Monday, April 03, 2006
How Not To Win The Immigration Debate
*Photo HT - Michelle
I've resisted commenting on this issue for some time now, mostly because I think the premise that people who break the law to enter this country are entitled to the benefits, rights, and privileges enjoyed by legal and lawful citizens of this nation is patently absurd. This isn't about immigration. This isn't about migrant workers. This is about illegal immigration. Words mean things. Let's skip the politically correct pretense and call a spade a spade.
Most of the people taking stands in this debate have spent little, if any, time living or working outside the United States. I'm excluding the tens of thousands of protestors taking to the streets of major cities across the United States because, as far as I can tell, they are not American citizens. While they may make a lot of noise, the only people who matter in this debate are the American citizens and their duly elected representatives.
The crowd may chant "Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote", but as far as I can tell, only citizens of this nation decide its laws.
I have spent a good chunk of my life living overseas. Most of this time was as a military dependent living on American military bases in foreign lands. However, I did spend some years living and working in Brazil. While I won't go into my purpose for living there, I will tell you what I didn't do:
I didn't take to the streets carrying an American flag protesting the absolutely ignorant and stupid bureaucratic hoops I had to jump through in order to get a resident visa - and I was supporting myself, not looking for a job on the Brazilian economy.
I learned to speak, read, and write the Portuguese language. I didn't demand English translations of street signs, medical forms, or restaurant menus. Had I demanded this, I don't think I would have gotten very far. In Brazil, you see, you are expected to either speak Portuguese or eat stuff you can't recognize. Needless to say, I learned fast.
I didn't demand government subsidies for my living expenses and lifestyle. I didn't take to the streets with my American compatriots and expect Brazil to coddle me just because I decided Sao Paulo was a good place to try to live.
I didn't disrespect the flag of my host country, nor did I subjugate it to that of my birth country.
In short, I pretty much behaved myself and learned to assimilate into the Brazilian culture, language, and people.
I cite my experience in sharp contrast to that shown by illegal immigrants over the past few weeks. More protests are evidently planned. The unspoken undercurrent of these protests is the idea that California - and evidently most of the southwest United States - belong to Mexico, thus the illegal immigrants are only taking back what was stolen from their forebearers.
Sure, guys. You go ahead and return the land you stole from the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas (if you can find any of them) and then we'll discuss your rights to land you've never lived on. Right now, you're an uninvited guest in my country (yes, I'm a native born Californian) - so forgive me if I ask you to behave yourself in the same manner I did whilst living in your land. Sí, Se Puede.
Yes, there needs to be an open, honest, and viable debate on the issue of legal immigration. This debate needs to revolve around the laws American citizens will pass and enforce regarding who does, and more importantly who does not gain the right to live and work in this nation.
This is the United States of America, amigos. Her flag has flow over this nation for 230 years, 156 of those over the State of California. She bows to no foreign power or potentate. You gain no allies to your cause by subjugating her to the flag of your birth nation.
If you are so upset as to the treatment you receive here in the United States of America, you would do well to realize the border works both ways.
Here endeth the lesson.