Immigrant vs Illegal

by Steve on April 3, 2006

Herbert E. Meyer recently posted an excellent essay over at The American Thinker that is the best take on immigration that I’ve read in the past few weeks.

Simply put, the debate in Washington isn’t about “immigration” at all – and that’s the problem.

To ordinary Americans, the definition of “immigration” is very specific: You come here with absolutely nothing except a burning desire to be an American. You start off at some miserable, low-paying job that at least puts a roof over your family’s head and food on the table. You put your kids in school, tell them how lucky they are to be here – and make darn sure they do well even if that means hiring a tutor and taking a second, or third, job to pay for it. You learn English, even if you’ve got to take classes at night when you’re dead tired. You play by the rules—which means you pay your taxes, get a driver’s license and insure your car so that if yours hits mine, I can recover the cost of the damages. And you file for citizenship the first day you’re eligible.

Do all this and you become an American like all the rest of us. Your kids will lose their accents, move into the mainstream, and retain little of their heritage except a few words of your language and – if you’re lucky—an irresistible urge to visit you now and then for some of mom’s old-country cooking.

This is how the Italians made it, the Germans made it, the Dutch made it, the Poles made it, the Jews made it, and more recently how the Cubans and the Vietnamese made it. The process isn’t easy – but it works and that’s the way ordinary Americans want to keep it.

Hit the link above and read the whole thing.

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