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Club Spotlight

Cobb County Republican Women's Club (GA)

Cobb County Republican Women's Club (GA)
Posted: Mar 17, 2023
Categories: Club Spotlights
Comments: 0
Author: Nancy Couch

Speakers Share Their Personal Immigration Stories at Club Event

Cobb Republican Women's Club members and guests were treated to a fascinating panel discussion on “Living the American Dream: Legal vs. Illegal Immigration” that gave us a unique and intensely personal look at an often contentious issue.

We were privileged to hear from three distinguished speakers and CCRWC supporters. Benita Cotton-Orr, who immigrated to the U.S. from South Africa in 1986, served as an editorial writer and columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, spent 19 years as vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and founded her own communication consulting company, High Grounds LLC. Mazi Mazloom came to the United States as a child, escaping the violence and tumult of the Iranian Revolution, and went on to serve as assistant solicitor general and assistant district attorney for Cobb County before founding his own law firm. John King, a native of Mexico who is Georgia’s insurance and safety fire commissioner, has a long law enforcement career and is a retired major general in the Georgia National Guard.

All three described the sacrifices it took to come to America and the hope they have gained from living here. For Cotton-Orr, who is of mixed race, it meant leaving behind an apartheid system that restricted everything from where she could live and work to whom she could marry. Mazloom arrived on U.S. soil days before the American hostage crisis in Iran and, as a little boy who spoke no English, did not receive the warmest of welcomes from his new home of South Carolina. King’s fair skin and blue eyes and Spanish accent were a puzzlement to both the English and Spanish-speaking communities when he arrived in Albany, Ga., as a teenager.

Their insight offers a fresh perspective on immigration that we don’t always hear from the mainstream media.

The “American Dream” and the opportunities it offers to its citizens are unmatched across the globe. “Can you imagine coming from a country where you have no voice, no vote, to one where you can talk to the governor and tell him what you think?” Orr said. “When you hear from others and read in the paper how bad this country is, don’t forget the millions of people who are standing in line to get here.”

The pursuit of citizenship can be lifesaving. “My earliest memory is of a massacre that happened right in front of us at a marketplace,” Mazloom said. “If we had stayed, I would have been dead in the Iran-Iraq war as a child soldier.”

We have a responsibility to demand better policy from leaders on both sides of the aisle. “ ‘Build the wall’ and other ‘bumper-sticker solutions' won’t work,” King said. “Both political parties here have kicked the can down the road and ignored the issue. We have to put pressure on a incredibly corrupt Mexican government. Both (the U.S. and Mexico) have a responsibility to fix border security, but (the U.S. and its citizens) are paying for it. The Mexican criminal cartels are the only ones benefitting.”



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