I know that supporting refugees and immigrants makes me sound a cry-baby, liberal snowflake to some people. But they're wrong: I was born without feelings. I haven't cried since 1986. I support immigration because over 20% of the staff at RAYGUN are the children of immigrants. Laos, Belgium, Mexico, Japan, Honduras, India, China, etc are represented here. So without immigration, we'd be short staffed! These people aren't who just work in the stores, these are people who run the stores. 2 of our managers are the children of war refugees.
I think a lot of Americans hear "accepting war refugees" and think of all the things America is going to provide for them, when usually we should look at what refugees will provide for America.
Although they end up adding so much, refugees, and immigrants in general, run headlong into America's "we're-losing-our-culture-brigade" that often dresses its cause up under the guise of "safety."
You may think that we started working on this design after Donny T's weekend refugee ban. But we don't work on the weekends (or past 3:15p ... or before noon). The "I Am Iowa" design has been around for 2 years, helping to raise money for the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa. Back when we made it, Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad was scoring points with the Alt-Right by bravely refusing to accept Central American children arriving unaccompanied at the American border.
Way to go Terry! I-Owa-First, I-Owa-First! Looking out for us! None were allowed in Iowa because .... uhhh ...... I don't know, is the answer "terrorism?"
You may ask, "In an aging state with stagnating economy and shrinking tax base, don't we need an influx of new people and ideas to help us grow?"
And if you ask that, you're probably not running Iowa.
Outwardly, guys like Terry stick to the mantra of "you gotta get at the back of the line and come in legally!" They conveniently disregard the fact that America's immigration system is extremely difficult to navigate and has not been simplified in years.
One of our previous RAYGUN designers was born in Germany, studied at Drake, married an Iowan, started working at RAYGUN, and applied for American citizenship. I volunteered to pay his expenses and he was like, "Really?" And I said, "Yeah, why?" Because it was several thousand dollars in legal fees. And YEARS worth of time. You've gotta extreme vet those German graphic designers!
To get at what really grinds their gears about immigration, you need to read the Tweets they send to European White Nationalists.
Ah, Steve King! Ever vigilante for the threat of "cultural suicide by demographic transformation."
Keep in mind that Steve King represents Iowa, a state whose foreign-born population is less than 5%. If 5 people can cause the culture of 95 people to kill itself, that culture must be one .... what is the word I'm looking for? PRECIOUS SNOWFLAKE?
Get Steve King's precious culture a safe space!!!!!
Perhaps Steve is casting a wary eye at cities in his own district who have taken in war refugees, like the Laotian community in Storm Lake, Iowa. Far from "killing itself," immigrants in Northwest Iowa have worked, contributed, settled, and, though Steve may not believe it, are Iowans.
4 RAYGUN employees are children of Laotian immigrants, including our Cedar Rapids manager, Thomas (interview with Thomas here!).
How can you be afraid of this face, Steve?
The only danger Thomas poses is to the jersey printers who charge by the name, not by the letter (last name of "Somphanthabansouk" will really use up some ink!).
"But they don't want to assimilate!" guys like Steve and Terry may say. "They want to take their own laws and impose them on us, ignore American laws and traditions."
Let me see (chin scratch, chin scratch), I heard recently about a religious minority belief system aiming to impose some of its beliefs on others, counter to established American law. Where did I just see that recently?
Anyhoo, it'll come to me later I'm sure!
My parents are American, but not from Iowa. I consider myself "Iowan" because I grew up here. So did Thomas. So did almost everyone at RAYGUN. And I don't consider "Iowa Culture" to be a static thing that I've needed to learn and adapt too. "Iowa Culture" is what we Iowans make of it. It is not a delicate flower that will only survive with loving protection from Steve King and Terry Branstad. Iowa is a place with arbitrary borders. Iowans are people who live here.
My wife is from the UK, so my own kids' maternal grandparents live abroad. Are they less Iowan? My brother's wife is from the UK/Trinidad. Less Iowan than mine? More? Or about the same?
I'm all for safety (I have car seats for my kids), but I'm not for "safety" that is cover for "fear of other-ness." I'm not for a group of locals feeling like they have more claim to "Iowan" than me, or my kids, or Thomas.
So we don't look at the photos below and say, "We gotta help them because these are refugees to take care of," we say, "We gotta help them because they are future RAYGUN management!"