Most of you reading this are descendants of immigrants or you're immigrants yourselves. Immigrants have always been the lifeblood of NYC. The NYPD has been diversifying its force for years, and now about 25 percent of new recruits are foreign born.
Slain NYPD Det. Randolph Holder was laid to rest in his native Guyana last week, while less than a year ago, fellow NYPD hero Wenjian Liu, a Chinese immigrant seeking the American dream, was also killed in the line of duty.
A disservice to their memory is taking place in the presidential campaign, with immigrant-bashing raising its ugly head, most famously but not solely in Donald Trump's comment that "when Mexico sends its people, they're not sending us their best . . . They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain expressed distaste for such statements. "I've walked into restaurants, and the person who's been there the longest, who took the time to show me how it's done, was always Mexican or Central American," he said on SiriusXM's "Stand Up! With Pete Dominick."
Bourdain notes that in all his years managing restaurants, not one single American-born kid ever applied for a job as a night porter or dishwasher, rarely even a prep cook, because, "They're not willing to start at the bottom." He said if Trump got elected and fulfilled his promise to deport 11 million immigrants here illegally, "every restaurant in America would shut down."
According to USA Today, 25,000 non-U.S. citizens are serving in the U.S. military, while law enforcement agencies nationwide facing manpower shortages are increasingly turning to foreign-born people as well. Immigrants continue to solidify the ranks of New York's Finest, risking their lives for us daily.
They go through criminal background checks, pose no security risk and "only want to serve and protect their communities," says Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.
Meanwhile, too many fake patriots running for office continue to scapegoat immigrants. In memory of Holder, Liu and other foreign-born New York heroes, it's time to tell these demagogues that the hate pouring from their mouths is what's truly un-American.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.