Monday, May 01, 2006
Chicago immigration rally a 'coming out party'
As a massive crowd started to gather in Chicago, I went hunting for a live interview with someone who was taking part in this city's immigration rights march. Instead of finding one person, I found two -- two guys who didn't know each other until this morning.

Jose Garcia and Luiz Ramirez were standing behind a large banner and talking to each other about what they believe.

Jose, a retired high school teacher from Chicago's suburbs, came to the United States from Cuba when he was 15 years old. Luiz, a junior high school teacher who took the day off from work, emigrated from Guatemala almost 20 years ago. Both are U.S. citizens.

"It's a moral issue," Luiz said, explaining that he's marching because he believes immigrants are vital to the American economy. He thinks undocumented workers should not be thought of as lawbreakers, but as contributing members of society who are worthy of citizenship.

I asked, "Why now? What is it that is causing such an intense reaction in Chicago's Hispanic community?" After all, the quickly organized March 10th rally drew an estimated 100,000 people, and today's rally has been projected to be at least twice as large.

"It's that House bill," said Jose, referring to legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would make illegal presence in the United States a felony, as opposed to a civil offense.

"That is an insult," Jose added. "That got a lot of people to come out."

Indeed, the scene before me is something of a coming out party. People who have spent little time on politics are now marching and expressing their beliefs, and in the case of Jose and Luiz, making friends.

The two strangers found they were both teachers, both graduates of the University of Illinois at Chicago. They plan to march together, sharing food from Luiz's stuffed backpack. They hope that those marchers who are illegal immigrants may someday become American citizens, just as they did.
Posted By Keith Oppenheim, CNN Correspondent: 2:16 PM ET
Ungrateful losers they are.
Close the border now and make the employers responsible for their actions.
If this law is ok to break by an illegal then why cant a US citizen break other laws?
Posted By Anonymous Daniel, Houston, TX : 2:31 PM ET
I don't know all the details involved, but if your able to organize a march and rally, then it seems to me you should be able to organize a solution for illegals to either become tax paying citizens or obtain green cards to work and benefit yourself here legally!!
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Hoffman Estates, Ill : 2:53 PM ET
Why aren't there any reports focusing on the costs to the American public instead of just the inconveniences of say mowing our own yards? IMO, the real point of my concern - costs of education and medical treatment for illegal immigrants and their dependents, isn't being addressed.

Nobody is in disagreement that immigrants play a vital role in our economy but why should the American government continue to subsidize their illegal activity by giving free emergency care, free pre/post natal care and welfare for anchor babies? Just because someone says they'll do a job that American's won't? Sorry, I don't buy that.
Posted By Anonymous RB, Denver, Colorado : 2:53 PM ET
I'm also a teacher (American in Mexico) and tell my students if they want things to change, they have to step forward. In Mexico, there are laws against discrimination because of age, race, nationality, religion and gender. However, attorneys are the first ones to say, "but we don't observe those laws." It's no wonder to me that the Mexican illegals in the U.S. don't feel that they have done anything wrong by disobeying immigration laws. They come from a place that doesn't obseve laws. My question is whether U.S. lawmakers have the guts to enforce their own laws.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, Mexico : 2:55 PM ET
It is stories like this that give all immigrants hope. I am an immigrant myself and went through the long battle to become a citizen. I hope that some day all immigrants will be given a chance of it and that it is as fair as it can be for everyone
Posted By Anonymous Ana Gomes, Southport, North Carolina : 2:57 PM ET
As American I don't have a problem with the undocumented who is here working to make a better life for themselves and their families. What we as Americans don't like is when they come to our country demanding we owe them something with out having to work for it. I feel they should take away all the freebies and make them earn the right to become an American. What an insult to all the immigrants who came to this country and abided by the laws of the land. I would like to see Mexico take on the Americans and give us whatever we demanded and make them speak our language and teach our kids in english.....
Posted By Anonymous D Riley, McAllen, Texas : 2:59 PM ET
I pray that this becomes an important day in our World. Immigration. Genocide. Natural disasters. We can fix these problems if we all decide it's time to come together:)
Posted By Anonymous Tony B. Chicago, IL : 2:59 PM ET
We are talking about close to 1 MILLION people not 200,000.
Posted By Anonymous Erwin, Chicago IL : 3:00 PM ET
If you didn't come here legally then you don't have a RIGHT to demand citzenship.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, Parsippany, NJ : 3:02 PM ET
illegal immigrants may say all they want that the House bill is an insult and that they contribute to their would-be adoptive country, but the fact is that they refuse to abide by the laws of the united states while at the same time clamoring to be protected by them--you can't border-jump and ask those people who have immigrated legally and are now productive citizens to support you. their wanting to be treated like members of our society is a slap in the face for all law-abiding citizens whose taxes go to support these parasites.
Posted By Anonymous maria bonbia, baltimore, maryland : 3:02 PM ET
I, as an American don't have the choice of obeying certain laws and ignoring others. If immigrants are here illegally, there should be a price to pay if they want to gain citizenship. What about required military service for illegal immigrants 35 years old and younger? If you want to reap the benefits of living in this country, it has to be a reciprocal relationship.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, Stuart, FL : 3:04 PM ET
Immigrants that come here legally are needed and accepted....It is the ones sneaking across the borders that need to be dealt with harshly so as to actually discourage the practice....
Posted By Anonymous ED, Cocoa, Florida : 3:04 PM ET
I don't understand why any immigrant who worked hard to become a U.S. citizen would support amnesty for illegal immigrants. Is it right for them to use the resources and schools and hospitals and universities that were partially funded with federal taxes and then not pay any themselves?

