Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigration Nation

So… the whole immigration debate has finally landed on my front doorstep. Why you ask? Well, because Lindi manages a McDonald’s. I worked both days of the Latino Labor strike for Lindi.

Everyone seems to want to know my opinion about illegal immigration. Surely I must side with our Latino brothers and sisters in the fight! I guess my answer is yes – to a point.

I believe that anyone who want to legally immigrate to this country should do so. I believe that there is vast opportunity here for all cultures, and Lord knows, I love the different cultures and traditions. I embrace my Mexican and Latino friends and are welcomed into their homes as family.

However, this does not mean I am for illegal immigration.

The reasons are simple. My great-grandparents immigrated legally, faced hardships, paid their taxes and became citizens. They paid into the government that welcomed them and earned the right to be Americans. Many of my friends legally immigrated to the US from Mexico, Chile, Guatamala and Panama, facing the same issues. Some of my friends are not US citizens but work here legally, and work hard they do.

I do not believe anyone who walks or runs across the border, regardless of the nationality, has the right to be called a US Citizen. I do not believe that they should be entitled to one single solitary red cent in Governmental aid. I think that if they want the right to be called US Citizens, they need to pay into the system through their income taxes like the rest of us have to.

I would certainly not expect to have a silver platter handed to me if I enter another country, illegally. “Oh, now that I am in France, I am a French citizen… give me healthcare and welfare…”

It simply does not work that way.

I see hospitals going bankrupt. I see US children going without in school because of the requirement to educate all children – regardless of whether or not they are legal – and regardless of whether or not their family pays into the system to educate them.

Illegal immigrants have not shown their devotion to this country simply by not registering with our government.

The one thing I do not agree with is calling them Felons. They are not criminals. HOWEVER – I feel that if a person is caught in this country illegally, they should not be allowed to immigrate legally for five years as a penalty. And they certainly do not have the right to any benefits in the meantime.

They aren’t US Citizens. When will people understand that? If they want to become US Citizens, immigrate legally, register with our Government, pay taxes like everyone else does. It’s really that simple.


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