One of the most common attacks that anti-immigrant people wield against immigrants, naturalized citizens or not, is that they do not adapt to this country and are not sufficiently “loyal” to this nation because they maintain their customs or their language.
But if immigrants have demonstrated anything throughout history, it is that their loyalty to this nation is far greater than that which many people born here demonstrate.
The public hearings regarding the potential impeachment trial of President Donald Trump captured this contrast last week with testimony from three immigrants, who showed more love and loyalty to this country than Trump and certain Republicans could ever demonstrate. These others, in a shameful manner, continue defending the actions of a president who puts national security at risk and debilitates democratic institutions already thrown for a loop by his presidency.
Trump’s former national security advisor on Russia and Europe, Fiona Hill, a naturalized U.S. citizen of British origin; lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman, a naturalized citizen of Ukrainian origin and the ongoing Director for European Affairs at the United States National Security Council; as well as diplomat and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a naturalized citizen of Canadian origin; showed what it means to put country before political expediency. This while some shameless Republican congressmen, tried to question their loyalties because they were not born in the United States and, in the case of Vindman, because he speaks Ukranian.
The most upsetting thing is that the Republicans do this in order to defend an individual who, throughout the almost three entire years of his presidency, has demonstrated a total disdain for democratic institutions, the judicial system, the press, his own intelligence services and career officials; and a total affinity with autocrats and dictators of nations considered hostile to U.S. interests, particularly Russia.
But this doesn’t matter one bit to Republicans in Congress, fearful that confronting Trump will hurt them politically in states and districts that he won in 2016. This has their last shred of dignity hanging by a thread, as in the case of the Republican senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, who pawned his honor in order to defend a president who is only loyal to himself.
To these Republicans it simply does not matter that a U.S. president has tried, to practical effect, to bribe a foreign nation, Ukraine, conditioning the distribution of funds authorized by Congress and coming from us, the taxpayers, based on the provision of compromising information about his political rival, U.S. citizen and former Vice President Joe Biden.
It also does not matter to them that this president and his minions continue spreading false conspiracy theories about the Bidens and the Democrats; or that they continue disseminating false ideas put forth by Russia that it was the Ukraine, and not Russia, who intervened in the 2016 elections, and which to this very day continues to intervene with Trump’s total support.
It was three immigrants, Hill, Vindman, and Yovanovitch, who explained why Trump’s actions were incorrect and how his conduct and that of his enablers attacks U.S. national security and this very democracy.
Hill’s testimony and her responses were, without a doubt, among the most dramatic, for her direct and simple message to the Republicans. Without naming them, she urged them to stop disseminating falsehoods regarding the intervention of Ukraine in the 2016 general elections because this is just doing the Russians’ dirty work for them.
“This is a fictional narrative perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016,” said Hill.
Did Hill achieve something? Apparently not. The Republicans on the Intelligence panel continued like the ostrich with its head in the sand, omitting the truth and defending the indefensible.
When Hill declared that “This is my country and the nation that I served,” she said it for herself and for the millions of immigrants who, before and after her, continue loving and serving this nation as Trump and his facilitators never have, perhaps because they don’t have the experience of a migrant who has fled hunger, violence, injustices, lack of opportunities, lack of democracy. A democracy that these people take for granted, for the little that it seems to matter to them, which they are putting in danger by doing the dirty work of a president who has demonstrated his disloyalty to this nation, unlike the three naturalized immigrants who Trump has tried to demonize.
Because as Hill said: “This is a country of immigrants and this is what, for me, really does make America great.”
To read the Spanish-language version of this column, please click here.