by Mel Griffith
Recently there has been a great deal of controversy about immigration. We should understand that there has been a flow of immigrants to this country for centuries except for the forty years between 1924 and 164 when immigration was practically banned. Since those are the years people my age grew up in, most of us didn't go to school with many immigrants and tend to think that the current wave of immigrants is something new when it really isn't. In the 1700s there was a new wave of mostly Scottish-Irish Presbyterians every time the Church of England decided to get tough on people who didn't worship correctly. Once they got here for a few generations they started worrying about all the people who were doing the same thing they did and coming to America. All through the 1800s there were new waves of outrage at each new wave of immigrants.
The Chinese imported to build the railroads were going to ruin the country because they weren't white. The Irish were going to ruin it because they were Catholic. The Jews were going to ruin it because they weren't Christians. The Italians and central Europeans were going to ruin it because they didn't speak English. Guess what? All these groups blended right into the American melting pot. They had about the same percentage of crooks and bums as everybody else but were mostly honest, hard working people who helped build the country, raised successful children, and fought for the country when it went to war. In most cases, by the third generation they only spoke English, often married outside their ethnic group and couldn't be distinguished from those whose ancestors came over when these were British colonies, as mine did. We need to keep these family success stories in mind before we get too exited about current immigrants.. It is likely that history will repeat itself.
The president and some members of congress are trying to get immigration under control, but don't seem to be having much success in dealing with the twelve million or so immigrants who are technically illegal. Some thoughts to keep in mind:
We aren't going to send them home, so we better figure out how to deal with them here. Rounding them all up is impossible and if we somehow managed it our agriculture, construction, restaurants, and packing houses would all collapse for lack of labor. Claims that Americans want these hard, dirty, low-paying jobs are absurd. The only way we could get Americans to take these jobs would be to abolish the welfare system and quit giving disabilities to every lazy bum who wants one. Those are good ideas, but they are not about to happen. Anyway, previous mass roundups, like the Cherokee in 1938, and the Japanese in World War ll. haven't been treated kindly by historians. Probably we shouldn't try it again. It has been suggested that we ought not to even educate the children of illegals. Why would we want to rear them to draw welfare instead of becoming productive citizens? Who knows what some of them may accomplish with a good education? At least two current Governors are immigrants.
Its time to recognize that most of these people are here to stay. Lets find a quick way to send the criminals back where they came from and quit worrying about hard-working, law abiding folks who don't happen to have the right paperwork. High-profile raids by ICE to shut down specific factories by rounding up their work force disrupt productivity, waste taxpayer money and accomplish nothing useful.