Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fix it now

Posted on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Even if you are a fourth or fifth generation Montanan, your ancestor came from somewhere else to settle here. And his/her reason for doing so could be to start a new life in a new land, or to escape some type of discrimination, persecution or forced conscription.

My mother emigrated to the United States from Roseny, Hungary, along with a female guardian, when she was 15 years old. Her mother, my grandmother, was already a citizen of the United States, along with my step-grandfather. My mother spoke little English, but she did well for herself as a seamstress, working for May Company in Ohio. In those days, department stores did clothing alterations in ladies and menswear for their customers. She went on to marry my father, a utility company worker. In 1942, our family, which included three daughters, moved to California. My dad found work at Lockheed Aircraft Company building planes during WWII. He worked for Lockheed until he retired in the 1970s.

I am forever grateful that my mother came here as a scared 15-year-old, never having been on a ship before, and without a family member to support or guide her.

Since 1922, when my mother arrived, immigration laws have varied and changed and they need changing now. It is imperative that Congress finds a humanitarian way to accept foreigners who are seeking what my mother sought: to be with family and to live a better way of life, an opportunity for education, health and a decent living. By the way, my mother learned English, and became a citizen, because she was given the opportunity and education to do so.

Unless this crisis is fixed, I don't see how we can claim that America is exceptional.

Margie A. Gignac


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