Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Immigration Reform

I consider myself a liberal, but the one thing I just cannot seem to wrap myself around is the immigration reform issue. If you want to live in this country, or any country for that matter, you should have to follow the correct procedures to do so.

I understand their desire for a better life for themselves and their families. And I appreciate their work ethic, but they should have to go through the proper, legal channels just like everyone else. Likewise, I don't understand where they have the right to demand anything - you can't be a guest at a dinner party and then demand the host change the menu.

What confuses me is that they are referred to as illegal immigrants. So to paraphrase an hackneyed expression: what part of illegal don't you understand? Breaking the law is breaking the law. If you are a US citizen and you break a US law, you should have to pay the price, be it a fine or imprisonment. If you are not a US citizen and you break a US law, you should be sent back to your country. It should be that simple.

And it's hard, being a gay man, knowing that your government will give rights to people who are not US citizens, but won't let every person who is a US citizen marry whomever they love. It's a real bitch that I don't have the same rights as someone who is illegally living in my country.

I know the country is made up of immigrants; every newly settled property is. At one point or another, every country in the world was begun by people who were not native to the land on which they settled. Australia was a penal colony. All of Europe was part of the Roman Empire. But at some point, after several generations, those countries no longer were comprised of immigrants, but citizens.

The huge number of people who came to America from Europe in the beginning of the 20th century, who survived weeks at sea on crowded boats full of disease, famine and rodents, who gave up everything they owned and left all the people they knew for an uncertain future in a country they couldn't see on television or in movies, who couldn't speak the English language at first but had to learn the just to survive - they all had to be filtered through the process in order to be considered American citizens. I think it would be a slap in the faces of our ancestors to grant amnesty to this new breed of immigrants just because of proximity or duration. I've had student loans for the past 20 years - it'd be nice if the government said I could just forget about it, but they won't. And I am a taxpayer.

I welcome any and everyone who wants to be a US citizen to be one. But they should only be made a citizen of the US after they go through what all of our ancestors went through, just like the billions and billions of people before them.
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