Ten immigrants and 10 real-life stories that chronicle their journey from undocumented immigrants to successful and contributing members of society. That’s the premise of a new book titled “¡HOLA AMERICA!: Guts, Grit, Grind and Further Traits in the Successful American Immigrant,” which was written by Tiffani Knowles, an adjunct professor at Barry University.
The book, which is co-authored by Knowles’ father, tells the story of nine immigrants Tiffani met personally or in a professional setting. Additionally, the book includes an afterword detailing the story of her family’s journey as immigrants — her mother traveled to the U.S. from Jamaica and her father was a Bahamian immigrant who retired from Greyhound Bus Lines in Miami-Dade County. Both worked two to three jobs to support Knowles and her siblings.
The book is not only personal, but delves into a subject matter that has sparked heated debate among politicians and American voters. Knowles’ purpose for writing the book is to show that immigrants can and usually are important contributors to the U.S. economy and have been tied to an unfair stigma. It is also a response to some pundits’ views and disrespect of immigrants.
“Our book started as a response to the book written by Republican author Ann Coulter titled ‘Adios America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole.’ In it, she speaks ill of Hispanic immigrants, Nigerian immigrants and others. She calls them primitive and low-achieving. My dad and I couldn't allow someone to use such a broad stroke to speak of the immigrants whom we know. So, we chose not to fight her with ideology; we chose to respond with true immigrant stories,” Knowles said. “These people have contributed significantly to the American economy that if removed, there would be a gaping hole too large to fill.”
She adds that “Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel had us shaking our heads because we know too many Iranian doctors who have worked years in this country, healing the bodies of Americans who now live to disparage Iranian-Americans and their families. This kind of xenophobia is totally illogical and our book reveals how idiotic it is.”