By Dreya Moore
Two years ago, I left a corporate job as a chemist and bought an artists’ studio and gallery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
I’d just become a mother, and my corporate job was taking me away for some of my daughter’s most important milestones. I was meeting with clients when she rolled over for the first time, crawled for the first time, and said her first words. This broke my heart.
The studio, which I co-own with my mother, has meant more time with family and the chance to be more involved with art — my own and others’.
We’ve also made our studio a place for cultivating community. Here, we celebrate all the people who make up Lancaster. One of our exhibits shared #BlackGirlMagic, and another featured Latinx artists. In July, we held an exhibit called “Hex,” highlighting Amish artists. We want to make sure everyone’s art is seen, and everyone feels welcome.
Our studio has also begun offering free art classes. Money shouldn’t be an obstacle for people engaging with art, just like it shouldn’t be an obstacle to education, food, or health care.
Knowing how important community has been to my business, my heart breaks when I see how much fear and racism is being sown by politicians who want to shrink our sense of community instead of enriching it.
The news is flooded with stories about this, but a lot of it’s happening behind the scenes. For example, the Trump administration is rewriting the rules to make it harder for people to become citizens. One idea they’re proposing is a new wealth test for people seeking a green card, one of the first steps toward citizenship.
That test has an income threshold of almost $63,000 a year for a family of four — a test that about a third of the U.S. population would fail. Are we all supposed to think we’re not good enough to be U.S. citizens?
This test puts huge power in the hands of government officials to reject people for a green card, when already too many people are denied any chance to move toward citizenship.
This flies in the face of what we, the people, want. Poll after poll shows that big majorities favor people being able to get citizenship and live with their families.
Making it worse, the administration say it’s also going to count Medicaid and food stamps against people in the immigration process. Most people who are applying for their green cards aren’t eligible for these important programs as it is. But the rules are complicated, and immigrants at all stages in the process are afraid of risking their chance at citizenship.
As a result, immigrant families will miss out on food and health care, whether they’re citizens already or hoping to become citizens. We’re already seeing stories of families walking away from essential assistance out of fear.
This new wealth test is a cruel maneuver to make our community and our country smaller instead of stronger. We shouldn’t be a country that takes food and health from people — and denies them citizenship — because they aren’t rich.
Immigrants have enriched Lancaster. They’ve helped give new life to our downtown and neighborhoods. They’ve created new opportunities for learning and sharing. And they’ve brought vitality to our local economy, helping us keep more than a thousand manufacturing jobs local.
Leaders whose strongest message is division aren’t real leaders. So, it’s up to all of us to be leaders in our communities.
I try to do this in my business every day. Today I’m going to do it in one more way: by writing to the administration and telling them I’m against wealth tests and for immigrants in my community.
Dreya Moore co-owns The Artist Studio & Gallery @ Annex 24 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She’s a member of Main Street Alliance.
Doug Brown says
Good then YOU can feed them and house them WITHOUT my tax dollars.
Does “everyone” include “everyone” or does it include just people that don’t offend you? Does it include the homeless old white male artists in your “community”? One would think that newly arrived immigrants would be able to support themselves through work versus draining the valuable available resources away from our own needy citizens? No?
I don’t understand which “immigrants” are you referring to the ones who abide by the law and apply for citizenship put up with a ton of bureaucratic obstacles to get get a “green card” and had to pay a few thousand dollars in fees all the while paying income taxes for legitimate employment. This is my grandparents story. They didn’t force their way into this country and DEMAND they be granted citizenship, they didn’t violate one law after another to get what they wanted like a COMMON CRIMINAL.
Are those the types your referring to ?
See how they start the hate? Immigrants are always welcome here IF they come in through a port of entry and are vetted. Illegal Immigration is a crime and MUST be adjudicated. I would rather we enforce our immigration laws and provide for our homeless veterans than a thief in the night.
