A project of the Center for Community Change

Would Jeremy Lin Have Succeeded Under Today’s Harsh Anti-Immigrant Laws?

Born to immigrant parents, forced to defy stereotypes, and committed to working hard, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is an inspiration to many people in this country, not just NBA fans. His success dares children to excel in spite of any preconceived notions attached to them by others. His perseverance encourages others to never give up, even when your back is to the wall.

It’s interesting to wonder if any of this would be possible in an America that codifies discrimination and hate. Would Jeremy Lin’s immigrant parents have found this country so appealing if they had lived in an Arizona where people who look different can be harassed by local law enforcement? Would they have wanted their children to grow up in an Alabama where teachers can interrogate students about their immigration status?

There are countless Jeremy Lins in America today. Men and women, boys and girls with the potential for greatness in them, who have been pre-judged, overlooked, or are just waiting for an opportunity to shine. The world is lucky to have heard Lin’s story.

What I see when I look at Lin is inspiration. I see a person who stared rejection in the eye and didn’t quit.  A man that has had to defy stereotypes ever since he first played organized basketball.

But above all, I see someone that people of all races can look to and believe that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Unfortunately, when many people see someone that looks like Jeremy Lin, they think of his immigration status. Instead of seeing a person that wants to succeed and contribute to his or her community, they let fear and a misinformed sense of nationalism cloud their vision.

The question now is how many more Jeremy Lins will we miss if they have their way?

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