Famous Immigrant of the Week - Oscar de la Renta

This week, we take a stroll down the red carpet with Dominican-born AmericanOscar de la Renta gown fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta!  From his page on Biography.com:

[De la Renta's work] blends European luxury with American ease and helped define standards of elegant dressing among society circles in the late 20th and the early 21st century.

De la Renta received an international fashion education. At 18 he left the Dominican Republic to study painting at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. There, he began working as an illustrator for fashion houses, a position that led eventually to the post of assisting Spain's leading designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga. In 1961 he settled in Paris and worked as the assistant to Lanvin-Castillo's head designer, Antonio del Castillo, before moving to New York City in 1963 to design the couture and ready-to-wear collections for Elizabeth Arden. In 1965 he established his own eponymous company in New York.

De la Renta went on to win several awards and became the first American designer to be awarded a major post at a French couture house. 

More Evidence of Immigrants Being More "American" than Americans?

This article from Strategy Page has some interesting facts about foreignersimmigrants in the military serving in the US (and other country's) militaries.  Here's an excerpt:

In the last decade the U.S. military has enlisted some 70,000 non-citizens, about five percent of all recruits. These foreigners made better soldiers than American citizens. The foreigners are tossed out during their first three months of service at half the rate of their citizen counterparts. After three years of service 72 percent of citizens were still in uniform, compared to 84 percent of non-citizen troops. The foreign troops are more patriotic and work harder than their citizen counterparts.

It's also interesting to note that more Latinos have been awarded the Medal of Honor (the highest military decoration awarded by the US government), than any other ethnic group.

Because I'm not a racist or tribalist, I don't think there is something inherent in Latino genes that makes them a better soldier than a person of German or Irish descent, for example.  I think it has more to do with the work ethic of immigrants vs. the native-born American. 

Many native-born Americans now believe they have a right to a job, a right to health care and a right to the American way of life, but they don't.  This country was founded under mostly capitalist ideals, including that you have to earn what you desire.  You have the right to pursue your happiness, but happiness and prosperity is not automatic.

Immigrants seem to really understand that concept and they are willing to do just about any job in order to exercise their right to pursue happiness.  They will work jobs Americans aren't willing to work, and save what little money they earn in an attempt to move up in the world, and that's incentive to do their work very well! 

Weekly Quote

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.  ~Anne Frank

Government-Created Black Markets

Here are some quick hits regarding government-created black markets in theWe Want Beer immigration world:

Former Contractor Pleads Guilty To Taking Part In Fraud Against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Stephen E. Henderson, 61, who previously was employed by a contractor doing work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pled guilty today to taking part in a scheme in which he fraudulently received more than $50,000 in government money.

Former ICE Analyst Sentenced in Travel Fund Scheme

A former Intelligence analyst for Immigration and Customs Enforcement was sentenced to prison Wednesday for his role in an alleged embezzlement scheme, and federal prosecutors announced another former analyst and a former agency contractor have pleaded guilty to related charges.

Fake ID bust leads to immigration hearing, possible deportation

[The immigrant] told officers through an interpreter he had received the fake IDs from a friend. He was unable to produce a resident alien card when asked for one by an officer, according to the affidavit.

Human trafficking a growing crime in the U.S.

A University of Michigan janitor. A Ukrainian nightclub owner. A Detroit man nicknamed "Gruesome."

The three men, authorities say, are all tied to a growing crime: human trafficking.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking has become the second fastest growing criminal industry — just behind drug trafficking — with children accounting for roughly half of all victims. Of the 2,515 cases under investigation in theU.S. in 2010, more than 1,000 involved children.

And those are only the ones we know of. Too often, authorities say, victims stay silent out of fear, so no one knows they exist.

Give Thanks

Thank Jesus for This Food

Famous Immigrant of the Week - Gene Simmons

It's Friday, and that means I'm ready to rock-n-roll all night thanks to legendary Gene SimmonsKISS band member Gene Simmons! 

Gene Simmons was born Chaim Witz on August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel.  From his page at Biography.com:

His mother, Flora, was a Hungarian Jew and Holocaust survivor, who watched her family die in the concentration camps when she was only 14 years old. After the end of World War II, Flora headed to Israel. It was there that she met carpenter Yeichel Witz, the man who would eventually become Chaim's father.

