I read with great interest Gene Stanton’s editorial on March 17, “The vast majority of immigrants should be made welcome to our shores.” I agree with several of his premises, mainly that we are, in fact, from our origins, a nation made up of people who immigrated here from many foreign shores. And yes, many of the immigrants come here for the same reasons today as they did nearly 400 years ago: freedom, safety, opportunity.
His final paragraph was especially well-written. I commend him.
Unfortunately, Mr. Stanton’s broad generalizations ignored or hid several troubling facts that should give all of us pause.
First, a number of immigrants who come here nowadays have no intention of assimilating into the American texture, unlike the original immigrants he celebrates in the article. In fact, large numbers of modern immigrants loudly proclaim that they will not learn or honor our language, our flag, our laws. I see this every day in the high school where I teach, and I hear it in stores, on the sidewalks, in theaters.
Second, far too many immigrants take jobs with employers who do not require them to pay taxes and often get the benefit of food stamps, free school tutoring, driver’s licenses, reduced or subsidized housing, and other benefits without paying. This increases the burden on law-abiding citizens to compensate for these free tokens.
Worse, some of Mr. Stanton’s arguments also do not pass the smell test. To address a few: that the Republicans in Congress refuse to work on immigration; that they are slaves to rich donors; that they fear the mass of immigrants will become Democrats. Such ad hominem attacks and broad generalities vitiate many of his article’s serious points.
Finally, I was troubled by Mr. Stanton’s blithe shrug of “Oh well” at the fact of immigrants here illegally — in fact, he champions and welcomes them, at one point saying even those who “broke laws” should be seen as “heroes.” If he was referring to such actions as Rosa Parks or Cesar Chavez standing up against an unjust law, then we would all concur. But he gives us noble words like “hero” without any examples. It is true that we cannot and should not summarily remove all 18 million illegals. Those that have abided by our laws and become tax-paying residents should not fear deportation. But those who are undocumented and are making no attempt to become legal citizens have no reason to expect to stay here, nor should they be allowed to. For those who say “Oh, no, let them stay, regardless,” then why don’t you sponsor them?