Wednesday, April 12, 2006

immigrant song

The recent press about immigration resonates with me on a deeply personal level. I am a first generation American; my parents immigrated from Europe. I was a US citizen before my mother was. While many people say we are a nation of immigrants, I really believe it. Still, I am not 100% behind the immigrant cause.

I do think we have to offer illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship. But it shouldn't be open ended -- I don't think immigrants should be allowed to remain here indefinitely while remaining citizens of their home countries. I resent the "commuters" -- people who want American jobs, and American income, but don't have any plans to commit to staying here as citizens. You don't live here, work here, raise your children here, but remain El Salvadoran, or Nigerian, or whatever. I want to see immigrants waving American flags, not Mexican flags.

America has been strengthened by its immigrants. The true believers in the American dream are those folks that came here to pursue it. The drive to succeed, to sacrifice for future success is stronger in those that fight to come here, and fight to stay here, than in those who view success as our birthright, just for being American. I think the country needs these people.

5 comments:

cl-sandy said...

There are simply not enough American workers willing (or able in some jobs) to work the jobs the immigrants are taking at the wages and conditions they'll work for.

As I've said, you wanna do something about the immigration problem here, you have to make sure that those who employ the undocumented workers get hit with stiff penalties. As for the folks with green cards who one day intend to return home, well, what are you going to do about it? I work at the dance studio with a great teacher who is here from India as a software engineer. The company recruited him from Iowa State, where he received his degree. Do we really want to tell folks like him that they can't work here? His wife is here now too, and she is attempting to get a teaching certificate so that she can teach school in Virginia.

cl-sandy said...

To continue:

The simple fact is, it is much less expensive to retire in India than it is to retire here. The Social Security and other benefits he and she will earn while here will make for a VERY comfortable retirement in India.

They may change their minds about going back once they have children, but right now their family lives in India and they do value their family a great deal. In India, the families live in areas where they can walk or bicycle everywhere, something that this country is just not well equipt for. So, when their relatives visit, they become housebound, reliant on my friends to drive them anywhere and everywhere. These relatives will not move to the US in part for this reason.

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