Something is wrong in our country when you can't get on a plane with cuticle scissors because of heightened security, but millions can walk in from Mexico at any time. Does anybody really believe the terrorists haven't discovered our total weakness in securing our southern borders?
Posted By Anonymous Michael R. Smith, New Orleans : 3:04 PM ET
The illegals should be sent back to mexico. They come here and shoot people, start gangs, sell drugs, and they get away with all of that because there illegal. goerge bush is a lousy excuse for a president he needs to act on this now. They are marching with mexican flags also this is not mexico this is america and if they can not realize that, then do not come back, leave, I dont want america to turn into mexico.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas Fort Bragg California : 3:06 PM ET
I believe that legal immigrants are vital to the US economy and workforce, as a former legal immigrant I believe we must respect the laws and rules of this land. By entering the US illegally you are breaking the law, therefore why should you be rewarded citizenship or any other services that is the right of a legal citizen/immigrant. Illegal immigrants take away jobs and take away services that needy legal persons NEED, i.e. section 8 grants, food stamps, wic programs and many other services. How many illegals can we support, what number is too many. Where do we draw the line? These issuse must be answered before we have to answer to the illegal felons.
Posted By Anonymous Lam Howard Norristown,Pa : 3:06 PM ET
How about citizenship after 400 years of "free labor?" As an African-American woman I am disgusted by their demands. The blame lies with our government for allowing this to go on for decades. They wanted cheap labor, now they have that and then some. Why are we not addressing the gang and drug problem that these "hard-working" immigrants bring to the United States.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl Williams, Vallejo, California : 3:09 PM ET
This is a Day to round them up. This is also a day that businesses that are total Hispanic and close down to for the purpose of attempting to cripple the nation should be shut down themselves. These Hispanics want to become citizens, then let them be accepted by the Army and Marines, put them through training and then send them to Iraq to fight for our country. Then if and when they make it back alive, I would agree that then and only then they deserve to become United States Citizens. However, I guarantee you that making them do that, they will run and hide. They want citizenship given to them. They dont want to have to work for it. Also, take away all Medical Facilities from the Illegals. If they dont have access to it, then maybe they will leave.
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Arlington, VA : 3:11 PM ET
What a slap in the face to all of us who follow the laws of the land. Home of the free and land of the brave. We have to brave to pay for everybody who does not follow the law.

Sure you can march in America,we have the right to do so, to say what we feel, but it is too much that my sister who works at Cracker Barrell for four years now has to go to the Church pantry to afford to eat... the middle class is gone.

Thanks lawmakers, I say we would vote you out of office, but after my absentee ballot was delayed and not counted while I was a resident of FL - I have no feeling that my vote means anything of for that matter my citizenship in the us.

I have no confidence in our goverment or democracy at this point.
Posted By Anonymous jonesey, Los Angeles, CA : 3:11 PM ET
The arrogance and "self-entitlement" of these illegal aliens truly disgusts me. They break the laws coming here and spit in the face of every immigrant who came here LEGALLY and now they think they are in some position to make demands? What?
Posted By Anonymous Milena, Ft. Lauderdale, FL : 3:15 PM ET
This is further proof they all need to be deported. They dont think this is their country, they wont adopt the language, or the flag, or the anthem, or pay taxes. Then they protest, Get out of my America. I'm an Immigrant too.
Posted By Anonymous Jim. Chicago IL : 3:18 PM ET
The federal and state governments needs to take responsibility for the immigration issue and pass timely, fair legislation to ensure anyone who employs an illegal immigrant is punished to a point that they would not consider doing it again.

The laws must be specific ensuring the employer has no way of misinterpreting that he or she may be employing someone illegally...ignorance of the law is no excuse.

I do not blame people who are less fortunate that want to make a better life within a country that is considered a world power and provides more opportunity but they must do it the right way.

American citizens need to ensure oversight of their government. We can do this simply by voting.

The government and the employer are the ones who should be held accountable on this issue, not the immigrant. The immigrant is merely a symptom of the underlying problem, genuine state and federal Government control.
Posted By Anonymous Rich, Acton MA. : 3:19 PM ET
What's an "insult" is illegal's telling us how to run our country. It's an insult to all the legal immigrants who have followed the rules to reach this country
Posted By Anonymous D.B. , Columbus,Ohio : 3:19 PM ET
The issue is what do we consider a "Citizen"? Rights for immigrants, you bet. The D of I states that. " . . allmen are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness . ." This is not about rights but Benefits and Responsibility. Does a person recieve the benefits of Citizenship without being a Citizen and being accountable for the responsibilties of Citizenship? We must define what is a U.S. Citizen and how to become one. Do not stop people from the American Dream. Show them how to achieve it. There is no "instant fix". This is going to be a process. Right now the process is adulterated by the politicizing by both parties in an election year. Everyone want to be the hero for the millions of prospective Hispanic and other immigrant voters. We have to address this, but niether amnesty nor border fences are going to be the answer. We must address the immigrants already here, both long and short term. We must find a reasonable and responsible way to help them become citizens if they want. But not a "Free ride". This is going to be the test, and the person with the final answer will be the winner of the political lottery.
Posted By Anonymous David - Newnan, GA : 3:20 PM ET
They say they are helping our economy, but I think they are hurting it. If they want to come to this country to work & live, then let them come legally, and pay our taxes. I do not have a problem with any immigrant coming here legally, but I do resent having to pay their medical bills & housing just because they came here illegally & happened to have a baby, who automatically became a US Citizen. I think that law needs to be changed. If they are here illegally, they have no "rights" -- like the right to demonstrate or to "demand" anything. In almost any other country in the world, including their own, they would be thrown in jail for this behavior. Boy, how we Americans coddle our illegals. I truly think the vast majority do not want to be here legally, because they don't want to pay our taxes, and they send most of the money back to their home country so it doesn't help our economy, it helps the native economy. I think if most Americans really know all of the facts, they would be in favor of deporting them instead of legalizing them. By letting illegals stay and work to earn their citizenship, we are telling the rest of the would be illegals "come to America, it's ok, even if you break their immigration laws, they'll let you stay -- and even pay you--just keep on coming & coming & coming".
When is enough, ENOUGH????
Posted By Anonymous Judy Jenkins, Alto, TX : 3:21 PM ET
That attitude is all well and good, but let all who want citizenship go through the right procedure and not have it just handed to them because they broke our existing laws.
Posted By Anonymous R. Elza, Gainesville, GA : 3:22 PM ET
The insult is to all the Americans who have suffered, sacrificed and died for the rights these illegal aliens are now demanding. The insult is to the courageous man and women involved in the civil rights movement in this country. If these people had a fraction of their courage they would be making demands of the Mexican goverment.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Chesapeake VA : 3:27 PM ET
I read through these emails and I can the hatred towards hispanic people. The extremists on both sides of the issue are making it impossible to have a decent and intelligent discussion. Instead we have the "SEND THEM ALL HOME TO MEXICO" as if all illegals where from Mexico. On the other side you have the "WE WERE HERE FIRST, YOUR ANCESTORS NEVER GOT A GREEN CARD" I hope for our nations sake we can come to a reasonable agreement that helps the undocumented and secures our borders.
Posted By Anonymous Lupe A. El Mirage, Az : 3:27 PM ET
I think these marches are a wonderful idea. At what other time would you find such a large number of CRIMINALS in one place? I say send law enforcement into the crowds and just start roundin' em up!!! Escort these criminals off the premises. Could you imagine someone breaking into your home while you're away on vacation, eating there, sleeping there? Then, upon your return, you can't have them removed because they washed the dishes and cut the grass. Give me a break!!! The work that they do here, that supposedly no Americans are willing to do, does not change the fact that they are here illegally. Send the law breakers back where they came from and close the borders!!!
Posted By Anonymous Danielle - Louisville, KY : 3:28 PM ET
I don't have a problem with those trying to become american citizens. I do oppose them coming into our country illegally. They need to apply for citizenship just as if you came over on a plane from europe, africa, or australia. At least apply for the work permit. It is unfair for law abiding citizens to care for and provide for the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants. costing us taxpayers billions of dollars
Posted By Anonymous TRUCKER DAN West Chester,OH : 3:28 PM ET
What is it about ILLEGAL immigrant that is so hard to understand? ILLEGAL? If employers cannot work without them, let them pay to make them legal. If not, let them go back to their home countries and apply for a work visa. No free benefits, no free entry, no not paying taxes, no free school, become a tax paying citizen like the rest of us.
Posted By Anonymous Penny Trinity, AL : 3:29 PM ET
Hell yes, folks, let's round up all them gosh darn law-breakers. Because only illegals break the laws, shoot people, sell drugs, start gangs and dodge serving the military. Look at all them white people working who are just slaving away at lower income jobs. If them illegals weren't taking away all the McDonalds and janitorial positions, we'd all be gainfully employed!

