Granted, our president was born into a different Queens than the one we know today. He was already 19 years old when the United States swung open its doors to immigrants from around the world.
Queens, perhaps more than any other place in the world, changed for the better because of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Today, Queens residents come from 190 countries and speak more than 200 languages. Nearly half of the borough is foreign-born.
That’s why Trump’s comments about four new lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens, were so alarming and hurtful.
Trump tweeted that they should “go back” to the countries they “originally came from,” and chastised them for criticizing the United States.
Except...Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx. Ayanna Pressley was born in Chicago. Rashida Tlaib was born in Michigan.
And Ilhan Omar, while born in Somalia, came to the United States as a refugee. She’s the first Somali-American elected to Congress, and one of the first Muslim women elected to the House.
In New York City, we celebrate and champion that kind of diversity. We’ve seen it with Asian-American legislators like Grace Meng, Ron Kim and John Liu, as well as Francisco Moya, Jose Peralta and Catalina Cruz, the first Dreamer from New York in elected office.
We’re proud of the trailblazing lawmakers who represent us, including AOC, who are working to make our country more democratic, equal and just.
Rather than doubling down on the hateful and divisive rhetoric, Trump should take a closer look at the borough he once called home.
It’s not perfect –– nothing is –– but we strive everyday to live together in peace and prosperity. The president should do the same.