Czechoslovakia to Germany after the war ended. My dad later escaped to the West, while the rest of his family was trapped in East Germany. For him it was an adventure. It turned out to be a chance of a lifetime to leave the German Democratic Republic and to make his dream of owning his own hair salon for men and women with employees a reality in Federal Republic of Germany. There he met my mother. They were married and built a good life together.
Migration is a beautiful and natural thing. My family is doing it for generations. But what is beautiful to one person is a thread to others. Trump’s dystopian future vision of migration is based on fear – the fear of the unknown and of not having enough. He recently used the “invasion” metaphor to describe the wave of asylum-seeking Central Americans. In his remark he talked about them like a single army that overruns the border, and he emphasized the necessity of a wall or border troops. He is fueling the myth that migrants are destroying the American way of life – that they are either taking jobs away or become a welfare burden.
Benefits of migration are well documented. Lots of migrants have increased with their workforce productivity and helped the US to get out of the financial crisis. Their contribution to the economy lifted the standard of living in the US. Low-skilled immigrants fill labor shortages and keep markets working efficiently. High-skilled immigrants contribute to technological adaption and create with their innovations indirectly jobs. Self-employed immigrants create their own jobs. It doesn’t matter which skill level the immigrants have – they all boost employment in long term. They generate more tax revenue than they claim in social services or other government support.
My piece “The only thing they fear” is an allusion to all those Americans who complain about immigrants taking their jobs away and who hope to get rich without working. Trump was born into privilege and wealth. He gained most of his fortune from morally questionable sources. He is seeing himself as superior to just about everyone, and he is selling a dream. But there is no development without effort, and effort means work. Success is not handed out for free. You have to earn it. Legal and illegal immigrants work hard and are accepting minimum wages. They do the dirty work that other people are unwilling to do from picking lettuce in farms to cleaning the streets. They often work in multiple jobs. Sometimes 2-3 members of their families work to make ends meet.
The big dreams of selfish, egocentric and lazy people are tumbling down as soon as their post-graduation plans are failing, and they don’t get any financial support from the parents. Their personalities keep getting in the way, but they don’t seem to recognize that. It would be unfair to say they are lost causes. I am sure they can develop, but first they have to change their perspective. Action is the foundational key to all success. That’s why each accomplishment starts with motivation and a sense of purpose. It’s about remembering what is important to you, and to realize that you are not alone as you are trying to reach your dreams. Do all things with dedication, determination and joy. People who are motivated by love, family, friendship and humanity have the most to offer. These are the things that matters – and this is why I seek to raise awareness about injustices and fight for a better world.