Monday, March 27, 2006

Coming to America

Can you blame them? The illegal immigrants, I mean.

No, I can’t blame them for wanting a better life for themselves and their children. If I had had the bad fortune to be born in Mexico, where the government keeps all the riches of the land for itself and its chosen few, leaving nothing for its citizenry, I would do my best to get across the border, too.

I don’t blame the illegal aliens. And yes, at the risk of sounding politically gauche, the term is “illegal alien.” Not “undocumented immigrants” or “undocumented workers,” as has become fashionable amongst the media elites. Such terminology lends the aura of authenticity and entitlement to the presence of illegal intruders in the country. If they’re in the U.S. illegally, then they are illegal aliens--criminals who are breaking our laws. It really is that simple.

Still, I don’t blame them.

I blame our Federal government for not addressing the problem of illegal immigration years ago. I blame all three branches of government for not having the guts to deal with a socially messy, politically inconvenient dilemma. The government’s inaction has put the bona fide citizens of the United States in peril. Our porous borders are a wide open avenue for potential terrorists and a gaping hole through which taxpayer’s money that was intended to support our social infrastructure—schools, police protection, rescue workers, medical care--drains away.

America is a “nation of immigrants,” no doubt. All of my grandparents came here from Europe. My husband’s family came after World War II. They all came because they were sponsored into the country by a friend or relative who had gone through the proper channels and secured them legitimate jobs. You might say they came as “documented workers”—also known as “legal immigrants.”

The government didn‘t help any of them. It didn’t make excuses for them or hand them any freebies, either. And it certainly didn’t bother to learn their language. Yesterday’s immigrants came in the front door, worked hard learning to be American from the ground up, and they built lives of proud independence.

Today’s illegal aliens could learn a lot from reading the U.S. history of our legal immigrants, including those who have most recently become U.S. citizens by legitimate, sometimes heroic, means. Unfortunately, for that education to occur, the U.S. taxpayer would first need to pay for the government translation.