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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Day Without Illegal Aliens - Herndon, VA

Yesterday, I was traveling to my client site when I saw some folks standing on a corner of a major intersection obviously participating in the May 1st immigration demonstrations.

Out of the seventy-five odd people who were on the corner barking at cars stopped at the lights, I counted five flags from Mexico, three flags from Bolivia, two flags from Columbia and one flag from Panama. There was one Che Guevara shirt. There were also three US Flags in this group. Also, I saw signs that read:

'Protest Today - Vote Tomorrow'
'I Am Not A Felon' (which a child was holding)
'Immigrant Today - Citizen Now'
'Mi Raza - La Futura' (My Race - The Future)

The last one got me thinking. I read somewhere back in the 80s that the census folks estimated that by the year 2020, three out of every ten people in the US will speak Spanish as their first language. Now when I read this back then, I never thought about illegal immigrants as part of that number. And I don’t think the census folks factored in a percentage of people who were illegal in the total estimate to claim such a number as three out of ten.

Back then, I only thought about how Central and South Americans reproduce. Back then, I thought that this population is nearly 100% Catholic, family oriented, hard working and willing to become citizens. Why not invite them here, get them in the process, get them naturalized, make them citizens, get them on payrolls to pay taxes.

Now I am not so sure. After seeing the demonstrations over the last several weeks, and listening to the backlash from immigrants who have followed the rules and have become legal residents and citizens, my thinking is changing.

I foresee a backlash in the Hispanic community for those that have come here legally versus those that are here illegally demanding rights. I already see it in my family. My wife's family is Cuban. As many of my wife's relatives and her parents that were allowed escaped Cuba and came to the US through Spain in 1961. Within a month of arriving here through sponsorship, the process of patriation began. And within five years, both parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were citizens. My wife's parents were taught conversational English in Batista schools and college and were able to assimilate much easier. However, the grandparents and the rest learned English once they arrived. All were employed only after they got work permits and all worked until retirement age.

You see the differences here? These people arrived legally, processed themselves according to existing laws, patriated as legal residents and earned the right to become citizens.

How many people holding flags from other countries in Herndon, VA on May 1st want to go through the same process legally?

Vivos Inmigrantes Legales De Largo

In 1957 and again in 1960 our family "stood up" for two immigrant families from Italy and Lithuania. Our family had sponsored these two families for 7 years. By the time they held up their hands to swear allegiance to the flag, the country and the consitution of the US, these immigrant families spoke a marvelous, melodious form of English they speak to this day. They also revert to their mother tongues at family reunions where the 80-90 year olds are still present.

Our family benefited as much from the experience as the immigrants. Of this, Poldark Maximus is cerain. It remains with him to this day -- working with childhood friends on their LONG, REWARDING JOURNEY to the ultimate prize; US Citizenship. More valuable than gold. Pricless. They are successful Americans today with citizen children of their own. And now grandkids. But they ALL know the familiy stories of learning the roll-call of presidents, the Bill of Rights, the dates, places and people germane to American history and the American way of life.

Is what we now see today on our street corners supposed to be somehow more valuable than that? What are we missing here? PM
I don't think we are missing anything.

You know what all this noise has made me do? If I now see anyone from Central and South America, I ask myslef if they are legal or illegal. I did not do that before. And I live in a state where there are tons of illegal workers. I just never thought about it. Really. The ones I see at Home Depots and temp work places are looking for work. I don't have an issue with anyone working because I assumed these folks are going to become legal.

Now with all the crap over the last several months, I don't see these people as looking to become legal by laws that exist. I see anyone who protests are expecting rights they don't have.

And I think the protests on May 1 were a failure...there were not tens of millions in the streets. Best estimates have it a 1 million nation wide who took to the streets. So where were the other ten million? Probably working or at home!
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