Gene's mother and father split when he was young and he never saw his father again. 

In 1958, when Chaim was eight years old, he and his mother immigrated to New York to live with relatives in Flushing, Queens. After entering the country, Chaim changed his name to Gene, because it was easier to pronounce, and took his mother's surname of Klein. Gene quickly learned English through comic books and television, and entered the Hasidic theological seminary, called yeshiva, at the age of nine. He studied rigorously while his mother worked at a button factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

After seeing the Beatles on television one night, he decided he wanted to be in a band so screaming women would fall in love with him, and after graduating college, he formed the band KISS.

Throughout the 1970s, the band toured virtually nonstop, and became hugely popular for their over-the-top stage antics. KISS developed a large cult following during this time, with fans—called the "KISS Army"—often imitating the group's dress and make-up. But although KISS hit the road consistently, they wouldn't gain popular appeal until their live album Alive! (1975), hit the stores. The album spawned the group's first hit single, "Rock and Roll All Nite," which jumped onto the Billboard Top 40 charts.

KISS continues to tour the world and is still hugely famous.  Gene Simmons is an interesting character, to say the least, and whether you like KISS' music or not, he's definitely an asset to America!

Colbert on AL HB 56

This video is humorous, but Mr. Douglas raises some great points and reminds us that, "an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Scott Douglas
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Weekly Quote

No matter what other nations may say about the United States, immigration is still the sincerest form of flattery. - Clayton Cramer

Getting Rid of Immigrants Would Get Rid of American Jobs

A new study shows that immigrants founded half of the top US start-upChegg companies, further busting the myth that immigration is bad for the US economy.  From this TD Waterhouse article:

Of the 50 top venture-backed companies, 23 had at least one immigrant founder, the study found. In addition, 37 of the 50 companies employed at least one immigrant in a key management position such as chief technology officer.

…and the immigrant-founded companies created an average of 150 jobs.

Do you work for a company started by an immigrant?  If so, let us hear from you in the comments.

(H/T to Paul Hsieh for linking me to the article.)

Famous Immigrant of the Week - Rita Moreno

This week's spotlight is on Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy-winner, Rita Moreno.  The actress and singer was born Rosa Dolores Alverio on December 11, 1931, in Rita MorenoHumacao, Puerto Rico.

From her biography on Internet Movie Database:

American actress Rita Moreno has managed to have a thriving career for the better part of six decades despite the institutional racism that has plagued the entertainment industry, particularly the anti-Hispanic bias that stereotyped Hispanic women as "spitfires" and sexpots. Moreno, one of the very few (and very first) performers to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy, was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico on December 11, 1931. She moved to New York City in 1937 along with her mother, where she began a professional career before she was a teenager. The 11-year-old Rosita got her first movie experience dubbing Spanish-language versions of American films. Less than a month before her 14th birthday on November 11, 1945, she made her Broadway debut in the play "Skydrift" at the Belasco Theatre, co-starring with Arthur Keegan and the young Eli Wallach. Although she would not appear again on Broadway for almost 20 years, Rita Moreno, as she was billed in the play, had arrived professionally. It would take her nearly as long to break through the forces of institutional racism and become the first Hispanic woman to win an Academy Award.

Here's a clip of Moreno in perhaps her best-known role as Anita in West Side Story:

Administrative Stuff & Quick Hits

First, I'd like to say that I've not been posting here the way I like to, especially since the holidays.  In addition, I'm almost four months pregnant and feeling more tired than usual.  I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, but I know once baby comes, MoE will probably suffer unless I can find some regular contributors (yeah, right! lol!)  Immigration is still a passion of mine, so we'll just have to see how things go.

In the meantime, here are some web links that deserve a look:

State Immigration Laws Seek to Make Life More Difficult for Immigrants (Is this the proper role of government?!)

Immigration Detention Nightmares Our government doing what it does best, violate rights rather than protect them!

More Immigrant Myths Busted If I hear one more person say that immigrants don't pay taxes…ugh!

How Immigration Helps Foreign Aid and Education (and the US Economy!) This article opened my eyes to some new ideas, and I'd love to read the book someday!  Here's an excerpt:

Unlike graft-riddled foreign-aid programs, nearly 100% of the dollars sent back home by emigrants who have made good find their way to the intended destination.


