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Immigration Reform Bill

Martin County Democrats

This article does not necessarily reflect the position of the Martin County Democrats, we are presenting opinions to encourage dialog and welcome any comments or rebuttals.

"This Bill is a travesty that is more criminal in its plan than are the felons who reside in our once moral, ethical and responsible Nation."

By Pamela Gould, Hobe Sound

I am the proud grandchild of dirt poor Madeiran Portuguese Legal Immigrants who crossed the Atlantic in the perilous times of the early 1900's. Their dream was to become Americans; which they did, body, mind, heart and soul.

They learned English, assimilated and contributed to their community in a variety of ways, and worked hard for their most prized possessions - Their American Citizenship Papers. Something that was so precious to them that they wanted to be buried with the documents when they passed away. I guess they wanted to make sure that St. Peter knew where they belonged once they got to heaven.

My grandparents had no formal education, but raised a large family of patriotic Americans and sons who fought for this country with pride and distinction. My father was a decorated Boswain's Mate in the Navy, in charge of the crash boats and damage parties when Pearl Harbor was bombed, making sure that many brave men who might otherwise not have, made it home to their families. All of my other uncles also served with distinction in various branches of the military either in WWII or the Korean conflict.

Everything that has proven to be important in my life, I learned from being part of this immigrant family. Courage and Persistence in the face of difficulty. Responsibility, Pride and Respect for Family, Community and Country. Character, and an Appreciation for the advantages that came so easily to me having been born in this Nation, and for which my Grandparents and my father and uncles had paid in ways that I could never imagine.

These appreciative new Americans never took one thing from this Country that they did not give back lovingly and proudly a hundred times over. The idea of welfare or hand-outs or unemployment benefits, even in the most difficult of times, was never an option. They came here Legally and that was no small feat. They lived under and honored one flag and one Country...AMERICA.

Today when I see individuals crossing our borders Illegally, rallies where these very people are waving their flags and desecrating ours, demanding benefits and services, as well as expecting Americans to learn their languages while making few if any attempt to learn ours, criticizing and insulting our Country while firmly entrenching themselves and their families in it Illegally, I am appalled and baffled.

When I hear United States Senators, Congressmen and our President asking for " Amnesty" and "guest worker" programs as well as the ultimate reward of "fast-track Citizenship" for these individuals who have broken the laws of our Nation in a multitude of ways; I am outraged and furious. Not only for my family, but for all of the legal immigrants who have sacrificed to do it right, or those waiting in line, putting their trust in this government to give them a fair chance to become American Citizens. What is Their Reward?

Many of the provisions of the proposed Immigration Reform Bill demonstrate a profound lack of respect for every American family that began with hard-working Legal Immigrants. Those who followed the rules to become Appreciative American Citizens, and have been attempting to contribute to the social, moral and economic fabric of our Country for over a hundred years. This Bill is a travesty that is more criminal in its plan than are the felons who reside in our once moral, ethical and responsible Nation. I can't help but wonder if my grandparents would have as much respect for their precious citizenship papers today, knowing that precious commodity could perhaps become a potential reward for people who had broken the laws of their beloved America.

The messages being sent to the average American by this Bill and by our elected Representatives who support it are clear. Big Business' desire for higher profits through cheap imported labor takes precedence over the social and economic welfare of the average American Citizen, as well as the Nation as a whole. The Laws of this Nation do not apply to the felons who are "breaking and entering" our country illegally. Our Political Representatives are not our Representatives but the unfortunate disciples of big business, pork-barrel politics, partisan peer pressure, and what they think special interest groups want to hear.

As Citizens we not only have a Right but a Responsibility to make our voices and opinions heard by our Representatives. To demand that they listen to Us and Represent Our needs. My Grandparents did what they could to make this Country a better, safer place for us and our children, grandchildren and theirs to come. We owe it to all of those who made it possible for us to pursue our dreams to make sure this Nation stays on the right track ... Not to give it away to illegals whose needs are great and met at taxpayer's expense, and whose meager contributions are enjoyed most often by corporate interests and others who exploit them.

I Sincerely hope that if the Representatives and Administration of this Country continue to govern and vote with the present levels of irresponsibility and disrespect for the Americans who need their assistance and support, they will be "rewarded" in kind during the next elections.

A Rebuttal:
"America really was a melting pot and is still a melting pot, but things always take time to melt. So far every ingredient has made the stew more flavorful. That's not going to change."

By Glenn R. Geist, Hobe Sound

It's nice that Ms. Gould learned so much from her immigrant family, but it's a shame she's also "learned" so much from Fox News, MSNBC and the bigots who own them. Despite the fact that immigrants have always tended to move to the same neighborhoods their compatriots occupy; despite the fact that they always publish newspapers in their native languages, start congregations, open restaurants and groceries and other businesses that cater to those immigrants, we want to believe that it never happened that way in our families. Despite the fact that there has been loud protest since the beginning of this country that immigrants aren't loyal, won't learn English, congregate together and spread crime and disease, we seem to be basking in the false sunshine of an imagined past when we discuss our own particular roots. But I'll bet Great Grandpa didn't learn English in 6 weeks and perhaps he never learned it well enough that he wouldn't prefer a lawyer or Doctor or banker or dentist or grocer who spoke his native tongue. Chances are he worked hard at something he was overqualified for. Chances are his great great granchildren are still wearing green on March 17th or dancing the polka, even though they are very much American.

Teddy Roosevelt railed against German immigrants and wanted to ban German language publications. We have forgotten. The Germans have long since assimilated. Yet we keep publishing his anti immigrant speeches and directing them against Mexicans while ignoring the message that time has proved Teddy was wrong. America really was a melting pot and is still a melting pot, but things always take time to melt. So far every ingredient has made the stew more flavorful. That's not going to change.

If we look at the number of hispanics serving in our government and military, it gets more difficult to support the stereotypes. If we look at the businesses owned and the accomplishments of first second and third generation hispanic immigrants, we might feel differently, but we don't look. We watch TV and we listen to bigots who flatter our fear of strangers and hand us scapegoats to attack. We accept the edited film clips, the tendentious news items as fair and balanced. When they tell us something is typical, we don't ask what typical means. We talk about being a land of opportunity, but we want to close the door to that opportunity now that we have finally achieved something. We act like shameless hypocrites.

Of course those old protests against the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, the Jews, the Poles, Lithuanians, Portuguese, Japanese, Swedes and others proved within a generation or so to be without merit. Why is it then we are so willing to believe that hispanics - all of them - don't want to learn English, aren't willing to become US citizens, hate our country and are spreading disease? Where is the evidence? Fox News? E-mail tracts that circulate endlessly? How do we know that any of the rabble rousing anti Mexican propaganda has any real basis? We don't, but when we hear of a great mass of people stereotyped, it should be a clue that we're being manipulated. When someone wants you to be angry at a group, listen carefully for a hidden agenda and by all means look for the whole picture. You won't hear it from Lou Dobbs or Bill O'Reilly and you won't find it in e-mails with pictures of American flags waving in the hot air.


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Martin County Democratic Executive Committee has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Martin County Democratic Executive Committee endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)