Representative Bill Keating visited Falmouth's Waquoit Congregational Church on Wednesday evening to hold a forum for residents to talk about their stories of immigration. The meeting was in response to what he described as divisive recent events, including comments President Trump made against a group of congresswomen several weeks ago, suggesting that they be "sent back" and that they were not American.
Congressman Keating held the event, he said, to foster an understanding of how the country is made up of immigrants.
A crowd of several dozen people came out to the Congregational Church in Waquoit for the forum.
Keating said he hoped that the event could highlight the fact that the country is made up of immigrants, and that this could unite rather than divide people.
"America is the only country that was founded on an idea. So the idea is our foundation, but the individuals, that’s the knitting that brings it all together," Keating said. "Tonight is a chance for some of us to tell those stories, because isn't that what this country is about?"
Many Falmouth residents shared their stories of immigration. Olivia Masih White has lived in Falmouth for the past 8 years, but moved to the United States from India in 1961 to attend college in Texas.
"So you can calculate, I've been here for 57 years. When I came, I lived with a professor from the University in Dallas, Texas. So my birth country is India, but really my citizenship is in the United States," she said.
Another Falmouth resident, Jane Marie Stevenson, said her family immigrated to the United States from England, which she acknowledged wasn't the same as being a person of color immigrating from another country.
"As a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant person, I can still put myself in the position of others," Stevenson said. "I have developed an empathy for this kind of situation and I really am quite concerned with where we're going."