Developing countries also benefit indirectly from sending their skilled workers abroad. More than a quarter of middle- and upper-class Indians made their money in America before returning home. In rural Pakistan, families with at least one migrant member who goes out into the wider world are 54% more likely to send their girls to school.

Weekly Quote

Nihil humanum a me alienum puto, said the Roman poet Terence: 'Nothing human is alien to me.' The sloganwe-are-human of the old Immigration and  Naturalization Service could have been the reverse: To us, no aliens are human.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22

Follow Up - 14 Year-Old American Deported to Columbia

Jakadrien Turner is back in the US.  CNN reports:

Jakadrien TurnerBy Friday, the troubled teenager was finally back in the United States,  after being arrested and then deported to a country that she'd never been in before. It was a months-long escapade that has her family asking questions about how she got to the South American nation and what happened to her while there.

You can read our original post here.

Movie Recommendation - The Artist

We saw the movie The Artist this weekend and it was wonderful!  It's definitely on my list of favorite movies of all time.  Here's the website with this trailer:


You may be wondering why I'm posting about this movie here, on an immigration blog.  Well, you'll have to go see the movie to find out!  Pay close attention to the last few minutes of the movie.

Famous Immigrant of the Week - Baekland

Today we honor Leo Hendrik Baekeland, the father of plastic. Dr.-Leo-Hendrik-Baekeland1

From YonkersHistory.org:

Leo Hendrik Baekeland was born in Ghent, Belgium to a poor shoe repairman and his wife on November 14, 1863…

In 1889 he and Celine Swarts, his professor’s daughter, combined a honeymoon with a travel scholarship to the United States where the couple settled permanently.

BBakelite buttonsFrom The Chemical Heritage Foundation website:

Baekeland investigated the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde, first producing a soluble phenol-formaldehyde shellac called “Novolak,” which never became a market success. Then he turned to developing a phenol-formaldehyde binder for asbestos, which at that time was molded with hard natural rubber. By carefully controlling the pressure and temperature applied to an intermediate made from the two reagents, he produced a polymer that, when mixed with fillers, produced a hard moldable plastic. Bakelite, though relatively expensive, was soon found to have many uses, especially in the rapidly growing automobile and radio industries.

I love the following quote about Baekeland, which also comes from the Chemical Heritage Foundation:

When friends asked Baekeland how he entered the field of synthetic resins, he answered that he had chosen it deliberately, looking for a way to make money.

Baekeland retired in 1939, sailed in his yacht and sold his successful company to what is now the Dow Chemical Company.

14 Year-Old American Deported to Columbia

From this WFAA article out of Dallas/Ft. Worth:

Turner has been searching for Jakadrien since the fall of 2010, when she ran away from home. She was 14 years old and distraught over the loss of her grandfather and her parents’ divorce.

Turner searched for months for a clue.

Turner said with the help of Dallas Police, she found her granddaughter in the most unexpected place - Colombia.

Where she had mistakenly been deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in April of 2011.

Jakadrien ended up in Houston, was then arrested for theft, then gave the police a fake name which happened to belong to an illegal immigrant from Colombia that had outstanding warrants.  Despite taking Jakadrien's fingerprints, ICE failed to confirm her identity and deported her to Colombia.

There are still many unanswered questions about how an African-American girl who speaks no Spanish is mistaken for a foreign national. Immigration officials are investigating and released a statement late Tuesday.

"ICE takes these allegations very seriously," said ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale. " At the direction of [the Department of Homeland Security], ICE is fully and immediately investigating this matter in order to expeditiously determine the facts of this case."

ICE officials also noted there have been instances where ICE has seen cases of individuals providing inaccurate information regarding who they are and their immigration status for ulterior motives.

If ICE has experienced instances where individuals pose as someone else, then you'd think they'd be extra careful about confirming identities before they deport a child! 

This is yet another case of government gone wild. This is what happens when the philosophy of a culture declines. This is what happens when ignorant masses vote in and support a corrupt government.  This is why it's so important to understand what individual rights are and why they must be protected by a moral government.

The good news is that ignorant masses can be educated, but you cannot rely on the government to do it.  If you or someone you know needs to learn more about individual rights or a moral, proper government, please check out Ayn Rand's essay Man's Rights or the book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

(H/T to Trey Peden for linking me to this story.)

Weekly Quote

“The truth is, immigrants tend to be more American than people born here.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Choke