Welcome to America
Friend from across the sea
We'll just pretend the theory is
You're just as good as me.
You'll get some work
You'll earn some bread
You'll make yourself some wine.
If you don't think you have enough
I'll give you some of mine.
Of course, if what's mine is yours, shouldn't what's yours be mine?
TRC's Kathy Hutchins, in her post below, exhibits a pretty mellow attitude towards the creation of what they're already calling "The Star-Spanglish Banner," and I seconded that emotion. I'm near Ground Zero here in Los Angeles, and have been pretty much a dove on the illegal immigration question. There are pluses and minuses, achieving a rough equilibrium: our public services are stressed, the private economy thrives.
Illegal immigration hasn't disrupted civil society here, either---our (largely Mexican) sojourners are pretty mellow folk themselves, and in ten years of owning a business on Los Angeles' Skid Row, the crossroads of the world's desperate, I only once was asked for a handout instead of for work from a Latin American guy. (You can kinda tell they're Latin American, because they tend to speak Spanish at a third-grade level, four grade-levels higher than I speak Spanish meself, and English sometimes, too.)
Out of the reputed 12 million illegal immigrants in the US, it might not be a bad guess that 8 million come from Mexico, a million or two from Central America, and the rest I'm not writing about right now. You won't see many of 'em on TV tonight on the Protest Update because they weren't there.
Now, what's coming clear is that the protests are seeking some sort of amnesty for the trespassers, US citizenship for illegals. I'm a dove on that, too, in principle: to my mind, a mind that thinks the USA is the greatest country in the world if not in all human history, it's entirely sensible to want to join up and become one of us. You can't be president, sorry, but you can become Secretary of State or a governor no sweat. Not bad. And your kids get zero constitutional restrictions at all.
Now the quickest way for you guys to overcome the legal barriers to US citizenship would be for your home country to join up with the US lock, stock and barrel. A marriage, just as naturalization is. A man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home. Since you're still entitled to vote in Mexico even while you're enjoying our hospitality here, surely you'd vote "yes" in a Mexican plebicite that petitions the United States to annex Mexico.
If we're to be married, what's mine is yours and vice-versa, no?
"Modest proposals" aren't designed to be accepted, of course. Their purpose is to illustrate absurdities. You see where I'm going with this.
Although there are many sincere persons among our illegal immigrants for whom I would gladly find a place in our household, for most, it appears, the US is a second wife, a second household, unwelcome in the first. We are not being romanced, we are being used. We open our doors, our shores, and our hearts to those who want to marry us. But this nation of immigrants does not offer itself as a sham bride.
On talk radio today (Los Angeles radio pre-empted Rush and Hannity and Dr. Laura and every friggin' body else in favor of Day Without an Immigrant news), there were a number of black Americans who saw through today's events, and more than one responded to the waving of Mexican flags as "disrespecting us." In fact, they used the word "us" in reference to we the people of the United States more unanimously than I observed after 9-11.
This could be a good thing. The (forced) marriage between white and black America has largely been a horror, although this American still holds out hope for it. Because the one thing we all know at this point is that none of us is going home to mother, to Europe or Africa. We are in it together for life and forever. We have no choice but to work out our differences.
It's not so clear for those whose home country is only a few miles away. And so, it's not unseemly or unfeeling to ask the 8-12 million here illegally about their intentions. If you've come courting, even illegally, maybe we can work something out. But all those Mexican flags are beginning to make it look like you're just looking for a little something on the side.
So, just a gentle word of caution: The Statue of Liberty is a proud and beautiful lady, and her affections are not be trifled with.