Immigration issues seem to surpass the Iraq war criticism on some days. Of course, I have always thought about immigration, legal or otherwise, since I was little. I was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, so I am an American citizen by birth. However, I have known legal and illegal immigrants from many countries who have settled in Chicago. As long as they assimilated to the American way, no one gave them any trouble.
My mother once brought her sister and her family to Chicago illegally and my mother didn’t think she did anything wrong because she was helping her sister improve her lot in life. Back in 1980 when I was still in the Marine Corps, my mother drove her van down to Mexico, picked up her sister and her children, and drove them to the Mexico-Texas border where my mother dropped them off. My mother, a legal U.S. citizen, then drove through customs into the U.S. and went to the Rio Grande where she picked up her sister and her children after they had waded across the river. It was that easy! They then drove to Chicago without a problem. When I came home from the Marines on leave, my aunt and cousins were temporarily living with my mother. “Good morning!” they greeted me with a heavy Mexican accent. They wanted to learn English immediately. Eventually, they adapted to American life quite well.
Everyone seemed alarmed after all the immigration marches last year when they realized that there are approximately 12 million illegal aliens, most them Mexican. No one should be surprised since it’s so easy to enter the U.S. illegally. Most of our borders are unprotected. Anyone who really wants to enter the U.S. will find a way; some ways are easier than others. And the federal government never really tried to prevent everyone from entering illegally in the first place. Occasionally, the feds conduct cursory raids of a few factories to round up a few hundred, out of 12 million, illegal aliens and deport them. The government turns a blind eye to this illegal immigration because factories, farms, and businesses need employees. Sometimes only illegal aliens are willing to take those jobs, regardless of the complaints that they’re taking away jobs from Americans. These jobs were vacant until filled by illegal immigrants who really wanted to work regardless of the substandard wages and working conditions, at least by American standards.
The immigration issue will not be easily resolved until the immigration laws already in effect are strictly enforced. Until then, we shall see politics as usual with no true immigration reform.