It is reported this morning that one of every eight babies born in the USA in 2008 was born to an illegal or undocumented or unauthorized immigrant and that about seven percent of US residents under 18 are children of such persons.
My first encounter with hard-working folks from south of the border making real sacrifices to earn livings in the United States was in 2000 when we were building a new home in Blythewood, SC. The masons, employees of some sub-contractor, were all Spanish speaking and worked daylight till dark mixing mortar and carrying and laying bricks. I have no idea whether they were legal or not. I tried to carry on a conversation with their foreman one day, but all my comments elicited nothing more than a string of well-pronounced English “Yes’s.” Finally, another guy on the crew said, “He doesn’t speak English and doesn’t know what you are saying.” A future neighbor told me that, in at least one case, they built a fire and camped overnight on our lot. They did a very nice job with the brick laying.
I know there are some smugglers and thieves and murderers and drug runners and human traffickers and other scum crossing the border, but most illegal immigrants are hard-working, disciplined, desperate, ambitious, and willing to take risks to provide for their families. Bottom line is that they are good stock from which future generations of Americans will come, regardless of what we do, and that we need to get the immigration under control and make sure we sort out the crooks from the workers and put all the workers on the tax rolls and teach them, or at least their children, to speak English.
Conventional wisdom is that the Democrats see immigrants from south of the border as the next big wave of government dependents and Democratic candidate supporters. That is clear from the racist comment Senator Harry Reid made this week (“I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay. Do I need to say more?”). We need to try to make sure that does not happen and that these ambitious risk-taking Hispanics and their voting descendants are allowed to work and earn livings and pay their share of taxes and are not herded together and encouraged to line up for government handouts.
A perfect example of what we do not want and what is terrible for The United States is the spectacle created this week in Atlanta when the doors were opened, after a long dry spell, for people to apply for government subsidized housing, and a mob of 30,000 showed up. There is no good reason people should not be able to apply for such assistance anytime the office doors are open, in privacy and with some semblance of personal dignity, so announcing an opening-day hysteria-generating opportunity such as this is nothing more than a highly visible, completely dehumanizing, government-sponsored ritual, insulting to Americans who are being systematically trained to line up for a wide range of government handouts. The local government housing folks, after this debacle, are promising future process improvements.
Let’s do better for the new immigrants. The first generations will never be fluent in English, but their children will and they will be a significant part of our future. Take their names, DNA, and fingerprints, put them on the tax rolls, free them up, and let them work. It’s what they want, and it is what we need.