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Ellis Island, This Ain't

It's inevitable that someone will draw comparisons between the
famous 'Ellis Island' immigration wave and the USA's modern
illegal alien issue.

So, why not me?

The romanticized idea of the 'huddled masses' yearning for
freedom seems an irresistable image for those in favor of blanket
legalization for all undocumented aliens.

There are many more differences than similarities. In fact, it's those
differences that make the problems. The only true point is that
both involve massive numbers of folks who speak another language.

The comparison ends there.

It was not however, predominantly one language or ethnicity. It was
not exclusively unskilled folk. Nor was it exclusive to and ethnicity, race,
faith or philosophy. The freedom of America was open to all
who came to the door.

The front door, that is. These folks all came in throught the INS offices,
even if their names came out mangled into American for the effort.
They came here, for the prosperity, sure. for the political and religious
and philosophical freedom, definitely. With one difference.

They wanted to be Americans.

They embraced and devoted themselves to their new country. They
tried to learn English and insisted their offspring did. They were proud
of their choice of citizenship and grateful for the new life that America

Ellis Island immigrants, particularly the Irish for a long time, held those
same low-paying jobs and indenturements that illegal Latino aliens
hold today. It was a natural consequence of a massive legal immigration,
so it would have to be a normal result in any case. The cheap labor
argument does not hold up as support of the amnesty demand for illegals.

The same rich sector has always found a new group to exploit.

Amnesty, like all immigration, has to be about citizenship.

Likewise, the right to speak and use your native language for business
and legal purposes in place of the country's normal language is
not banned anywhere. Many countries have legislation that requires the
use of the native tongue and most countries require immigrants to
speak the native language and pledge allegiance to the country.

(We just ask for allegiance and a little US history.)

The USA has no such fedaral law mandating English as the required
language. Local legislation decides it on a case by case basis, with
all but 2 counties in the nation defaulting to English- Dade County
in Florida and El Paso County in Texas- both Spanish by a vote.

So, the economic conditions are irrelevant, becase they aren't tied
to immigration being illegal, and the language issue has been
resolved by sheer capitulation, right down to our ATM's.

So what's wrong here? Why isn't this like Ellis Island?

Maybe because we're not talking about throngs of people waving
American flags and yelling 'we love the USA.'

Maybe because there's no demonstration in Tijuana by people
asking the US to open the front door because they want to be
US citizens.

Maybe it's because many Americans feel like someone came in
the back door, and is complaining about you closing it.

I'm all for any immigrant that wants to come through here and isn't
afraid to do what's demanded of all citizens.
How much responsibility
do I bear for assuring the future of everyone that resides in a less
favorable country? Do I owe it to them so as to let them come in the back
door, give them a fake SSN job, and give them below-equal pay?

Why does helping these people have to involve low paid servantry?

Moreover, we're responsible to do, what, abut it?

How could I acquire such a debt? Especially when it's not owed to me
anywhere on the planet? This is, unfortunately, the lynchpin of the
legalization status argument. That these immigrants are owed a
better life by American standards, and loyalty and language issues
are just smokescreens for anti-Latino interests.

Loyalty to the US is the crux of the entire mess. It's the one point that
could change and resolve the issue.

Were the Latino voices asking the US to change it's immigration policies
and and secure it's borders in order to make it easier for immigrants to
legally enter and eliminate the dangerous black market border scams,
the American reaction would be markedly different.

Current illegal aliens would make a much better case if they were
basing their requests on those problems and requesting to go
through legal process.

Sadly, many are unaware that the same money they sacrifice to be here
illegally could also get them in legally. Black marketers are not going to
give up that money or deception.

We can only hope.

The Ellis Islanders had it.

For their sake, let's hear the doorbell. The porchlight's always been on.

copyright 2000 Pegwood Arts all rights reserved 

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