Maybe Florida Governor Dan DeSantis should have saved the million dollars he wasted flying 50 immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard and using it to ferry immigrants to Florida. It’s going to need labor to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
DeSantis, who as a congressman opposed the use of federal funds to help rebuild New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy, now thinks the rest of the country should help rebuild the Florida. While I dislike the politics of DeSantis, Senator Rick Scott, and Senator Marco Rubio, I believe (along with President Biden and a majority of Democrats) that the federal government has an obligation to help any state in the event of tragedy. This is one of the things that are meant to unite our United States.
As for the workforce that Florida is going to need to rebuild, historically, large immigration flows to this country have provided workers who are willing – willing, even – to do work that established populations have come to. to be considered inferior to them.
The Italians, Irish and Eastern Europeans, to name a few, undertook the dirty, backbreaking work necessary to build a nation. Sadly, too many of us forget that and can’t wait to get back on board now that we’re on board.
This is not only selfish, but it is counterproductive, as the need for hard workers is no less today than it was 100 years ago.
And in 25 or 50 years, the children and grandchildren of the unskilled workers we allow today will join the workforce of skilled artisans, professionals and doctors – just like the second and third generations of Italians , Irish and Eastern Europeans who have seen the value education and hard work have today.
This is, of course, an incomplete snapshot of the country’s complicated immigration history. I am not talking about the slave labor extracted from Africans who were brought here in appalling conditions (and who then migrated from the South to the North to work in our factories). Or the displaced people of World War II, thousands upon thousands of them Holocaust survivors who have managed to thrive on their talents and work ethic. Or those who fled Communist Cuba and revitalized South Florida. Or more recent waves of well-educated immigrants who today work in our universities and research institutes or to whom we go for medical care.
Two things are constant in the American success story. Immigrants who overcame adversity to come here worked hard and raised descendants who fulfilled the American dream. And there have always been Americans who ignored their own roots and chose to fear rather than welcome the latest wave of these brave immigrants.
DENNIS B. MANGAN