Immigration, Hard Work, and the American Dream

I recently returned from a trip to the Miami, FL. Area.   I was attending a conference. The conference venue was the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables, FL a very nice property I might add, if you ever find yourself in the area.  I am a Mid-Westerner, so going  anywhere in Florida in February is a treat, but the Miami area was a very special treat.

Notice 90 miles to Cuba

I have been there a couple times, but do not know the area all that well.  I was in Key West once and from visiting the southern-most point, I was aware that Havana is about 90 miles from the U.S.

Since I have not spent a lot of time there, I didn’t realize there were so many people here whose families’ heritage, or they themselves are from Cuba who make up the residents of the area.

While at the conference I spent some time at the bar.  On our last night, myself and few friends were wrapping up the trip and got to chatting with our bartender, Ailemis.  At this point of the evening, it was near 11 p.m. One of my friends asked “Emie” as she is called, “What time did you get here?”  My friend Karen said, “I saw you here at 8 a.m. this morning, didn’t I?”  Emie said,  “Yes you did, I have been working a long day.”

All of the HR folks I was with were impressed by her work ethic.  Emie is a twenty-something year old,  who is working hard and trying to get ahead.  You know we used to call this the American Dream.  We threw a few more accolades her way and she volunteered that she was trying to get as many hours as she could, because within a week she was leaving to go on vacation.

My wife commented, ” Someplace fun I hope?” Emie said she was going home to Cuba to see here family.  She continued telling us she had been in Florida for about two years.   She said she was going to college and working. Again, the HR people were liking the way this young lady talked.  She said she was working hard because she wanted to bring her family here, to the states.  The banter, or interrogation continued.  Next, we learned that in the time she had been here she learned to speak English (which was really well).  She told us that English is the language of this country and if you want to get ahead you need to speak English.  As the conversation continued, she also shared the thing that was most important to her. That being, positioning herself to bring her 16-year-old sister here to the U.S.  Emie wants her sister to have a better life as well.

I commented, “That’s a lot and you are paying for college too?” She said she was but added that the hotel (the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables) was helping her.  Then I thought to myself, these Hyatt folks know how to treat their employees and they take of people and respect everyone.   As I was thinking this, we were getting ready to take off, we told her we would like to come back and see her.  She said maybe she would be the manager of the hotel when we came back.

How in God’s name can we condemn immigration? We need to get the right people, but I for one am happy to help anyone who wants to better themselves and their family.

Emie, I am so impressed with you, I am glad I got to meet you. I hope you have a wonderful life with your family here in the states.

And.. a tip of the hat to the Hyatt Hotel Coral Gables, Florida, you know how to treat your employees – and everything at the SHRM meeting was great too – the food and hundreds of dollars of drinks in the bar were all fabulous too!


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