Saturday, March 24, 2007

Those *%$*# Illegal Immigrants

We’re having another big deal about illegal immigrants. This is the second time we’ve had an influx of these newcomers, separated by 150 or so years. First time around, we quietly welcomed them with open arms; this time, we can’t chase them out fast enough.

Time writes history; history makes or breaks. The first time, it made.

While today’s “illegals” arrive in cars, yesterday’s arrived via railroad; the Underground Railroad, to be exact. “Follow the North Star” changed to “Take I-81 North.” They both came in hopes of a new and better life, knowing their new home was tenuous at best and they were subject to arrest and deportation.

The lucky ones fit in and, eventually, became citizens. Their attempts were as hard as gaining a toehold on a wet river bank, where you might make ten slippery steps trying to get just one firm catch on your way up. They had their own sections of town, their own churches and holidays and even their own linguistic expressions. They still do around here.

We’re better off accepting this new bunch, teaching them the language, looking the other way when the issue of documentation comes up. Get them ready for citizenship and help them join our society.

It was done once before; it can be done again. As the lawyers say, there is precedent.


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