Dear Editor:

Because I live away from my hometown it is often several days after publication that I read the Decorah Journal. And such was the case as I just recently read the article written by Dr. Salma Patel and her personal story of immigration from Tanzania to the United States. As a refresher, this young woman left her home at a very early age to come to America for a better life. Fortunately for her, and for us, she found Luther College.

Dr. Patel’s story is that of a remarkable young woman that, through her efforts, which included working up to four jobs at a time, she first became a nurse and eventually a M.D. It sure sounds like it wasn’t an easy time being in a foreign country without the support of family and perhaps experiencing times when some she came in contact with were not all that welcoming. Nevertheless she persisted and succeeded.

I contrast this story of an immigrant to America and the story authored by area resident David Becker in his recent letter-to-the-editor. You may recall that Mr. Becker is all-in on building a wall to keep, at least some, of those immigrants out of our country. After all, according to Mr. Becker, we need to keep these “bad elements” out of our country. 

He cites “facts,” unverified of course, that suggest that all these “illegals” can get up to $48,000 in welfare and he repeats some of the talking points, often used by those with limited knowledge, about all the terrible things these “hoards” do while in our country.

Having spent many winters in the southwest I’m aware of the issues associated with our current immigration policy. And living in the Midwest for the rest of the year I’m aware of the dependence on immigrants in our agriculture economy. I have concluded that, if we really are sincere about “making America great again,” we certainly need more immigrants like Dr. Patel and countless others working on our dairy farms and in other jobs for which workers are scarce.

The building of a symbolic wall will have negligent effect on illegal immigration, is a bad and costly idea, and tarnishes our American ideals. We need an immigration policy that encourages and welcomes.

Welcome Dr. Patel. I am glad you are here.

David L. Cronin

Elm Grove, Wis.