By Eugene Fields – Published in the Orange County Register

“Go back.”

Not long ago, President Donald Trump used this racist retort to attack sitting members of Congress, writing in a tweet that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

His words were a woefully ignorant attempt to marginalize and ostracize people of color, even if they were born here or are U.S. citizens.

For me, it brought up painful memories. Nearly 30 years ago, as a recent Orange County transplant, I was walking to work along Katella Avenue. As I crossed the street, a Ford truck passed. One of the occupants yelled, “Go back to Africa!”

This Citizenship Day, on Sept. 17, I implore my fellow Americans to remember that, in spite of what the president seems to believe, it’s absolutely impossible to tell where a person is from, how “American” they are, or what they believe based on their skin color or appearance.  It’s something the American government itself understood when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office created the holiday in 1952. The department’s stated goal was to “recognize people who are taking steps to become U.S. citizens” and to have us all reflect on “the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and what it means to be a U.S. citizen.”