Give me a break.
Posted By Anonymous Bryan, Atlanta, GA : 3:29 PM ET
Even in the gloomiest of days here in Milwaukee, I found warmth in being amongst the thousands of people protesting Sensenbrenner's Bill. I hope through the solidarity shown by the thousands of those marching across the nation today we can further show the mistake Rep. Sensenbrenner has made in characterizing immigrants as crimminals. Our voices will be heard so that our lawmakers can make the right decision in incorperating a comprehensive bill that can better sercure our borders and provide those that are here illegally a path towards citizenship.
Posted By Anonymous Eddie Milwaukee, WI : 3:30 PM ET
It took 6 years for my friend from Scotland to get a green card and she came here legally. Why do they think that because they made it across our border and work for lower wages than an American citizen makes gives them to right to stay here. They are getting all the benefits that we do not get and we, the legal residents of the USA get the shaft. Go home and apply for entrance to the USA the same way my grandparents did.
Posted By Anonymous Elise, Toledo, WA : 3:30 PM ET
I don't think anyone is against immigration; indeed, most of us are children or grand children or great grand children of immigrants. Yes, immigrants help the economic fabric of this country, but it is not right for illegal immigration to occur. That is what many people are against, the issue of a person entering this country illegally. The moment a person enters this country without the proper documentation, he or she has already broken the law and thus shows that they have little regard for the legal system and laws in this country.

Immigration is fine. My mother is a Greek immigrant who went through the harrowing process of visas, documentation, and becoming a citizen. I'm not sure why the Hispanic community has taken to ignoring what many immigrants do to enter this country.
Posted By Anonymous Katie, Norman, OK : 3:30 PM ET
The real "immigrants" are the Anglo and Negro Americans. Like it or not, this is the Browning of America. Anglo and Black Americans would never consider doing these jobs at their wages. Everyone that says kick out the mexicans should be willing to pay $8.00 for a gallon of milk, and $5.00 for a head of lettuce. God Bless America.
Posted By Anonymous Pedro, Los Angeles, CA : 3:32 PM ET
I strongly feel that this is whole immigration deal is wrong. It bothers me that there are so many people that cross over our borders and want a free ride in our country. Yes, some do make contributions to our society but the problem is that there are too many immigrants coming over and too many jobs going to other countries. Not to mention all of the people (legal or not) that suck off of the welfare system while my hard work and tax dollars pay for them to sit on their rear ends.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Ozark, AL : 3:32 PM ET
Yes, immigrants are a vital part of the United States ecomomy. They are also a large drain on the economy. They are worthy of citizenship but they have to apply and abide by the law. Also they need to make an effort to learn the official language, ENGLISH
Posted By Anonymous Forrest Childs, Westminster, CO : 3:32 PM ET
America needs to get tough and enforce the laws as written.If you come to this country then you HAVE to become legal.I am sick and tired of my tax dollars paying for the illegal and lazy.This is THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA and we have an AMERICAN flag and a NATIONAL ANTHYM that is sung in ENGLISH.Mexico does not allow illegal immigrants into that country.Their leader will not allow this to happen.If you want to live here speak the language of the AMERICAN PEOPLE.Become legal everyone at Ellis Island has too.If you cannot abide by the law as all American Citizens are expected to then go to jail or get out!
Posted By Anonymous Abby Richmond,Virginia : 3:33 PM ET
Quick question....who was the first US soldier to die for this country in Iraq?

His name Jose Guiterrez, an orphan who grew up in Guatemale. He found a new family when at 14 he traveled to the United States illegally by train, foot and bus. He enlisted with the Marines to thank the United States for his new life.

He gave his life for you, your family, so you can enjoy your freedom, and all you can say is these people are losers, crimanls, a slap in the face?