Michael Cocchiola says
Trump and his followers have reached into the darkest depths of their racist and xenophobic fears to awaken the “ugly American” in our society. They have traded away our international moral high ground for a last-gasp attempt to forestall, for a few short years, the inevitable multiculturalization of America. Just another brief and futile effort by these social Neanderthals to turn the clock back on 100 years of progress.
How many have YOU brought into your home.
For an American to become a citizen of New Zealand you must deposit 300k in the national bank.
Combat vet says
Poor misguided liberals. Be careful what you wish for!
Real simple, “Legal” vs “Illegal”, what is so difficult to understand?
I do not owe anyone, anything. I sure as hell, do not and will not support these people. I worked hard for everything I have and if I have to give it to someone, it will be St Jude.
Sherry Epley says
How many of our / YOUR ancestors could have passed this test of wealth when they immigrated to the USA?
Without passing such a test, where would you have been born? Would “you” now be on the other side, looking in into the promise land? The vast majority of immigrants are hard working assets to our country!
Legal, illegal, it doesn’t matter to the left; they are all potential voters. So these border-busting immigrants come here claiming they are being driven from their homelands by roving gangs of criminals, failed economies due primarily to corrupt/inept governments, and domestic and social violence. According to them, they are fleeing anarchy, and want to escape to the United States. Ironically, the first thing they do is break our laws by coming here. In most cases, the second thing they do is break the law yet again when they fail to show up for their immigration hearings. So why in the hell should we welcome them here when it seems they are bent on creating the same situation here that they just fled? I guess only those with a sense of logic see the hypocrisy of the whole thing.
Born here says
“This flies in the face of what, we the people , want”…..? Should read , what I the people want. This is not what I want. Too much of our money is being sent out of our country and out of our economy every year by these immigrants. It hurts our country.
I just finished making arrangements for a fleet of buses to transport the thousands of people at the Mexico border seeking asylum to Lancaster PA and dropped off at your art studio for safe keeping. You can house, feed, provide medical care and while they are waiting to get their green cards you can give them FREE art classes. Such a deal!
What BS from the left. They have NO concern for this Republics well being and sovereignty. They view this Republic and its people who pay the taxes that keep it going as their personal piggy banks. I know of NOBODY that is against immigration what most are against is ILLEGAL migration that harms this nation and its people.
“IF” as the writer says “Immigrants have enriched Lancaster. They’ve helped give new life to our downtown and neighborhoods. They’ve created new opportunities for learning and sharing. And they’ve brought vitality to our local economy,” then why would the need to TAKE from the tax paying citizens by “Making it worse, the administration say it’s also going to count Medicaid and food stamps against people in the immigration process. Most people who are applying for their green cards aren’t eligible for these important programs as it is. But the rules are complicated, and immigrants at all stages in the process are afraid of risking their chance at citizenship.
As a result, immigrant families will miss out on food and health care, whether they’re citizens already or hoping to become citizens.
in all honesty ,I dont mind anyone who comes here legally and works for a living ,I dont like when people come here illegally and mooch.
@Dreya Moore I just wonder how many homeless are you taking care of, how many young black children are you supporting with your money to ensure they get an education. I would think that supporting the citizens of this country first to ensure these US citizens are afforded the healthcare, a place to sleep and education should be our first priority. . Our homeless and uneducated, our poor and those within the poverty level are a major concern and has been for many years. Politics has caused this focus to shift to illegals all because of some bozo of a president. Regardless of a political party stand, Why would we allow our priorities to change and let illegals partake in those critical items above our own US citizens. People want to be a US citizen then do it the legal way.
Mark101, when you recognize the left is only intent on importing voters who will vote for them then EVERYTHING begins to make perfect sense.
A lot will be changing in January with the Democrats and by then Mr. Mueller will have announced all his indictments. So, Trump can make up all the rules he wants now, but soon things will be changing.
If you’re making it your business then YOU feed them, house them, clothe them, provide medical for them etc. We don’t need anymore moochers we have plenty already. BUILD THE WALL……..
