Saturday, February 11, 2017

Letter to the President

I have debated whether to share or not share this a million times because it's a controversial subject and everyone has their own opinions. I am not one to openly speak about politics because as a journalist I pride myself on being unbiased. Part of my job is setting aside my own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and reporting the facts. I love that I get to step outside of myself and look through the eyes of other people every day. 

However, there is one matter that I simply cannot remain silent on any longer. That is the President's immigration ban. Two days ago it was struck down by the court and will most likely be tried before the Supreme Court. This is a matter that I cannot remain silent on any longer because for myself and my family it's personal. I wrote the White House regarding the matter and while the President will probably never see the letter I needed to exercise my right to free speech. I wanted to share my letter because I think others can relate and because I'm proud to be the granddaughter of a refugee. 

Mr. President,

I am not one to openly discuss politics because as a journalist I do not want people to think I am bias toward one political party. However, I simply cannot remain silent any longer on your immigration ban. It IS a ban Mr. President no matter how you try to spin it. Today it is Muslims we fear, eighty years ago it was Jews.

My great grandfather was a Jew and a German citizen and he was shot and killed for protesting Nazi rule. Subsequently, my grandfather and his sister spent much of their young lives running and hiding from the Nazi’s after being dumped in an orphanage by my great grandmother. My grandfather and the other orphans lived through bitterly cold winters in a barn with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and very little food. They moved often to evade capture by the Nazi’s, which would have lead to certain death at a concentration camp. Some of the orphans were captured and later died in concentration camps like Auschwitz. Through the work of the Quakers my grandfather and his sister were able to obtain visas allowing them to escape the war and begin a new life in America as refugees.

Mr. President, the simple truth of the matter is I would not exist had my grandfather been banned from entering the country. He, like countless other refugees, simply want a better life. My grandfather sought refuge in the United States and later went on to serve this country in the military. He went on to marry, have two daughters, half a dozen grandchildren, and a handful of great grandchildren. My grandfather has never once thought or attempted to commit an act of terrorism against this country and he would be appalled that the country he came to as a refugee is turning away fellow refugees out of fear. 

Diversity is what makes this country great Mr. President. America is a land of immigrants and refugees because we all have ancestors who came to America at some point in our family lineage. Had this immigration ban existed 50, 100, or 150 years ago your ancestors might not have been permitted to enter the country and you would not be here either Mr. President. 

I fully understand the need to screen those coming into our country out of safety, but an outright ban is not the answer. Diversity makes us stronger and I refuse to allow you to use one of our countries greatest strengths to divide us. In the words of JFK, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Your grandfather's story is heartbreaking and amazing. I, too, wish the president could see that this "executive order" is not consistent with our government's values, its history, or its laws. :(

    1. Thank you so much Joyce. I didn't found out much about my grandfather's childhood until recently when a book was written about the orphanage he was at. I know there isn't an easy answer for national security and vetting refugees, but everyone deserves to have a safe home and a chance to achieve their dreams. Lord knows I wouldn't be here if the US hadn't given my grandfather a chance.