Give thanks for what you have, be greatful we live in the greatest and freest country in the world.
Posted By Anonymous Rafael, West Palm Beach, FL : 3:33 PM ET
First of all, no one is commenting on the actual article, which is absolutely horrible... Why even bother has told us nothing except that people were friendly and equates a polical rally regarding immigration reform to homosexuals "coming out." How does this make any sense at all...?????
If any of you were born in a country like Mexico you would jump the border too. Think. Just because someone says there is a border somewhere that separates countries doesn't take away from the fact that both countries were founded by europeans that killed the native populations and drew imaginary lines on maps.
We americans take illegals for granted and refuse to admit that if the tables were turned...we would all be doing the same thing.
Posted By Anonymous Lee SLT, Ca : 4:22 PM ET
My Grandmother is an immigrant from Portugal. She became a citizen, pays her taxes and speaks ENGLISH. Come here, live here, work here, but you should also be required to become a citizen, pay taxes and SPEAK ENGLISH!
Posted By Anonymous Kim, Yonkers, NY : 4:23 PM ET
The issue surrounding illegal immigrants is a tough one, and I want to say upfront that I understand both sides of the argument and I am not sure what the solution is to fix this issue.

What I DO know is the following:

Though medical benefits are given to illegal aliens, I know for a fact that housing authorities that administer Section 8 housing REQUIRE proof of citizenship before offering a voucher. Having worked at a housing authority, we were required to copy social security cards, green cards, birth certificates, etc to prove citizenship. (I'm not saying that no one that is an illegal immigrant is on Section 8/public housing, I'm just saying it IS difficult to obtain housing assistance if you do not have paperwork.)

It is EXTREMELY difficult to obtain a visa into this country. My relatives recently immigrated from China, and they were on the waiting list since 1988, and received their visa 17 years later. AND they only received their visas because a relative sponsored them. If there is no relative sponsor, it could take much much longer to obtain a visa.

It cannot be denied that illegal immigrants make up a large workforce in America, and that many DO hold positions that citizens do not want. BUT, granting immediate citizenship does set a bad precedent for the future. By doing it once, I suspect a larger number of illegal immigrants would try and come to the US thinking that such legislation would pass again.

How can we deny people that are willing to work and pay taxes entry into this country? Think about it this way, for those that are saying that illegal immigrants are using welfare of tax paying citizens, how about those that are abusing the welfare system? Now, not EVERYONE on welfare is abusing it, but for those that do, how can we justify helping them if they are capable of working and choose not to? And then turn around and tell illegal immigrants that ARE working and NOT on welfare to leave? Truthfully, if all illegal immigrants paid taxes, there might be large enough tax revenues to fund the illegal immigrants that do need some form of assistance.

Because of the complexity of the issue, I believe that the solution of deporting everyone and the solution of granting everyone citizenship are two extremes. Not every illegal immigrant uses welfare on a consistent basis or is a drug dealer. In fact, I would say that not even the majority are.

These issues need to be examined closely, and not by congressmen who are looking at their jurisdiction's polls before taking a side. The question is, are enough people looking at all sides and understanding the whole issue before they protest either way of this issue?
Posted By Anonymous Diana, Chicago, IL : 4:23 PM ET
I can't imagine wanting to emigrate to another country with the sole purpose of demanding my own set of rules for myself once I get there. I do believe that in the United States there is room for peopls of all walks of life. I think what some folks are missing is that by entering the country without anyone knowing you are here is illegal! There are laws to abide and there is a procedure with both governments that will allow you to change your citizenship from one country to another. We are not 4 year old children and this isn't a candy store we can kick and scream in till we get what we want. The process is to become a citizen of the country you want to be in. Once that happens then use that legal citizenship to vote, participate and make valued changes to your society. I welcome all who want to come to this country to become US citizens. But remember what the reason is you want to come here for. Diversity? Acceptance? Freedom? It's not easy, but keep in mind that YOU need to adapt to your new country. Not the other way around.
Posted By Anonymous JO. Minneapolis, MN : 4:24 PM ET
The INS should do a massive sweep and then this would be a non-issue
Posted By Anonymous Dwayne W. ,Los Angeles, California. : 4:24 PM ET
I wish that some of the illegal immigrants that flock to our country would try to stay in other countires illegally and see how far they get. It's time for the United States to get tough on illegals and crack down on them, hard. If you want to work in this country, register and become a citizen. If you can't or won't register go back to your home country. it's as simple as that.
Posted By Anonymous Ed. Denton Tx : 4:25 PM ET
"It's a moral issue,"
He is absolutely right. It is a moral issue. It is immoral to steal, and it is immoral to break the laws of a sovereign nation. It is also immoral to tresspass. It is also immoral to demand things that are not yours. It is also immoral to demand better treatment than your legal counterparts. Enough said?

"Quick question....who was the first US soldier to die for this country in Iraq? His name Jose Guiterrez..."

This is nothing more than a cheap appeal to people's emotions. Whereas Jose Guiterrez was a fine man, he still broke the law. The problem is that we can not make exceptions. It doesn't matter if it was Mother Teresa, if someone wants to become an American citizen, they must go through the process that millions of others have gone through. Also keep in mind that Jose's case is the exception, and is far from the rule.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Lynchburg Va : 4:25 PM ET
This whole protest is a smoke screen. There are plenty of immigrants that went and did it the right way and came to this country leagally. Why is it that all of a sudden, people are out there giving a voice to those immigrants that got here by climbing a fence or by digging a tunnel. While the immigrants do serve a purpose here (legal and illegal), we have to enforce our laws . . . if we don't, what good is it to have borders in the first place. Face it, this is the United States of America NOT the United States of America & Mexico.
Posted By Anonymous J. Katz, New York, NY : 5:05 PM ET
Reading all of the comments suggesting that Mexicans (and other Latinos) should simply apply for citizenship and legal rights to be in the United States reveals a small tip of the iceberg of ignorance that exists in my country. No one has posted regarding the hundreds and thousands of Mexicans that line up for hours in front of the United States Embassy in Mexico City every day. Every one of them pays a non-refundable application fee of $100 just to get a chance to come to our country. The vast majority of them are denied, with or without reason.

