Making Americans- Making America: Discussion on immigrant access to higher education by Carnegie Corporation and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York


2016-07-28 (1)

By General Colin Powell – 07.06.2016

The author’s comments were made during a discussion on immigrant access to higher education hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York. In addition, these remarks are the basis for an op-ed piece, printed in the Wall Street Journal (online 7.25.2016 and in print 7.26.2016)

Many years ago, after I had become a four-star general and, then, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Times of London wrote an article observing that if my parents had sailed to England rather than New York, “the most they could have dreamed of for their son in the military was to become a sergeant in one of the lesser British regiments.”

Only in America could the son of two poor Jamaican immigrants become the first African American, the youngest person, and the first ROTC graduate from a public university to hold those positions, among many other firsts. My parents arrived—one at the Port of Philadelphia, the other at Ellis Island—in search of economic opportunity, but their goal was to become American citizens, because they knew what that made possible.

– future Americans
– make America better
every single day.


Immigration is a vital part of our national being because people come here not just to build a better life for themselves and their children, but to become Americans. And with access to education and a clear path to citizenship, they routinely become some of the best, the most patriotic Americans you’ll ever know. That’s why I am a strong supporter of immigration law reform: America stands to benefit from it as much if not more than the immigrants themselves.

Contrary to some common misconceptions, neighborhoods with greater concentrations of immigrants have lower rates of crime and violence than comparable non-immigrant neighborhoods, according to a recent report from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Foreign-born men age 18–39 are jailed at one-fourth the rate of native-born American men of the same age.

Today’s immigrants are learning English at the same rate or faster than earlier waves of newcomers, and first-generation arrivals are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or cancer than native-born people. They experience fewer chronic health conditions, have lower infant mortality and obesity rates, and have a longer life expectancy.

Read more on  Colin Powell School Blog org



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