Most of my family has been in the United States for a very long time. My ancestors were mostly English and Scottish. They started leaving the Old World for the new as early as 1642. I have no idea if they had the proper papers or not. I only know that they came and ran farms, small businesses, churches, and families all over New England.
I think the hysteria over illegal immigration is troublesome, because it focuses on the wrong problems. Yes, of course governments should be on the lookout for potential terrorists. But should they be focused on so much on economic refugees? I don't think so. Should we declare illegal immigrants and the folks that help them felons? Why? What ever happened to "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free?" What ever happened to "Love thy neighbor as thyself?"
People willing to come to this country to work should not be discouraged. And that's all the vast majority of the illeagal immgrants want.
But aren't they taking American jobs? Sometimes. But many people have reported that Americans generally aren't working in the fields. I've read blogs by Mexican-American writers who report never having seen "Anglos" working in the fields. Granted, these are low-paying, backbreaking jobs.
But if Americans aren't taking these jobs...why can't immigrants?
I love going to areas where I don't always hear English. I've been delighted to be one of the only non-Asians at a dim sum restaurant in San Francisco. I don't mind having to work a little harder to speak slowly to a person who isn't a native English speaker. This tends to freak many Americans out.
The bottom line is the immigration debate brings out racism in a very vocal group of Americans.
As much as President Bush has been so wrong so often in his public career, he's been about the most rational public voice on the immigration debate. And thank goodness for the common sense displayed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on this issue.
It would be nice if the more Americans could show as much common sense.