Excuse me for saying so, but unfortunately an aspiring immigrant from Mexico (who Will work 60+ hours per week with sub-par wages) is not given the same chances as a white applicant from Scotland or Greece.

Also, I feel that the exploitation of our taxpayers' money on behalf of the illegal immigrants is an exaggeration. It is true that many illegal immigrants do not pay taxes, however the public should realize that the grand majority of them do not Ever request, steal, nor utilize any of our public services.
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Madison, WI : 5:08 PM ET
The bigotry in these responses is rancid and sickening. The truth of the matter is illegal immigrants have been coming to this nation for centuries. I don't think the Native Americans ok'ed the immigration of the pilgrims. Why are native born people so prone to amnesia about their own origins into America?

I am lucky enough to have been born in this country, and for that I do not ever have to face the harrowing prospect of immigration. I think it is important that we shift our policies to become more inclusive to the immigrants (both legal and illegal)and accept that "SEND 'em ALL HOME" is the stupidest idea ever conceived. Would you deport your grandparents for getting here? The vast majority of illegal immigrants are hard working people who would love nothing more than to become citizens of this country, and until our immigration laws are streamlined and it doesn't take the better part of a decade to get here legally, we should quit whining about how they got here and focus on what they mean to the community now that they have established roots here. Their children are in our schools, they are our neighbors, friends, and coworkers. There is nothing alien about them. This bill is not against immigration persay, it is an afront to basic human rights of emergency care and help. This is as shameful as the Alien and Sedition acts of 1793.
Posted By Anonymous Geoff, Cambridge, MA : 5:09 PM ET
If I could ensure that everyone working in this country was legal and earning a fair wage by paying $5 for a head of lettuce, I'd consider it a bargain.

Anyone who sneaks into this country illegally *is* a criminal who has clearly shown that he's willing to put his own interests above respecting our laws.

There are too many problems with illegal immigrants to list here. Legalizing them isn't going to solve much. If you legalized every illegal immigrant tomorrow, most of them still have to work illegally for substandard pay or there would be a huge demand for a whole new crop of illegals to come over to take their places.

Posted By Anonymous Larry, Chapel HIll, NC : 5:16 PM ET
The issue is equal treatment under the law.

If we give illegal aliens amnesty now, it becomes a statement that every few years, there will be amnesty, so illegals can cross our borders as early and as often as they want. Are we going to give amnesty to American citizens who failed to pay their income taxes? Are we going to give amnesty to those who failed to pay their student loans?

If not, why not? Why are we giving preferential treatment to illegal aliens? I am a naturalized citizen. I complied and followed all immigration laws. I followed the law, registered and did my stint in the U.S. Army and the Reserves for a total of six years. My relatives have been waiting for over five years for their visas to immigrate. What is moral about a class of violators being given the red carpet treatment and allowed to cut in front of law abiding immigrants?

It is our right as a country to protect our borders. It is our moral duty to let newcomers know we are looking forward to their assimilation in our culture and society and to their compliance with our established laws the first time they set foot in our country. If immigration laws are not supposed to be enforced, then these should be taken off the books. Until then, they should be enforced just like all other laws.

We should not replace the rule of law with the rule of the political activist mobs. Amnesty is the wrong solution because it becomes the new rule. We should only have one Constitution and one set of laws, not a new one carved out to please the most powerful activist mob at the moment. Caving in under pressure from the activist mob who can command the most number of people in the streets sets a dangerous precedent that will start the demise of our nation.
Posted By Anonymous Manny, San Jose, CA : 5:16 PM ET
What we are seeing from both political parties as well as Labor Unions is a quest for more POWER.

By soft pedalling this important issue Party leaders on both sides hope to gain favor with Latinos (i.e. Mexican)
by their typical smoke and mirror routines hoping to placate both sides while doing nothing. Totally ignoring the vast consensus of legal citizens calls for tough action.

Union leaders are hoping to grow their shrinking ranks with potential new Latino workers. Ignoring the fact that those same workers are not only taking their Union constitnents jobs but grossly deflating their average wage.