So what are you doing for the homeless AMERICAN Veterans and children? How many immigrants are you letting in your home?
Rose Roales-Backmann says
Beautifully expressed and written article that truly embodies the ideals of this country and what type of fruit those ideals will bear: tolerance, freedom of expression, community leading to prosperity that feeds the common good. Let us hope that more and more American communities follow this model and unleash the wonder and robustness that comes with a multicultural, pluralistic society grounded in love and empathy.
Google Alabama farmers and illegal immigrants and let me know how that turned out for farmers. Now multiply that nationally across other industries they work in. The economy would sink like a Trump approval rating. Fat ass Americans aren’t going out to pick crops fields, work in construction and other industries that rely on cheap labor immigrants provide. Be careful what you wish! Even the Chamber of Corruption, a leading GOP donor is against more restricted immigration. Too many of the fat cat donors need that cheap labor to pad their pockets….It’s always about the money folks….don’t let the Orange haired dotard feed you a bunch of covfefe.
My daughter , now 28 years old came to the US in 1989 from Korea. We paid her entire trip here along with adoption fee’s. We traveled to JFK in NYC to pick her up and drove 800 miles to have her naturalized as a U.S. citizen of the United States of America. She is now College educated and employed by one of the largest Healthcare Orgs in Florida. We paid her entire adoption cost, up bringing and education. NOT ONE DIME from the government or agency. So if you want to make it YOUR business STANDING UP for immigrants please do so. Bring them into your home, feed them,send them to college and love them forever. If you are not willing to do so,then it it is NOT a business you should be in.
Throwing a starving cat into a junkyard of snarling dogs isn’t standing up for anything. Playing along with the sad old gun moll’s diversion of attention from the NRA’s corrupt collusion with Russia accomplishes what? Where are the stories about the great young people, women, and immigrants? Where is the reporting on election reform and innovation, e.g., same day registration and ranked choice voting? What is the point of giving the usual trolls something to spit on?
David Boccabello says
So sorry that Flagler Live continues to disrepect everything our President is doing for our country. If Trump were to walk on water…Flagler Live would report “Trump Can’t Swim”. We real Americans want immigrants who can add to our society…not bums. We have enough of them voting for Democrats.
Love doesnt cost a thing and there is plenty to go around.
People who work hard and were born in the U.S. can’t even get free medical, or food stamps. It is the responsibility of a parent to work in order to make there child’s life better, and that child responsibility to work to make there child’s life even better than there’s and over time life improves with hard work. And as terrible as it is not seeing your baby roll over for first Time,hearing first words, that’s life, the baby won’t remember that. So you are in my opinion . Just thinking of yourself,you left a corporate job were you could have made your child’s life better,so you could have an art studio, and have more time to do the thing YOU like,and then complain about FREE food,FREE medical, this is a perfect example of what’s wrong with people’s thinking. I’m sick of people always pushing the blame on others. This country is a wonderful place if it wasn’t people wouldn’t be trying so hard to get here. That being said once a person is here it is up to them to make the dream happen. So get off your butts stop crying that your not getting free stuff,and work like most successful people. And if that’s not good enough for you to have to work well then go back to where ever it is you came from. And then people say, out spoken people like my self are RACIST. Which is just a crutch for those who are not getting there way. I remember just a few years ago being labeled as a racist was as bad as it got. But to many people pull the race card when they arent getting there way. It’s not about race its about being a productive member of society. And I know what I just said is going to upset someone the truth usually does. And to you I would say( guilty dog barks) most who complain about rasicim are racist themselves! And just to put it out there I believe a person should be judged by there actions.
@Sherry Epley, NOT unlike all things TIMES change. There was a time when there was NOT millions of HOMELESS AMERICANS. But Times change. Personally I choose to make a stand for the children I have adopted, who are of NO blood relation to me, but are NOW EVERY bit MY children and MY family. I choose them. I guess it is easy to talk, ACTIONS speak louder than words.
