Monday, November 27, 2006

Weekly Podium: "How Dare You!?"

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, kids, it's story time.

This story begins not too long ago (1971), and not so far away ( Newark , New Jersey ...the “armpit of the nation”). It is here where the seeds of my existence were borne. No, not my conception, but the arrival of my mother into this country. She was a 16-year-old born and raised in a small farming town outside of Vitoria , Brazil.

Along with her parents, my grandparents, they moved to this country with all of the hopes and dreams of millions of immigrants before them. They were looking to improve their lives in a land of opportunity.

My mother was not without responsibility. She went to high school during the day, and worked 12 hours a night as an in-house nurse for sick and elderly patients who needed 24/7 care. My grandmother worked the day shift, and would be relieved by my mother in the evenings. One would think that my mother made pretty decent wages for a high school student, considering all of the work that she was doing during this time. However, she did not see a cent of her money, as it was all sent back to Brazil for her 2 brothers and 1 sister to attend colleges there (a common trait among immigrants).

Did I mention that when she moved to this country, she did not speak a word of English? This was before the days of "ESL"(English as a Second Language) classes. In fact, during her first day of school, her English teacher said to her, "you will only speak English in my class". So did my mother go and protest this to the Principal? Did she claim racial inequality and cry out that the school was not catering to her needs as an individual by making her learn English?
No, she taught herself how to speak English. Her reasoning was simple, English was the language spoken in the United States , so she should learn how to speak the language.

Novel concept, eh?

Nonetheless, through dedication and hard work, my mother not only learned the language, but earned her High School diploma. By the late 1970's/early 1980's, she dated and married my father, and was studying to become a nurse. Unfortunately for my mother career-wise, she had a child (whose article you are reading now), and decided to be a stay-at-home mother during my formative years. After a few years, my mother decided to begin a business baking wedding cakes, so she contracted with Hotels and local catering businesses, and ran a fairly successful business in-and-around the Washington , D.C. metropolitan area.

After moving to Pennsylvania in the early 90’s, she sold all of her equipment, and went back to school. After obtaining a Bachelor's in Fine Arts/Photography from Shepherd College (she graduated Magna Cum Laude) in 1997, my mother decided she needed a better degree to obtain a more stable career. She enrolled at James Madison University , obtaining a second Bachelor's in Education (graduating Summa Cum Laude). She has completed a Masters degree in Curriculum Development and is soon to finish her Master’s in Counseling.

You may be thinking, "that's a nice story, but is there a point to this?" To answer your thoughts, there is.

Many liberals, and a few moderate conservatives, want to grant immediate legal status to illegal immigrants. Their reasons are varied. Some believe it would stop the endless cycle of deporting illegal immigrants, just to have them come across the border again, get deported again, re-immigrate, and repeat this cycle over and over.

The other, and most laughable one, espouses the mantra that we "were all immigrants once". Yes, but I'd venture to say that over 90% of legal residents of the United States have ancestors who legally immigrated into this country. Even during the colonial period, there was a process in which you had to go through in order to come to America , although sometimes it involved being a criminal or being sent to debtor's prison. Think about what you learned in History class about Ellis Island . That was the legal way of immigrating into America.

Needless to say, to legalize the illegal immigrants is tantamount to taking the proud heritage of millions of American families, including mine, and spitting on it. The fact that people took the harder road, waited their turn, and came to this country in a legal, lawful way becomes worthless.

In fact, since beating your wife with a stick thinner than your thumb was once legal, let's make it legal again! Does THAT statement put it all into perspective for you?

Getting back to my family, let me provide another great example of American immigration policies. My uncle Carlos, who is a practicing urologist in Brazil and owns several homes in the country, tried to come to the United States to visit his mother and father and was denied entry because “he was liable not to return home because his profession would allow him to be successful here and he might disappear into the country.”

So, using similar logic, we legalize those who simply jumped the border into the United States …yet, we prevent those who are successful from visiting relatives from setting foot on American soil. Makes absolutely perfect sense, doesn’t it? I mean, there can’t be any flaws within THAT line of thinking, is there?

Also, it is the liberal institution known as the American educational system that insists that we spend our hard-earned tax dollars to quietly imply that immigrants are stupid and worthless.
Example, why are many school systems in our country allowing high school students who barely speak English (but whose first language is Spanish) taking the same entry level Spanish classes as American students? First-year Spanish to a 16-year-old native speaker is like sending a 16-year-old American-born student to 3rd grade to study English.

So, in essence, the "educators" believe that 16-year-old Spanish-speaking immigrants have the intellectual capability of a 3rd grader. Plus, they're making it that much easier for the Spanish-speaking students to get a diploma, because they're making them learn the simple aspects of a language that they've already mastered! It's like saying "well, since you're not smart enough to get this diploma on your own, so we'll make it easier for you."

So now, the liberals not only believe that it's ok to spit upon the heritage of most American families, but that most immigrants and their children are less intellectually capable than American-born students.

I believe that changes do need to be made. The change that needs to be made is a reversion to enforcing our domestic policies no matter how other countries feel about them. Do not let Mexico or any other country make us feel we are hurting them with our policies. We already are giving them jobs their own economies can’t create. If they desire to work here then they must compete legally for entry, just like my ancestors did. Any change to that changes who and what we are.

So to those who think we should simply assign legal status who took the easy way in, I say, “How dare you spit upon my heritage? Shame on you for attempting to devalue my ancestry, my intelligence, and everything else that makes me what I am…a damn proud American.”