, Newburyport, MA

November 28, 2012

Our nation benefits from immigrants' hard work

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

How inspiring it was to read the stories of Mr. Hendrickson this past week about the local immigrants who had come to this country and added to its wonderful vitality. I could not help but notice that every one of these hard-working people had opened their own business or was working while studying to become a professional.

There were four accounts of determined men and women from four nations: Iran, Nepal, Russia and the Philippines. Each of these remarkable people reminded me of my own grandparents, who came to Newburyport in the 1880s. In the best spirit of America, my grandparents worked hard and made it possible for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have better lives than what my grandparents left behind in counties Cork and Kerry.

In the coming year there will be much discussion of how to deal with the matter of illegal immigration. May we all keep in mind that many of our own ancestors arrived here with nothing but the clothes on their backs, with hopes for a better life, but with little documentation. My grandparents (and perhaps yours) would today be considered “illegal immigrants.”

I hope we will be moved by the recent stories in The Daily News to recognize that our new immigrant neighbors offer great value to our nation. The history of immigrants — both legal and illegal – demonstrates that our nation benefits from their inspiring capacity for hard work and their determination to offer a better life for their children and descendants.

Let us recognize that it is time to welcome all honest, hard-working people to our country. This is the least we can do to honor the memories of our own ancestors, who traveled this same path.

Hugh Kelleher