Americans will quickly see through this
(if they haven't already. Will the Democrats and the Republicans as well as the Labor Unions figure this out? So far, the answer is no.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Baton Rouge, LA : 5:18 PM ET
It seems the overwhelming majority of comments are against illegal immigration. I would have to agree. I do not see how anyone can justify the demand for rights in a country that they entered illegally. I also see the humanitary side of the illegal immigrants. There will not be a quick or easy solution, but it seems all that is shown via the media are the radical sides of the issue. I know many legal immigrants personally and they are strongly against illegal immigration. I also happen to work in a job that requires travel throughout the US and I have seen the both the good and bad from the immigrant community. I would have to say that the places I have visited where large populations of illegal immigrants reside there is a definite air of mutual descent between the cultures. The locals feel that they are being forced to axcept a culture they do not want or agree with, and the illegal immigrants feel belittled and degraded for being something other than an American. It is really sad. I feel for both sides. However, I have personally seen the abuse of the system by both illegal immigrants and legal citizens. I have seen individuals without any form of identification and unable to speak English recieve free healthcare. I have also seen legal citizens rape the system for every cent in order to keep from having work and earn the privilages they recieve. Anyone braking the law should pay the price.
I don't know how the illegal immigration issue could be solved, but I know that granting amnesty is definitely not the answer. I do believe that a crack down on the hiring of illegal persons is a must. I also believe strongly that the governments of the countries of origin should be addressing this issue immediately. Why don't we hear anything from these governments?
Posted By Anonymous KG, Wilmington, NC : 5:18 PM ET
The problem is not illegal immigration although that should cease. The real problem is "Political Hypocracy." Industry and commerce want the benefits that illegal immigration provides for them. These are a cheap labor resource that cannot complain, form a union, or protest harsh treatment in any way and will work for low wages. At the same time, to maintain a facade of respectibility, they also do not want to be closely associated with these objectives, so they appeal to the politician, whom they appear to have just about bought, and ask them to come up with a solution that allows their hypocracy to continue. This will enable them to continue practicing defacto slavery as they have for decades. The politicians for their part wish to look like are they doing something to stem the torrent of illegal immigrants by proposing actions that are intentionally doomed to failure before they are enacted. Any positive action that ensures success is not even discussed, regardless of it's practicality. So the hypocracy continues. If the electorate can cultivate a long enough memory, there is a solution to be had at the ballot box. Throw the rascals out, from the President downwards and elect representatives who are committed to governing "For the people and by the people" instead of "For the corporations and by the corporations" as we have been doing for almost the past six years. Insist that they concentrate on governing instead of selling government to the highest bidder. Enact campaign finance laws that have real teeth. Stop the pork barrel tactic of attaching riders to important bills, and make pork visible for all to see. Then and only then will we have a government which is open and honest.
Posted By Anonymous Frederick G Young, Mishicot ,Wisconsin. : 5:37 PM ET
Isn't it ironic that the same people who helped bring down the Berlin wall is now planning to build one in their own back yard? We are all immigrants one way or another (at least most of the people in this country is) unless you are an American Indian Native you have no right to say "go back" immigrants make up this country, everyone had different reasons for leaving their native lands (which is not something so easy to do) & everyone has come from different countries around the world but one thing that unites us all is that we are all immigrants one way or another. That is what makes up this Country & that is what makes it SO "rich" in many different aspects. Immigrants are hard working people not crimminals, the government is trying to punish the wrong people. "One Nation under God, Liberty & Justice for ALL"
Posted By Anonymous Blandon, Seattle, Wa. (US Citizen / Nicaraguan born. : 5:41 PM ET
I came to US 1996 with H1B, it took
me more than 7 years, including go out of the US for a year due to a slow process, to get my green card, and more than US$10,000.00 in attorney, labor department, inmigration, health
check out, newspaper advertisements.... and infinite
amount of steps that make the process of be a "legal inmigrant" something that is close to the impossible and heartbreaking.
I'm oppose to anything that it is illegal and want to teach my kids to follow the law.
I understand any parent from any country to do what ever to make his or hers kids have a better life or a life, but if you made it here to the US one way or another, was your choice and you has to integrate to your new
country, do your best to learn the language, obey the law, try to become a "good" citizen ( the law has to be change here, to let you become a "real" citizen and why 5 years wait????)make it your new home . Or go back "home" and stand up and fight there to make it a better place.
Posted By Anonymous Felix, San Jose, California : 5:53 PM ET
Please don't mix immigrants and "illegal"! I am immigrants myself,
but I don't support "illegal".
Posted By Anonymous jason,sunnyvale,ca : 5:55 PM ET
How stupid can people be. Illegal is illegal . . . I can trace my families origin outside of the US, however we came here legally. Followed the laws of the US and became Americans years ago. Now you want to march in my country with another flag and demand American rights . . . go back to the country of the flag you are holding!
Posted By Anonymous Brian Richard, Fort Worth Texas : 6:00 PM ET
I was a superviser after 15 years and lost my job because I can't Speak Spanish. Since then I have not been able to work as a superviser, I lost my home and had to move to a small apartment and work for a greenhouse.So much for my American Dream and I was born in this country.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Ocala Fla : 6:03 PM ET
America loves cheap labor. That's why their here because they're just cheap worker drones for us. Got too used to it and "now" it's a problem. Go ahead and build the wall at the south. Be ready with your ANTI-CHINESE banners. The next problem will be illegal Chinese immigration since we all need our cheap labor and we'll import it from China and then years later we'll scream "why are they here????!!!".
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Houston, TX : 6:10 PM ET
This is a highly emotional issue for so many but the fact remains that we are talking about people who have broken the law to enter this country. Why is illegal entry any less a crime than robbery,car theft or fraud? Illegal is simply illegal. If we reward the illegal immigrants we are basically saying that our laws may be selectively obeyed and that if there are extenuating circumstances then they need not concern themselves with legality. The only thing that keeps civilization in check is the rule of law and that means ALL laws, not merely the ones we choose to respect and obey. Additionally, many taxpayers, myself included, resent being compelled to support these scofflaws who get free medical care and free education for their children at the expense of our own citizens. We are a nation of immigrants but earlier generations had their Ellis Island to usher them into their new lives as Americans. Everyone coming in was documented - not so with the tidal wave of current immigration from Central and South America. They sneak in under the radar and now they are demanding that we ignore their illegal entry and grant them status as citizens. No way, Jose!
Posted By Anonymous Sally, Houston, TX : 6:13 PM ET
The problem is this: We can't afford to get rid of them and they have no reason to go back. So some middle ground is needed.

How about taxing them 75% on all monies transferred back to their home countries, but give them a tax break if it's used for purchasing homes or businesses in their home countries?

If they can't take back their countries politically, let them take it back economically.

The people who control the purse strings will eventually control the country and it's policies.

At least that how it works here.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Glencoe Oklahoma : 6:14 PM ET
I have lived in Mexico in retirement for 12 years. I have access to a perspective or two not usually considered in the States.

First of all, most Mexicans might enjoy visiting the States, most of them don't want to go there illegally, and most want to finish their lives right here in Mexico. Although it is true some laws in Mexico are not always diligently observed, the reason is money. The government can't afford to enforce these laws, except when there is a powerful, far-reaching reason to do so.

The entire problem of illegal Mexicans coming into the States has to do with money too. Most (except those who come to commit crimes) would have rathered stay in Mexico. They go, because the Mexican economy cannot support their families through adequate employment. The fact that they take some terrible risks from coyotes and bigoted officialdom for the benefit of their families certainly speaks highly of their filial devotion.

I have very mixed feelings about the immigration issue. A nation has an absolute right to control its borders. I also believe in the rule of law; if a law is bad, work to change it. We have some bad laws regarding immigration. Making illegal entry a felony would be heinous, except when applied to a terrorist or a criminal. It should never apply to someone who just wants to help his or her family survive.

