Last week, George W. Bush, the forty-third President of the United States, spoke to the Commonwealth Club of California about his newly published book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants. While there are reasons to be critical of his presidency, it is also important to commend President Bush for speaking honestly about the value of immigration to our society and sharing the inspiring stories of many fairly recent immigrants to our nation.
He writes, “The data is clear on immigration’s benefit to the economy. Immigrants come here to work, and they contribute to economic growth. Most Americans recognize the numerous ways immigrants strengthen our communities. Our outdated immigration system, however, does not.”
His book notes these important facts on immigration:
- Immigrants have always been a part of the United States.
- Immigration to America peaked in 1890, when 14.8% of our population was foreign-born.
- Since 1902, 132 U.S. immigrants have been awarded a Nobel Prize, on third of all U.S. prize winners.
- Annual humanitarian immigration has fallen from 17% of total immigration into the U.S. in 1999 to under 6% in 2018
- Even though immigrants account for only 13.5 % of the U.S. populations, roughly 18% of all U.S. business owners are immigrants.
- About one third of the undocumented are Dreamers – children of undocumented residents who were born in the U.S.
The first immigrant story that President Bush tells is that of Joseph Kim. Joseph escaped North Korea in 2005 at the age of fifteen. In China he was aided by a number of churches, as well as individual Christians, and was eventually helped to immigrate to the US. In China he was introduced to the Bible and remembers. “The first Bible verse I read was Matthew, chapter eleven, verse twenty-eight; ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'”
May we remained committed to the well-being all immigrants, refugees and displaced persons.
Tonight on LABC Zoom – No Soup, But Study (reading Lamentations chapter three) 6:00-7:00.
(Our Outreach Offering in May is the LABC Scholarship Fund)