Where are you from? 

Originally from El Paso, Texas.  Ethnicity: Mexican, Spaniard, Italian.

What was your childhood like?

I am a 3rd and 4th generation American born and raised in El Paso, Texas of Mexican, Italian, and Spanish heritage.  El Paso was a multi-cultural city then and even more so now with a greater than 50% hispanic heritage.

My mother came from a military family that was transferred to Ft. BlissTexas (El Paso) during WWII.  After my grandfather was killed in action, her family permanently settled in El Paso where she met my father and the rest is history as they say.

I’d say my childhood was quite normal surrounded by a loving family and close family friends.  Since El Paso was very much a military town back then, and since my two grandfathers were WWII vets (one deceased) we’d spend national holidays visiting Ft. Bliss National Cemetery and then on to family gatherings.  Other holidays and special celebrations too were spent with family and friends.  Due to the proximity to Mexico, we would frequently cross the border into Mexico to visit for the day or evening.

Since the desert southwest has an abundance of history and interesting mountainous geography, I spent many hours and days exploring the region camping, hiking, and even climbing some of the surrounding mountains.

I attended the University of Texas at El Paso and became a city police officer in the process.

What brought you to Cleveland?

I was transferred here by a local company where I assumed the position of vice president of international marketing and sales.

What were your first thoughts about coming to the United States? Did those change?

As a 3rd and 4th + generation American, I can’t answer this question.

What is your occupation?

Vice President International for a Cleveland based consumer products company.  Host and co-producer of an internet based radio program called “Going Global with David Delgado” on VoiceItRadio.com

How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?

Cleveland, like any other urban area of it’s size has it’s share of problems and challenges from structural, to institutional, to social; however, the strength of the city is it’s multi-cultural diversity and the benefits and advantages that such diversity offers when assimilated into an interactive blend of business, educational, and socially enlightening achievements, accomplishments, and opportunities.  That diversity, in my opinion, has served to make the attitude of it’s residents generally open and welcoming to all.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

Love of ethnic foods and respect for cultural traditions and customs, regardless of ethnicity.

What do you love about Cleveland?

It’s multi-cultural diversity and of course wonderful Lake Erie and the endless mind enhancing possibilities that being on such a lake offers.

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

The caveat that I would offer here is that I favor legal immigrants and refugees. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants that was forged by ancestors fleeing our native lands for opportunities of a new life.  Immigration that was unfettered as recently as the early 20th century as this nation was being forged and solidified.  But that was a different time in history. It was a time of growth and expansion, a time of exploring and settling new lands, a time of seeking and establishing new national identities guided by commonly shared ideals of self-reliance and self-determination. We are now a sovereign nation of laws.  As with all sovereign nations, I believe we have the indisputable right to establish immigration policies consistent with our domestic and foreign policy objectives.

I favor inviting immigrants and refugees to our country vetting in the same way as we would vet those whom we would invite into the privacy of our own home because afterall, the United States is our home. To do otherwise and to allow unfettered and indiscriminate immigration would be a travesty of justice to those millions who have otherwise been law abiding in their quest to legally immigrate to the United States.

Why is it important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

The answer is because of the incalculable benefit that diversity brings.  Freedom of thought, freedom of action, freedom for creativity unleashed.  The benefit of knowledge and experiences developed and gained in native lands that may have been stymied or suppressed in those lands now brought to bear in the new host country.  Witness Albert Einstein, Werner Von Braun, Irving Berlin, Madeleine Albright just to name a few.

Why is it important to travel abroad?

Foreign travel increases ones human awareness.  We are all aware of our humanness but we have a tendency to think that we are all alike and people all behave the same. The reality is that we are alike in many respects but in others, we differ significantly. Louis V. Gerstner Jr., the former head of IBM once said that “Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game it is the game.” For those who work in international business, it is sometimes amazing to us how differently people in other cultures behave. We tend to have a human instinct that ‘deep inside’ all people are the same will behave in the same given the same set of circumstances) but they aren’t (but they don’t) . Therefore, if we go into another country and make decisions based on how we operate in our own home country – the chances are we’ll make some very bad decisions.

International travel exposes us to the nuances of different cultures and the people in those cultures.  It widens our understanding of the human experience from different perspectives sown from the seeds of those who have experienced life from social, cultural, and geo-political factors different from our own.  In other words, it not only widens our world, but opens our eyes.