Legal immigrant says
As a legal immigrant who is now a citizen of the US i think i have a right to have a voiced opinion on this matter well @dreya moore i have gone through the legal and lengthy process of immigration for me to get here and without the taxpayers expense coz that is the rules and i have to abide by it just like when i have to go to other peoples houses i also have to abide by their ground rules but if you @dreya is the kind of person who does not have ground rules in your house well just tell me about it after (people well go through your safe your closet and your personal stuff) well good for you if you have such a good heart but immigration law is a different story, they have the option to leave or not to come here if they cant abide by the rules simple and if you @dreya have the goodness in your heart then by all means petition each one with working visas and do abide the process i do not have problems with it tolerate them all you want but do the right ting do not let these people skip me in the grocery line and let the people at the back of the line pay for their groceries because it is not only unfair and insulting but you are creating chaos in the end.
Trailer Bob says
As with any other country, we have a system for entering our country, and a process for gaining legal status. Heck, try to illegally stay oe enter Jamaica (a third world nation) and see where it gets you. You will be jailed, fined, and sent back home at YOUR expense. This is what happens when liberals try to prove that black is actually white, and illegal is actually legal.
@Sherry – My ancestors were immigrants, from Ireland, the group most poorly treated after finally gaining entry into the United States through Ellis Island. All immigrants of that era endured a long wait, throrough screening, and had to prove they could support themselves or else have a citizen who would sponsor them and be responsible for them, before they could be released into this country. Study your history and cut out the theatrics.
Mark Stevens says
To all those who post behind a Nickname: shame on you. If you aren’t willing to post your name, your opinion is worthless drivel feeding extremism on both ends.
I am a proud descendant from the Mayflower, tied with Irish & German immigrants from early 20th century. The germans were subjected to being held in a ghetto neighborhood during WWI in upstate NY. They could work in the arms factory ( Watervliet Arsenal) but couldn’t leave a 6 block part of the city. They worked there because they believed in America, and understood the falsehoods of nationalism and protectionism of Europe.
Immigration has always benefited the US. Open your eyes & mind and learn.
Cyn sicle says
What’s a slap in the face to all natural born citizens and immigrants who legally became citizens is all these illegals sneaking across the border, and what’s worse is this caravan (and the ones before this o e), that they’re demanding to come here as if this is a right. Lefties, please do some research about what it takes to become citizens of other countries AND what those other countries do if you illegally enter and stay! This is a LEGAL versus ILLEGAL issue, period. Further, why should a single taxpayer dollar go to illegals when there are homeless US-born children/adults and veterans?! Lefties need to wake The heck up. Dems only want to keep you reliant on the government so you will keep voting for them, and you’re all too foolish to realize that. OR maybe it IS true that you’re incapable of making your own decisions and stepping up and taking care of yourselves??? Helping US citizens who truly cannot take care of themselves is 100% fine. How many destitute illegals are we going to let in and feed/clothe/house/care for?! What about helping our own citizens and immigrants who came here legally??? The US will end up like Venezuela…it’s only a matter of time! I’m 32 and paid my own way through college by working three jobs. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Ms. Moore’s article’s whole point is to call us all out as being cruel and heartless! Here’s a point to ponder as fact – Mexican authority’s are already indicating they cannot handle and afford to feed and shelter the migrants- what happens when open boarders creates that here? Will you all feel the same when it’s to late, when we have to ration food because you invited in all the world – because it will and is happening now!
I work hard to support my family. I have values and high morals. I pay taxes. I can barely afford health care. But, I’m not paying for someone else, from another country, to have what I have. The current administration is doing what needs to be done. Let’s worry about OUR citizens first. Specifically the veterans and homeless.
just a couple questions. Would you let a stranger in your house? Would you mind him or her walking through your back door? If 100 homeless people knocked on your door would you feed all of them and house them all? Or would you feed your family before them? There is no easy decision but you can’t just let people in illegally. There is a pretty awesome group of immigrants that come to work in this country legally every year. It is called the H2B program. I have worked with Mexicans who have been in the program for 10 plus years. They come every year for 8-9 months and leave their families behind. Lets start by creating a program to let these hard working individuals to come over legally and send the others back across the border and they can enroll into the program and continue a cycle that actually works. Until then lets keep the strangers out of our house and only let people in who we choose to welcome in. Thank you.
