Trump’s comments on immigration hit close to home for TFC’s Altidore

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17). (Mark Blinch/CP)

TORONTO – It’s safe to say Donald Trump can’t count on Jozy Altidore’s vote in the next U.S. Presidential election.

For Toronto FC’s star striker, Trump’s recent comments about immigration in the United States hit a little too close to home.

Trump made headlines earlier this month after reports alleged he referred to Haiti and the continent of Africa as “s***hole countries” during White House discussions regarding immigration policy. At the same time as denigrating countries that are predominately made up of people of colour, Trump reportedly asked why can’t the U.S. accept more immigrants from Norway, a nation that is overwhelmingly white.

Trump’s words wounded Altidore on two levels, both as an African-American, and as someone of Haitian descent. A few days after Trump’s alleged comments in the Oval Office, Altidore took to Twitter to post a photo of himself alongside Canadian NHLer P.K. Subban (whose parents came to Canada from the Caribbean) and Jamaican sprinting superstar Usain Bolt.

For Altidore, this is just further evidence that Trump is unfit to be President.

“It’s a topic that’s never going to go away anytime soon with Trump. It’s just another example of a person that time and time again shows that he’s unfit – whether it be mentally, emotionally – [and is] just unable to identify with a country [the U.S.] that has moved on in so many ways, that has so many new ideas, so many forward ways of thinking,” Altdiore said on Monday as TFC players reported for the first day of training camp.

“It’s bit of a shame that we are being led by a person that doesn’t share those same ideals. It’s unfortunate to hear those comments, but it’s a narrative that we’ve got used to over the past year, and it’s one that has grown far too popular.”

President Trump is trying to change U.S. immigration law. He wants to put a stop to the relative-based migration system, which allows people with family connections to come to the U.S. Instead, Trump is advocating for a move to a merit-based system, where people who are educated and skilled, and have a command of the English language, are given priority.

The argument is that a merit-based system, like the one used in Canada and Australia, allows the U.S. to select immigration candidates based on their likelihood of assimilating and contributing to American society, rather than family connections.

But Altidore argues people such as his parents, who left Haiti to escape the murderous and oppressive government of president François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, are perfect examples of the types of people who should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. His mom and dad fled Haiti, and met in the United States where they raised a family and enjoyed successful professional careers. They are living the American Dream.

“They came to the United States [in their 20s] with no English, not a dollar to their name, to escape the reign of Papa Doc… They just rolled the dice to come here. To come here under those circumstances and carve out the life they’ve been able to – my dad graduated with an associate’s degree in electrical engineering, and my mom is registered nurse for over 30 years,” Altidore explained.

“When you’re able to grow up and be [raised] by two people like my parents, you know right way that [Trump] is out of touch with a country that is moving and growing leaps and bounds in terms of identifying what makes the USA tick, which is immigrants and the ability to accept them from all walks of life, and to give them an opportunity. My parents are living proof of that, so to have a President to say those things, it’s disappointing.”

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