COLUMN: Diverse cities like Dearborn make America great, Trump should visit
According to President Donald Trump, the world we live in is “a mess.”
We the people are “as angry as it gets.”
Because of this, the 45th president of the United States of America signed an executive order Friday banning entry to the county for immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This 90-day ban will give our country’s representatives time to “figure out what is going on,” Trump explained.
Call it a Muslim ban, travel ban or a 90-day “extreme vetting” period. It’s all the same message to the international community — America does not want you here because you scare us.
We are a nation of immigrants.
President Trump doesn’t need to ban these predominantly Muslim immigrants to see what’s really going on in the world. Instead, he should visit one of the American cities where many immigrants from these nations have settled — Dearborn.
Cities like Dearborn are what make America great.
Bordering Detroit to the west, Dearborn is a melting pot of Middle Eastern and American culture. Forty-one percent of its residents come from Arabic descent. Dearborn is a setting where Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian, Yemenites, Israelis and Palestinians mix with the likes of Poles, Irishmen, Germans and Italians on a daily basis.
You can’t drive down Michigan Avenue or Ford Road without seeing the largest mosque in North America, store front signs with Arabic script and the tangy smell of garlic from chicken shawarma.
It is a collision of culture. It’s uncomfortable at times, but that mix of people has forged our nation’s colorful identity. It is this openness that fueled the American dream. It is the reason other countries have set the United States on a pedestal as a world leader.
Like all Americans, Arab-Americans in Dearborn have different stories and backgrounds. Some are the children of esteemed professionals. Others are refugees of war.
All of them want the same thing — to be American.
Despite the president’s claim, the City of Dearborn is not a mess.
Despite thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants living in Dearborn for more than 40 years, Sharia Law has not taken root. Suicide bombs are not being set off. Islamic terrorism isn’t pounding on the doors of Ford Motor Company’s world headquarters.
I attended high school in Dearborn and watched firsthand how Muslim immigrants assimilate into American culture and how Americans respond to their presence in the community.
At times things are tense — like when the Rev. Terry Jones attempted to set fire to the Quran in front of the Islamic Center of America. People were upset, but they certainly weren’t angry enough to cause any real threats even though their religion had been insulted and threatened.
Mostly, these immigrants work hard to become our neighbors, our teachers, our football coaches, teammates, classmates, friends and fellow Americans.
It’s beautiful. It’s not a mess.
So, President Trump, I ask that you come see for yourself what makes America truly great. I ask you come witness the great American community of Dearborn, Michigan. Take the flight into Detroit Metro Airport, drive 15 minutes down eastbound I-94, take exit 202B onto northbound Telegraph, merge onto eastbound Michigan Avenue and take it all the way until you reach Detroit.
Come see where these immigrants end up.
Come see the kind of Americans they make.
If you knew Dearborn like I do, you wouldn’t have banned millions of deserving people from entering the land of the free.