To Donald Trump:
You think you are a big American success story, but nothing could be further from the truth. You were born with a silver spoon lodged firmly in your mouth.
The new immigration bill you are backing – and having that history-impaired poor excuse for a human being Steve Miller defend – is just another example of how bigoted, not to mention short-sighted, your administration is.
I would like to remind you that immigrants built this country. You would not be here if not for the fact that your grandfather, Friedrich Trump, was an immigrant. Your pet policy would most likely have prohibited him from setting foot on American soil. He arrived here with nothing, had limited skills, but he had dreams, was willing to work hard and because of those dreams and hard work, you were born into wealth and haven’t had to do a real day’s work in your entire life.
Regarding all those jobs you say immigrants are taking away from American workers: well, there are a lot of Mexican migrant workers who are now afraid to work the fields in California. Last I heard, not a lot of Americans are lining up for those low-paying, back-breaking jobs. Even with wages for those jobs going up to $16 an hour with benefits included, Americans won’t take them.
Those non-English speaking low-skilled workers you are so fond of demonizing pour billions into our economy, put food on our tables, care for our sick and elderly, and clean the rooms at your fancy resorts.
There are all kinds of success stories about people who came to this country with nothing but the clothes on their backs and big dreams, but I have one story I’d like to share with you, although being who you are, a man of limited taste, you probably won’t appreciate it.
It is the story of Ulises Valdez.
I met Mr. Valdez on a number of occasions when I was working as a wine consultant in Sonoma County. This is the story he related to my colleagues and me during one of his many visits to present his wines for us to taste.
Ulises Valdez came to this country in 1985 as a young man of 16 from Michoacán, Mexico. His plan was to work hard in the vineyards of Sonoma County to earn enough money to return to his village and open a small grocery store. At first, jobs were hard to find for a kid with no experience, but he persisted and wound up finding employment in Rockpile, which (any wine lover knows) is synonymous with great wine.
Then came Ronald Reagan’s amnesty program in 1986; and Ulises took full advantage of achieving legal status and went on to become a U.S. citizen. The mere mention of Reagan’s name causes Mr. Valdez’s eyes to light up. In his mind, Ronald Reagan is deserving of sainthood.
Ulises started a vineyard management company with a partner and proceeded to work his butt off. After several years of hard work and saving every penny, he bought out his partner. In the meantime, his reputation as an outstanding vineyard manager grew. High-end producers like Pahlmeyer, Mark Aubert, and Paul Hobbs sought his services. The wines from those labels can go for hundreds of dollars a bottle and they wanted Valdez fruit for their wines.
When Ulises realized that he had these incredible winemakers at his disposal, he decided to launch his own label, simply named Valdez. After his services to them and helping to make their wines world class, these winemakers said yes, we will make your wine. But the Valdez wines don’t sell for those astronomical prices. The consumer gets great wine at moderate prices. I know. I’ve tasted them all, and they are nothing short of spectacular.
Ulises married and raised a family, sent his kids to college, and built a life he never would have dreamed possible as a young 16-year-old immigrant with no skills.
In May 2010, his Russian River Valley “Silver Eagle” Chardonnay was served at the White House state dinner for Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Ulises Valdez continues to work hard every day. He is the embodiment of the American dream.
But you, Donald Trump, would have barred him from entering this country. I can only thank heaven above that you weren’t around when that poor Mexican kid arrived here with big dreams and a willingness to work hard.
Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things. Show her some love and check out her books!
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