Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A great letter on immigration

Name: Alma
Hometown: New York, NY
As a past illegal immigrant, now naturalized citizen, I'll say this: Yes, we do come here largely because Mexico has problems - namely our government (talk about an understatement). Regardless, we come here to work, not for the rule of law. The rule of law makes it possible for people to get ahead here, but understand, most of us have no intention of staying when we cross the border. We stay, in my case particularly, because we come to feel an attachment to this society. We don't stay for the welfare and the food stamps everyone keeps talking about. We stay because our kids join the baseball team, because we buy a house, because we start a business, because we have careers, because we have something to give back knowing that no one will take away what we earn (well, except Uncle Sam, come tax time). I realize most people reading this don't believe we contribute anything to this society. Everyone seems to think the last immigrants who contributed anything came at the turn of the last century. But, please consider that some of us arrived less than twenty years ago and have forged a business, a profession (and a serious resume), a community and a 401(k) and tax contributions at the top bracket. Some of us don't do as well and therefore contribute less. Nonetheless, the question of whether people should be coming and if so, how they should arrive, is largely irrelevant. We are coming and will continue to do so. Yes, Mexico has to take more responsibility for its people, but its people are becoming your people, whether you like it or not (seriously, legislation and a giant wall aren't going to stop the will to survive). The only relevant question is: how do we help those arriving to become the most productive members of society they can be? Are you going to let us get an education, pay our taxes and become a part of your community? No? Then what - you'd rather ostracise us, keep us uneducated in menial jobs where we'll earn next to nothing, send all of our infinitesimally small paychecks back to Mexico and teach us to hate you? We come from a broken country and are attempting to become part of one that is allegedly whole, if you break this one out of hatred towards us, it makes us no worse off - ours is already broken, remember? If you want to divide these United States, so be it - after all, this was your land before it was mine.

1 comment:

  1. Having lived in California for a year now, and having close ties to people in the medical community, the construction business, and the CA DHS, here's what I have to say in reply :

    Alma, I'm glad things worked out for you.

    By all means, Mexicans, immigrate. We have jobs, we have a (sorta) stable economy, we have protections in place for our citizens... America is still a land of opportunity. We want you here! We want you to succeed, to thrive, to contribute to our society.

    The problem is, you aren't.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with immigration. Not a thing. However... you guys aren't immigrating, are you? You're just wandering in, taking advantage of what we have to offer, sending money back to your family in Mexico, and eventually leaving our contry after benefiting from public education, public welfare, our medical system, and so on... which you don't contribute to.

    See, most of this wonderful "free money" is paid for by the taxation of citizens... which illegal immigrants don't pay. You work for cash, or otherwise under-the-counter, and so your paychecks aren't taxed. You don't have a Social Security number or fill out W-2's, so April 15th means nothing to you.

    Our problem with illegals is this - you take all day long, but don't give back. We just want you to take part in our society... join us! Learn our language, learn our rules, give back to the people who work so hard for you!

    You don't have to sneak over the border, you know. Fill out some paperwork first, wait for the go-ahead, get legally established... you know, like everyone else did. Legal immigration still happens. So what if you don't want to stay? Maybe you'll change your mind, maybe not. You can always go back to Mexico, citizenship notwithstanding.