Letter: Celebrating Independence Day and remembering immigration's role

To the Editor:

The joint Shelton-Derby fireworks are a fantastic community tradition celebrating Independence Day and bringing visitors to downtown Shelton. It’s always a lot of work for our police officers, firemen and other first responders who have to stand ready to manage the crowd and for our City’s Parks and Recreation department to organize. All citizens should be grateful for their work.

Every July 4 we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which documented the states’ grievances with King George III’s government. One of those grievances was “He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither...” It’s important to remember not only that we are a nation founded by European immigrants but also that one reason our founding fathers fought for independence was the immigration restrictions imposed by British rulers, who were afraid new people and ideas would make the colonies too independent.

I have English ancestors that arrived in the 17th century but I’m not any less a descendant of immigrants than a neighbor whose mother emigrated from Guatemala. Colonial era immigrants came to America seeking new opportunities, religious freedom, relief from economic inequality and modern immigrants have similar goals.

Our country faces ever evolving challenges, which do require secure borders, yet, I still believe in the self-evident truths and unalienable rights defined in the Declaration. It is patriotic of us as American citizens to treat immigrants fairly, especially those escaping violence in their home countries and seeking better futures for their children. Immigration, including tolerance of different peoples and religions, are founding principles of America.

Kevin Kosty