When I worked as a court reporter for the U.S. Attorney's office near the Mexican border, I saw many cases of illegal immigrants who did NOT want to come in to work but to commit crimes. There were many such people. In Mexico, robbing a house or store with a gun can get you into jail for many years - and the food and conditions there are putrid. The States DRAWS criminals, with its high crime rate, making getting caught much less likely, its laws which allow many ways for a crook to get off the hook altogether, and its jails which feed and clothe prisoners very well, and even provide education and medical care for free.

I also sympathize with border areas of the States, who are obligated to provide welfare, schooling and other services to illegal immigrants, and are prohibited from reporting them, but those states must pay the costs for all of that, with no help from the federal government. Schools are often jammed, lowering the educational level for all the children involved. These things are neither fair nor good.

Perhaps we need extremely strict laws against criminals coming in illegally, and we need the federal government to shoulder the costs involved in observing the civil rights of illegal immigrants, which it does not do.

We also need to beef up not only the Border Patrol, but the quality of character among them. Too many are abusive of illegals. Any maltreatment of any illegal, even a criminal prisoner, is abhorrent. We need to do much, much more about the lousy state of American bigotry - about Mexicans, and all the other prejudices, too.

But my heart still always went out for those who took those terrible risks (especially with those brutal coyotes) to find a way to earn a nestegg to send home, so their families could live decently in the future. It still goes out to those people. A way should be found to help them accomplish this in a better, more constructive way, one which serves both the illegals and the States. A guest worker program would be good, but so would the earned citizenship program. In addition, the U.S. should broaden considerably its quotas for Mexicans who want to become citizens.

One approach - a partial solution - would be to encourage Mexico's economy. With a solid middle class, Mexico would have a solid voter base, and the government would have to become more responsible. That middle class has already begun growing. More Mexians than ever are enjoying a middle class lifestyle today.

Pte. Fox has been a good president, but even he cannot change in one term in office the underlying situation here: that most of the money in Mexico is in the hands of a very few, profoundly rich families. That is why Mexico is a Third World country, where most people are below the poverty line. Looking at Mexico from this other perspective, it is fabulously rich.

In the States, there is an overt attempt (not publicized) to keep Mexico precisely the way it is now. Why? Because Mexico is an incredibly rich nation. It has natural resources that Americans want and need, but do not have within their borders. The U.S. is actually more of an agricultural nation; our industries only can exist and thrive because we import most of the raw materials. Our government would rather see most of the wealth go to those few families than to enliven the economy so that most Mexicans can live reasonably well. It's like the situation in Iran, which has incredible oil wealth, yet its people are mostly poor. They say they want nuclear power to "boost the economy." That's garbage, because they could have done THAT all along with their oil wealth. Mexico has oil wealth, but other kinds, too. The last thing the U.S. would want to see is a Mexico which becomes more affluent than the States is. It could certainly happen. So it is quite acceptable for the U.S. to help hold down the average Mexican, which is what most Mexican politicians want, too. Result: A Third World nation, with people seeking work up north that they can't get at home. The U.S. government probably feels that is a small price to pay in order to keep Mexico from emerging as a First World nation, more wealthy than we are.

It is time people understood that Mexico is NOT a poor country. Only the population is poor. The real problem behind the whole immigration mess are the two governments involved.

And to those who hate Mexicans, I can only tell them to go suck an egg. The people here have a far higher average level of generosity of spirit and compassion than those in my own homeland. A hungry person in the States is treated like a slug; here, that person can get food on credit, even when the store owner realizes he will probably never see a peso of it coming back. I dislike having to say that Mexicans are more genuinely compassionate, but it is so. I love both countries. My own countrymen, however, have been showing their callous side, their inflexible side, their bigoted side, far too much. We need a major, nationwide attitude adjustment.

Americans coming here often act as though they should be treated like visiting royalty. We have a country where we are proud of our diversity, proud of our equal rights, yet the bulk of Americans still think the Mexican is an inferior being. It disgusts and shames me. Their lousy attitudes down here also end up causing troubles for me, when Mexicans, fed up with maltreatment, take it out on ALL Americans, including me. Americans aren't the only ones capable of prejudices, you know. On either side, such prejudices are not just wrong, but EVIL. I don't want to think my countrymen are actually embracing this evil, but most are doing so. More needs to be done to stop the spread of bigotry. It is mankind's worst enemy.
Posted By Anonymous Holly, San Antonio Tlay., Mexico : 6:53 PM ET
I have read all of the comment made so far. Most all of the comments are from extremists. Illegals are either all criminals or leaches to the US. No one here except for Diana of Chicago sees the bigger scope of the issue. Our European ancestors were all desparete to leave Europe and colonize elsewhere. Where they wrong in doing so? Would you be here if it wasnt for thier actions? These people are desparte to make a better life for themselves and thier families also.
These are questions for all you radicals out there that feel the need to chastize others without knowing anything of your own lineage in this country or even your countrys history, like the guy that posted "learn the offical language, English" The United States of America has no offical language, the only country in the world as a matter of fact. Also the dimm person that said seal up the southern border because terroist might get ideas. Lets not forget where the 911 terrorist came through, it wasnt Mexico, that should make the answer easy for you to figure out. In fact all suspected terrorist coming into the country have come through Canada. I am as patriotic if not more than a trucker with a god bless america cap on, but I chose to know my country to the best of my knowledge before making an opinion.