Knows Better says
@ Dreya Moore…..how many countries have you tried to enter illegally? None….because they won’t let you, but they will give you a little cell to stay in until they can toss you out. We are not doing anything anyone else is not doing. This is all simply a distraction. Now you are welcome to go back to their homelands with them and help them make it a better place to live.
Alphonse Abonte says
Liberals look our own homeless and veterans before making choices on invaders. Take care of our own.
We all came from somewhere except our proud native American tribes. I also believe that all Americans including and specially our poor and homeless need our attention first before any our taxes go to benefit any foreing country. But I also know that the doors to legal immigration for our south of the border neighbors is shut firm and that is the reason why they cross illegally.
Even Potus wife and her parents arrived here in a manner that not any other immigrant would have ever been allowed. Also when accusing Democrats of approving illegals to come here is a lie as Obama deported more illegals than any other before him until Trump got in the White House.
We need to take care of our own !!!
I will stand up for every immigrant who comes to our country LEGALLY. As for the ILLEGAL ones, we are a country of LAWS which I choose to follow unless I want to spend time in jail. I am married to an immigrant from Thailand who came over here LEGALLY after filling out hundreds of documents, many meetings and interviews plus paying ALL of the fees required by USCIS. She is now an American Citizen and a proud one at that. Tell me again why America should stand up for ILLEGAL immigrants or for that matter ANYONE who breaks the laws of this country? VERY curious and common sense people want to know!
Each and everyone of us is/was an immigrant. We all, almost all, came from somewhere else.
This land was remote and empty until the great invasion.
Cool off and live and let live.
In our country of Immigrants the sad reality:
The reality is that versus the legal immigrants from Thailand and other places here,. is that these south of the border asylum seekers are never given the chance to become legal our southern doors and applications are shut to them, not a chance, Then with no other choice they come illegally across our southern border looking for a safe heaven for themselves and children escaping death at the hands of drug dealers (yes the same drugs demand and consumption generated in our country that also kill our youth). They will be just appreciative and content to be allowed to remain and just work in our farmers fields, washing dishes and cleaning bathrooms in our restaurants and doing the harsh’s works in our highways that we are not up to do. They have nothing left in their countries but walk over 2,000 miles risking their lives seeking safety and work for food and shelter.
We need better solutions than tear gas and rubber bullets to those mothers and children. And maybe we should start at home with rehab programs, etc. to end the addictions for the drugs demands that are taking away the safety and jobs of these central Americans in their home land that seek asylum here. Also is needed more trade with those countries to create work for these people back home and end their need to come to USA, as unfortunately most we buy is from China only and any other countries in Asia and Euro Asia. Lets do not argue about this issue but use our brains and no cruelty to resolve it.
My suggestion is do NOT believe anything you hear from the so called “journalist” and talking heads from the MSM. They spew out lies to support their agenda and rhetoric. Go to the border and see for yourselves, talk to the border patrol, talk to the people protecting our borders, go over to the Mexican side and walk around to see first hand the real truth. Then and ONLY then you will know EXACTLY what is taking place at our southern border. Until then you are only spewing your own rhetoric.
Pierre Tristam says
Richard, I look forward to your on-the-ground live commenting from the border. Until then, and following your advice, I suppose we should NOT believe anything you write and consider your so called “comment” as just “spewing your own rhetoric.”
Pierre, can you, Dreya Moore or anyone else please explain why thousands of refugees walking from central America (Honduras) would travel almost 3000 miles to Tijuana MX versus 1500 miles to Brownsville TX if they were seeking protection in the USA from abuse in their country (asylum)?