The following was published in the Chicago Tribune as a Letter to the Editor December 22, 2006
“Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses…”
This was the golden gate philosophy on which this country was once based. We were supposed to be the compassionate country. We were meant to be the land of opportunity when opportunity was an impossibility to those of other regions. But now our country has fallen into the blame game and wishes to point Lady Liberty’s finger at anyone but her own citizens.
Who is to blame now? Illegal immigrants. These are people who enter this country with nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs as they dodge bullets and police dogs. They risk their lives, humility and pride to find a way to attain a piece of life that is simply livable for their families. They come from squalor, starvation and filth. They live in homes we would not find suitable for backyard play forts. Their education is almost non existent. And their futures are as bleak as the night through which they travel.
Do illegal immigrants garnish a toll on American economy? Perhaps. But to what extent I would like to really know. I do not consider myself an expert on this topic, or any for that matter. But this is how I see it.
We are so quick to blame these outsiders who speak another language. Yes, they come to our country, our neighborhoods and our homes. But when they are here they are working. Any illegal immigrant I have ever come into contact with had the stained, cracked hands of a hard working human. They work harder than any citizen I have yet to meet. And they work for little just in hopes to one day help their family have the simple hope for a future. These people are humans. Why must it become about us and them? What benefits are they really taking away?
I can tell you that I have seen our own American citizens gouge and take advantage of our system time and time again. I see it everyday. How about the parents who are too lazy to discipline their child so they collect social security because of junior’s supposive ADHD diagnosis? Or how about the woman who squeezes out as many babies as she can while she sits on her butt collecting state aid? I have even known women on welfare who take fertility medications!! Talk about selfishly taking advantage!! I see these atrocities everyday. I do not see illegal immigrants sitting around watching Jerry Springer while they do nothing but collect a check every month. I have not once witnessed an illegal immigrant order a lobster at fancy restaurants. But I have seen jobless drug dealers driving Hummers.
How about we establish an exchange program? We will take your tired, hardworking, poor, huddled masses; but we will give to you our lazy, criminal, irresponsible losers. Not exactly a fair trade I suspect. But THAT is what would make this country what it should be.
These immigrants come from cultural backgrounds that are family orientated, have morals and convictions. They respect and adore their elderly. They teach their children right from wrong. What is our American cultural background? I don’t even know. I do know that we spoil our children and let them become burdens to society. I do know that we stick our dying elderly in a room while fighting over their belongings. I do know that our financial status, our cars, our clothes and our reality TV means more to us than what is happening to our fellow human. Is that what was intended for us?
I say we show some compassion to those who deserve it and start taking action against those who truly are sucking us dry – citizen or not.