Like Diana said, we should look at the government when dealing with this issue. These people dont want to come here illegally but its the desperation that has them coming here like our four fathers. Our Government only gives out a certain amount of visa's, not enough to quench the thisrt the American public needs to maintain a steady cost effective work force. If/Since that is the case, lets re-vamp INS, lets put money where its needed, this is a country founded by immigrants for immigrants, so dont you think our immigration system should be handled more efficently? Document everyone that comes to this country be it with temp. work visas or green cards, so that we can tax these people, create more revenue for the government, and have secure borders to minimize terrorists abilities to blend into our society. This should be a win-win situation. But we have obsticals from biggets in the government that like to find ways to demoralize and demonize an enitre segment of our population to the uneducated and sometimes selfish people in our country. These illegals are the biproduct of our governments lack of action that is needed to curb this behavior. Now elected officials are trying to find the easy way out by playing the blame game and helping to feul unrest among not only immigrants but citizens as well. Also for political gains. Lets not be part of the problem but BE THE solution. Also with diplomacy we can help curb the flow of illegals by being better neighbors with the countries that surround us and have them take on the effort from thier end to help the cause. This could also help with homeland security if we have our neighboring governments watching thier borders too! In conclusion, there is no clear middle ground on this issue, but we need to make an informed decision as Americans to come up with a solution that is in Americas best interest and not the individual (which seems to be the overwheling reponse on this comment board) and show the world that we are still the melting pot of the world and that is what makes America great! Thank you for letting me rant, I hope I have enlightend some of as some of you have enlightened me.
Posted By Anonymous Cory SF bay area California : 7:03 PM ET
I find it amusing that the illegal immigrants think it is an insult to be considered criminals. We have laws that govern our country and the minute they step foot over our borders and break those laws they in do, in fact, become criminals. That is the way it is everywhere in the world. They talk about wanting to live here and make a better life yet they have no respect for our rules and regulations but are demanding the we treat them with a respect they do not deserve. You must give respect in order to get it and until they understand that they will not get it from many real Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Rosemary, Alexandria, VA : 7:26 PM ET
First, I'd like to say to Holly who had the rant about this being a race issue, you're out of your mind. I would feel the same if Japan was on the southern border and Japanese illegals were pouring in, or any other race. I highly doubt if the Hispanics who are both citizens of the U.S. and in favor of legalizing the illegals, would feel the same if Sweden or China were the southern border country.

This is quite simple. We all know of charities in our communities. Charities that help feed the poor. Some give out bags of canned goods to the poor and homeless. How would you feel if you heard that your neighborhood charity had been broken into last night and the theives stole the canned goods? Well, the illegal aliens are breaking into our country and stealing our jobs. Now, charities have a process in which a needy person can obtain help. That's why it would be so immoral if a needy person just broke into the charity and stole the food. The food is there for them if they will go thru the process. Citizenship is there for anyone who will go thru the process. If a person doesn't want to go thru the process, then we don't want them.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Traverse City, MI : 8:02 PM ET
I love the signs that read, "We're All Immigrants". They don't mention that 11 million of us are "illegal" immigrants. Here in lies the problem, 11 million of us don't seem to know the difference.
Posted By Anonymous T. Leo, Streamwood, IL : 8:02 PM ET
That all of us can read this blog is an indication that we have all been afforded enormous opportunity -- whether because our great grandparents were able to immigrate here or because our parents gave us a leg up or because we got a decent public school education. All of us are blessed to be here in America -- most of us because we won the lottery of being born on American soil. So why are we so insistent on denying opportunity to others, most of whom come here poor through no fault of their own? And why, especially when so many immigrants (including illegals) build contribute more than they take?
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Oakland, CA : 8:05 PM ET
"I don't think the Native Americans ok'ed the immigration of the pilgrims. Why are native born people so prone to amnesia about their own origins into America?"

Maybe that's the problem? The "natives" are afraid of history repeating itself.
Posted By Anonymous Christine, Chicago : 8:06 PM ET
Uh, folks. That we have illegal aliens working for cheap wages is *not* a good thing for our economy. What we have is a pool of unskilled labor whose wages are artifically kept at sub-market levels by virtue of what is effectively a government 'program'. That program of course is the calculated manner in which our borders are not controlled.

Also, bear in mind that most illegals are not immigrants, rather they are illegal aliens. Most (80% or more) are here to work and get money to send back home or take back home with them when they return, not to become citizens. As such the pay they receive here is a significantly greater than what they could get in their homeland. Up to fifty times as much. Illegal aliens are, by and large, paid sub-market wages and rarely receive benefits here (not all, but most).

To those of you who believe they take "jobs that Americans won't do", consider this: Say we cut illegal aliens already sub-market pay. Cut it to the point where it is equivalent, in their homeland dollars, to an amount that is sub-market in their homeland. How many would take the jobs here if they paid sub-market homeland equivalent wages? Answer: None.

And you would be every bit as wrong in describing the illegal alien workers who refused to take those jobs as lazy or any of the other terms that are now used to describe American workers. It is about economics, not race, creed, or national origin.

That is the situation American workers are facing due to the artificially sub-market wages caused by the large supply of labor that is willing and able to accept sub-market wages. For instance, in 1980 dollars meat packing jobs used to pay $19 per hour now pay $9.

As we are a capitalist economy, if the cheap labor pool went away, supply and demand would adjust - and contrary to the propaganda that some mistakenly believe, the world would not end. Businesses would do what they are supposed to in capitalist economy and either pay wages high enough to attract workers, use technology and mechanization to alleviate the labor shortage, or go out of business.

That is supply and demand working at its essence. The economy would adjust, more Americans would be working and receiving wages and benefits based on what the market will support. Some businesses would go under, others would rise up to meet the changing need. That is what our economy is all about. If you don�t believe that, then explain why we are not all working in buggy whip factories today.

As of right now though, employers that hire illegal aliens are receiving unfair advantages through what is effectively a government 'program' to provide them with a labor pool whose sub-market wages are artificially maintained and not subject to the same wage and benefit pressures as other labor pools in the bigger economy.

Left alone our economy would adjust and if there is enough demand for products and services in those areas that were once subsidized by our government's deliberate inaction on illegal immigration, those segments of the economy will thrive, if demand is not high enough to support those segments they will go away.

And that is exactly how it should be.
Posted By Anonymous Dr. Dean, Sacramento, CA : 9:11 PM ET
to Chris from Okla: Excellent that you are focusing on solutions. I guess we should all be together on this and say: OK, we have a problem - now let's come up with financial incentives to help the Mexicans rebuild their homeland economy so that there aren't so desperate for our benevolency. Pres. Fox seems to just want to export his poorest so that he and his elite can live high on the hog, and that's wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago IL : 9:29 PM ET
I totally reject the notion that race is a factor in this issue. Illegal aliens broke the law to get here, broke the law to get a driver's license, if they have one, and broke more laws to get a social security number. They have demonstrated that they are, as a group, liars.
Posted By Anonymous Phil, Lorton, VA : 7:00 AM ET
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