Feature image by Shepard Fairey

My mother is an American woman, a Tejana. Her husband was Mexican. They married, had children, including me, and then divorced. My step-dad is Italian and a Vietnam veteran who served his country. In my front window, all my neighbors can see an American flag. I was raised Catholic, but I don’t blindly love all my neighbors. I believe in turning the other cheek, but I won’t turn a blind eye. I’ve learned that in order to be a good person you don’t have to follow a certain set of rules, you merely should decide for yourself the difference between what’s right and what’s not. Then the immigration law went into effect.You don’t have to be morally superior to know in your heart that it’s wrong. You just need a conscience.

I thought my level of disgust over the recent Arizona immigration law was subsiding, but it was apparent after I shouted a few choice words at the TV this morning that it hadn’t. Crime doesn’t correlate to immigrants–it correlates to social dysfunction. Society has been in disarray for some time, but for whatever reason, lately, the illegal immigrants are the scapegoats for most of what is wrong in the land of Oz, I mean, America. Looks can be deceiving, but if you ask around in your family, I’m sure you’re bound to stumble across some illegal bloodlines. So, I ask you, where would you be had they never migrated? Do you feel you deserve to stay here? I thought I knew what my position was on immigration. To some degree, I still feel I have a strong sense of where I stand; I believe natural-born citizens should be entitled to some benefits before any other individual. I believe in migrating but disagree with illegal immigration. Most importantly, I absolutely disagree with the inhumane treatment or targeting of certain ethnic races and laws proposed to rescind civil rights, based solely on immigration status for otherwise law-abiding persons. However, I would be ignorant to say “Send them all back!” So now, I’m choosing to be morally as well as socially sensible. I think there can be a better solution to the economic downfall; people just aren’t seeking the common-sense solutions.

For starters, there are over a billion dollars in damage in Tennessee at the moment. Do you really think anyone is going to turn away a skilled laborer willing to help rebuild their home because of his immigration status? I highly doubt it. I am no longer an American buying into the “they stole our jobs” line because I’ve done the research, and they haven’t. An illegal immigrant couldn’t do the marketing job I once did, which sometimes required assisting local law enforcement and other officials. I was able to be efficient at what I did because I was comfortable doing my job and never worked in fear of being deported.

A few years back the government was willing to provide illegal immigrants citizenship to fight an overseas war. The U.S. was in such need of military enlistment that it offered citizenship as part of the benefits package–all soldiers had to do was survive. Many died, so they never claimed citizenship, and their undocumented families were sent back to their country. In my opinion, that is as unpatriotic as desecrating the American flag. If the government was willing to grant citizenship to immigrants fighting a war overseas, then why can’t they find a happy medium today? A common-sense solution to modern-day catastrophes: grant citizenship to those willing to come out of hiding and rebuild America. America is in a state of ruin. In the last 6 years alone, an estimated $210 billion dollars worth of natural disaster damage occurred across 15 U.S. states. Over $1 TRILLION dollars has been allocated to overseas wars. Over $200 billion dollars has already been appropriated for wars for 2010. Rather than put aside the money to fight an overseas war, our government should use it to put Americans back to work. If all America’s business owners were hiring and paying Americans wages, instead of seeking cheaper alternatives, than the fear of illegal immigrants taking those jobs would be irrational. However, the exploitation of illegal immigrants has been second-nature for over a century. If accountability is to begin somewhere, it should begin with those exploiting the undocumented workers.

The land of the brave is in despair. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to wait until we have nothing left to fight for? We can’t realistically send away millions of people, disband families and believe our “problems” will be solved. Don’t you think it may potentially put our great nation in the line of fire? Think about it: if immigrants are risking everything to come to America, a land they feel has everything they need to live a prosperous life, don’t you think these same people wouldn’t fight to the death to save her? We may very well be sending away millions of people that can be part of America’s homeland defense. They have stepped up to defend her before, who’s to say they won’t do it again? America’s history includes times when Native American Indians and African-Americans helped win wars fought here on American soil. Many credited the fact that without them, defeat would have been inevitable. Were these people not slaves? If it wasn’t for trusting their beliefs and hoping for a promising future for generations to come, we would all be SOL. Would we even be arguing about immigration? Perhaps, there would be no America.

I was taught, “Make do with what you have.” This once beautiful land was mostly open fields and plains. It became the strongest nation in the world with the blood, sweat and hard work of immigrants. You may not like the past, but you can’t rewrite it–not that part at least. It is what it is. America isn’t deteriorating because there is an abundance of people or lack of money; it’s collapsing because people aren’t using common-sense and seem to lack compassion. Politicians are speaking for billions, flaunting their credentials and making empty promises of reform. Are you one of those billions? I know, I’m not.

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