Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Got Mine - There's Not Enough For You...

An article in the Morning News this week described the plight of two recent college graduates who are unable to legally work in the U.S. because their parents brought them across the border as infants without going through the legal immigration process. The families have been hard-working, productive members of their respective communities for twenty years. This is the only home these two girls have ever known. They have excelled in the classroom and been model student/citizens all the way from kindergarten through graduation from college. Both have teaching degrees in subject areas that are in high demand, but neither are eligible to be hired by any public school system.

Since the article ran, there have been numerous letters to the editor, almost all with a similar theme - let them go back to their own country and teach. There is a profound scarcity mentality reflected in most comments; that there is not enough America to share, and that as more immigrants come there less there is for us. The prevailing sentiment seems to be 'we got here first, we get to make the rules.'

I don't begin to claim to be able to understand, much less propose a solution for all of the issues involved with immigration and protecting our borders, but most of what I read in these letters has very little to do with those real issues and very much to do with not wanting to provide a fair opportunity to those who are different. I don't see anything that resembles these words, found at the base of the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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