Im­mi­grants’ sto­ries

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - let­ters@wash­post.com

Re­gard­ing the Aug. 3 front-page ar­ti­cle “Plan set to slash green cards”:

In the early 1900s, my grand­mother Frances Draskovic was liv­ing in a dirt-floor hovel in what is now Croa­tia. At 16, alone, il­lit­er­ate and un­able to speak any lan­guage but Croa­t­ian and with a ticket purchased by cousins in the United States, she boarded a steamer bound for New York.

She was met by Croa­t­ians who put her on a train to north­ern Min­nesota. In her box lunch was a banana, which she ate af­ter watch­ing another pas­sen­ger peel and eat one. She had only ex­pe­ri­enced fresh fruit as one or­ange once a year, shared (in­clud­ing the peel) with her sib­lings.

Met by her kind cousins, my grand­mother found work in a board­ing­house for im­mi­grants em­ployed in cop­per mines. She made her way to Pitts­burgh where she met my grand­fa­ther, another Croa­t­ian im­mi­grant. They mar­ried and moved to Ohio, where my grand­fa­ther started a beer busi­ness. My grand­mother’s sons and daugh­ter were com­mu­nity lead­ers and phi­lan­thropists, and my fa­ther served as a Repub­li­can Party county chair­man. My gen­er­a­tion in­cludes a col­lege pres­i­dent, teach­ers, a school su­per­in­ten­dent, en­trepreneurs, a Navy of­fi­cer, a phar­ma­cist, a speech and hear­ing ther­a­pist, a licensed clin­i­cal so­cial worker, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer, and (in my case) a civil rights lawyer and trial judge.

If the im­mi­gra­tion bill spon­sored by Sen. Tom Cot­ton (R-Ark.) and David Per­due (R-Ga.) and en­dorsed by Pres­i­dent Trump be­came law, my fam­ily story would not hap­pen again. I can­not com­pre­hend how such a tragedy would be good for the coun­try my grand­mother loved and taught me to love.

Mickey Matesich Ed­wards, Re­ston

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