Who would you rather perform brain surgery on you: Donald Trump or an illegal immigrant from Mexico?
Trump should talk with Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, not for a consultation, but to hear his story. Quinones came to this country illegally and did everything from pulling weeds to picking grapes to working as a welder for the railroad while taking night classes at Delta College in Stockton. Today he is a world-renowned brain surgeon at John Hopkins Hospital.
Quinones' story might be extraordinary going from farm worker to brain surgeon but his path isn’t. The vast majority of immigrants — including illegals — make solid contributions to this nation.
When Trump announced his run for president June 16 he made the following comments, “When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”
A lot of pundits dismiss Trump as a joke. But here’s the problem. While the odds of Trump becoming the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are as likely as 100 inches of snow falling in the Sierra next month some pundits such as Pat Buchanan astutely note that the real estate mogul has tapped into a block of frustrated voters that cross political party lines.
In a nutshell, immigrants — particularly illegal immigrants — are supposedly taking jobs and sending crime sky high.
So what jobs are they taking? They range from back-breaking farm labor that you have to hustle to make minimum wage to thankless jobs no one else is lining up to take. Yes, there are some in jobs that may be pushing aside legal immigrants and citizens. But the fault there lies with the people making the quick buck who pay them under the table. They can’t work in such jobs unless their employer breaks the law first.
As for crime, make no doubt about it there are criminals among immigrants who are legal and otherwise. But guess what: No data shows that it is a high percentage than the general population.
If immigrants equal more crime then why isn’t crime going through the roof in California, arguably the biggest melting pot of immigrants in the United States if not the world?
Yes, there have been high-profile cases such as the hardcore gang member from Central America that gunned down a father and two of his sons in San Francisco because he didn’t like the way they looked at him. The fact he was still in this country is the fault of the system that overlooked a previous felony he committed here because they erroneously believed he was a juvenile to give him a second chance and not be deported. That’s not the fault of Mexico. That’s the fault of our government.
Are immigrants involved with the drug trade? Yes, there are some. But to make a wild-eyed statement to imply that 99 percent are is reckless and ruthless as it plays on voters’ fears.
Are immigrants criminals? Again, there are some plus you can’t overlook the fact illegal immigrants are criminals because they broke the law of this country to get here. But given the contributions almost all of them have made and the vital role they play in our economy, there needs to be a program to move them toward at least being legal if not citizens and require them to either obtain legal status or citizenship to stay in this country.
The statement “they’re rapists” is so inflammatory it isn’t even funny.
If immigrants are indeed synonymous with rapists then can Trump say that any of his enterprises never hired an immigrant — legal or otherwise? If they’re all rapists he certainly has endangered the safety of guests in his hotels and casinos not to mention other people they come in contact with at his enterprises.
His most patronizing line arguably is “and some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump needs to spend time in the San Joaquin Valley.
What he would see would convince most reasonable individuals to change the word “some” to “most.”
Trump is entitled to his opinions.
It is part of what sets America apart from the rest of the world.
What he isn’t entitled to do is deliberately mislead people about the value of immigrants — illegal and otherwise — while his enterprises’ bottom lines benefit from them.
If Trump believes what he said, then he should first clean up his own house and fire all immigrants that work for any company that he controls.
That way he can be a man of his word although arguably he’ll be a much poorer man.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.