Gold Medal Win Causes Focus on Immigration Debate

She was born in Long Beach, California 17 years ago. Last week, she became the youngest woman to win an Olympic Snowboarding gold medal, earning a near-perfect score on the halfpipe. Her father watched from the grandstand at the base of the halfpipe with a sign that read “Go Chloe!” while shouting “American dream!” as his daughter made history.

This Olympic Gold Medalist is Chloe Kim.

Chloe is the daughter of South Korean immigrants. Her father came to the United States in 1982 with $800 looking for a better life; a better future. He first worked as a dishwasher, then a cashier. Eventually, he was able to attend college and get a degree in engineering technology.

Fast-forward to 2018.

During his January 31 State of the Union speech, President Trump urged Congress to pass legislation that promotes “merit-based immigration,” describing it as a system that “admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society.”

Chloe’s dad wanted to work; he wanted to contribute to society, but he wasn’t skilled when he entered the United States. Therefore, under Trump's proposed merit-based immigration system, Chloe’s parents might not have been allowed into the “United States of Trumpica.”

“I’m proud of my Korean heritage, but I want people to know I’m American,” said Chloe.

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© 2020 Mark M. Bello

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