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A Pro/Con Regarding My Immigration Essay
By Matt Abbott
The following are two additional e-mails I received in response to my essay, "Undocumented Immigrants Should Be Given Legal Status." The first is in agreement with my position; the second is not.
From Jason Rodriguez:
"Hello. First I would like to say that I just read your essay on giving undocumented immigrants legal status here in the United States of America a few moments ago. And in my opinion I agree with you. I am 20 years old and am Mexican-American. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. The issue on immigration does affect me because it is something that I have dealt with personally throughout my life.
"Many of my friends are Mexican. Most are undocumented. Notice I do not use the term 'illegal' because no human being is illegal. I see that as a negative term. There is a proposition here in Arizona that is on the ballot for Nov. 2 - Proposition 200. It was created to try to stop the flow of 'illegal immigrants' into Arizona. That is a farce. It is nothing more than a racist agenda that offers no real solution to the problems faced with undocumented immigration.
"What Proposition 200 is trying to do is deny basic human rights to undocumented workers in Arizona. For example, an undocumented person can not receive basic hospital needs because he/she is undocumented. The undocumented person would have to provide proof of legal status before he/she may receive help. It also would require police officers and fire fighters to report any undocumented people they come across for deportation, and failure to do so could cost the police/fire fighter their job.
"Now here is where this affects me. Since I am Mexican-American, I will be targeted by this proposition. For example; if something were to happen to my mother and I need to take her to the hospital, I would be questioned about my mother's legal status and have to provide them papers before they can do anything to treat her, and quite possibly save her life.
"Now, as I state this, if a Caucasian person were in the same boat I was in, they would get speedier treatment because of the color of my skin. I would be questioned because my skin is brown.
"How this proposition helps to stop the problem of undocumented immigrants I do not know. If the people who wrote the proposition believe it would discourage undocumented immigration because of it, they are wrong. These peoples are willing to risk death itself to come into this great nation of America by crossing the unforgiving desert just so they could get a small chance that we Americans get and take for granted every day.
"America is a great nation. It is great because of immigrants. This nation was founded on immigrants. And it will continue to be great because of immigrants.
"Now one of the responses I read shocked me.
"'They aren't checking their culture at the door, such as my grandparents did when they immigrated here 80 years ago. They wanted my parents to speak English and melt in the pot. They were proud to be known as 'Americans.' These people unfortunately, have no such desires. They fly the Mexican flag, not the red, white and blue. They want to re-create Mexico here.'
"I see many problems with that statement. First, I 100 percent disagree with the statement that the undocumented immigrants want to re-create Mexico. That is such a farce. Why would a person leave home, in this case Mexico, just so they can re-create home elsewhere?
"They are leaving Mexico because they want to be part of the great nation that is America. These people risk their lives to get away from the troubles they faced in Mexico just so they can live in America. These peoples don't wish to re-create Mexico, for they are leaving Mexico because of the many problems they faced there! If anything, these undocumented peoples are more America than Americans who were born here!
"The other statement I had problem with was that they fly the Mexican flag, not the red white and blue. That is another farce! My friend, who is not documented, was raised here in the U.S. He loves this country. He loves it so much that he enlisted in the Marines and is in Iraq today fighting on our behalf. As is the story for most undocumented peoples who were raised here in the U.S. and now serve proudly in the United States Armed Forces because they so love this country.
"So please, to say that undocumented peoples want to re-create Mexico is totally false.
"Something some one else said really bugged me.
"'No one can live on the unjust wages they are paid, so they resort to theft and drug dealing.'
"That is a false generalization. This person makes a generalization that undocumented workers resort to selling drugs. That is such a racist comment. Perhaps he knows of some who do sell drugs, I am not here to argue that fact. My point is to generalize all undocumented peoples in such a way is unfair.
"By that same logic, I can say that all non-Hispanic people are criminals because I know of one non-Hispanic person who is in jail. That would be unfair of me to say though, because I am generalizing all non-Hispanic peoples because of one instance.
"And to say undocumented workers don't contribute to the U.S. economy is hogwash. It cannot be ignored that a huge chunk of the growth of our economy is based on immigrant labor. With the facts you stated in your essay - that is proof that our economy is dependant on immigrant labor. One must be ignorant to say that our economy would be okay if suddenly all immigrant labor were to disappear.
"I have nothing but huge respect for those who are willing to risk their lives and risk the great amount of prejudice that undocumented peoples face every day just so that they can better themselves and better their families.
"So, for those who disagree with me, let me ask this question. What is the shoe were on the other foot? Put yourself in their situation. If you had a chance to enter this country, in this case illegally, would you not do the same thing so that you could actually have money to better yourself and your family?
"Undocumented peoples are treated so unfairly. They are exploited by low wages. But instead of wanting to help them out, most Americans want to send them back. They are treated as second class citizens. They are called vulgar names. I know this because I myself have been called these names even though I was born in Phoenix.
"Every person has the right to live. Every person should have the opportunity to better him/herself! God has blessed America so much, and it saddens me that most Americans don't want to spread his blessings to other peoples, be it already here in America or those from other nations.
"May God continue to bless America - and everywhere else."
And from Eric J. Halvorson:
"As a fifth generation native Arizonan who is one-eighth Hispanic, unless you live in a border state - especially Arizona - you really have no idea on how much of a drain Hispanic illegal immigrants have on our local economies. The decrease in quality of life and property values, increased blight, etc., has significantly increased because of the influx of this group. And their refusal and obstinacy to even remotely assimilate into our society is another issue as well.
"The State of Arizona has a proposition - Proposition 200 - on its general November ballot that requires 'proof of citizenship when registering to vote; rejection of voter registration not accompanied by proof of citizenship; showing identification before receiving a ballot; state and local governments to verify identity of applicants for certain state and local public benefits; and government employees to report applicants who violate immigration law.' This is geared towards stopping illegal immigrants from having a real economic drain on our public resources.
"Proposition 200 is leading 2 to 1 in the local polls. We in Arizona have had enough. It should pass. I am a huge proponent of this proposition, although it was not perfectly crafted.
"As a conservative Catholic, I feel that it is time to hold both our federal government and these illegal immigrants accountable. And granting citizenship or amnesty to those who have broken our federal laws is definitely not the answer."
Matt Abbott - Author,
Catholic, Abbott, immigration
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