Illegal immigrants: God’s gift to America

By Jane Stillwater

http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-post.html

You see them all over America, standing in front of big-box hardware stores looking for work or selling oranges on the corner or doing our dishes in the kitchens of fancy restaurants or fixing our roofs or making our beds or raising our children.

Thank God for illegal immigrants!

“But Jane,” you might say, “those people are stealing our jobs!”  Yeah right.  Jobs we don’t want.  We’re talking about diligent workers who are more than willing to perform the sh*t-work jobs that nobody else wants at a pay rate that no one else in America would ever consider accepting.

I’m currently reading Soledad O’Brien’s new book, “The Next Big Story,” wherein she states that while researching her documentary on Latinos in America, she asked a fairly broad sample of “legal” Americans if they had ever lost their job to an Illegal immigrant.  O’Brien then goes on to say that she had been unable to find even one person who had lost their job to a Latino.  Not even one.  But I digress.

What I really want to discuss here is not what illegal immigrants take away from Americans but rather what it is that they ADD to the American experience.

We are not only blessed but also downright lucky to have these people living and working here — no matter how many exaggerated negative stereotypes Lou Dobbs has dreamed up.

The main ingredient that “illegal” immigrants continue to bring to our American table is one of the most valuable assets that this country has.  When illegal immigrants cross that southern border, they bring hope along with them.  And hope is more than just some political snake oil sold to us during the last presidential election.  Hope is the stuff from which we build our future — and America’s “illegal” immigrants add this one chip to the pot that America so sorely wants and needs right now in these current war-torn and depressive times.

“Illegal” immigrants bring hope with them now, just like ‘illegal” immigrants always have — in the back of their covered wagons, stuffed into their cardboard suitcases and knapsacks and sewed into the hems of their skirts.

I myself am a direct descendant of one of the first waves of “illegal” immigrants that first brought hope to America’s shores — the original native Americans who arrived here over 10,000 years ago.   And they arrived here illegally, trudging stolidly across the frozen land-bridge that is now the Bering Strait.  And these immigrants brought with them two of the greatest sources of hope that we have — democracy and respect for the land.

My great-great-great-grandfather, Chief Ballard, “illegally” immigrated to the Oklahoma territory — after surviving a horrific Trail of Tears.

My great-grandmother, Mary Ballard, married the deputy US marshal at Tahlequah, the one who brought in the outlaw Frank James (Frank’s brother Jesse busted him out of jail the next day but it’s the thought that counts.  My grandmother, Alta Purpus, remembered Frank being handcuffed to her parents’ brass bedstead overnight when she was a girl).

I am also a direct descendant of another wave of “illegal” immigrants — the Puritans who founded Massachusetts and Thomas Hooker who founded Connecticut and James Hooker who fought in the American Revolution.  I think there is also a Tudor family connection back in there somewhere so perhaps all my daughters and granddaughters actually really ARE princesses!

Through the Thompson side of my family, I am related to the next wave of “illegal” immigrants to come over here — African slaves who built the American South with their own hands.

I am also a direct descendant or am tied by marriage or blood to many of America’s 19th-century “illegal” immigrant groups, the Eastern Europeans (through my favorite great-aunt Dixie Cohen), Danes (my grandmother married a Janssen), Germans (my great-great-grandfather was a Purpus, used to be a forester in Bavaria, had a son who was hung as a horse thief in Missouri), Chinese (the Jo family first arrived in California in 1849 and have been here ever since.  Mena Jo Stillwater is a sixth-generation Californian.  There aren’t many other “legal” Californians who can claim that — unless they are Mexican!), and Mexicans too (yep, I’ve got them in my family tree as well — the Lozano and Hernandez families).  But I digress.  Again.

“So what’s your point here, Jane?”  My point is this.  All of us Americans used to be “illegals” at one time — or are descended from illegals.  And thank God for that!

And America’s latest generation of illegals, like all the other generations before them, brings with it a new sense of renewal — and of hope.

So enough of this “illegal” crap!

PS:  Soledad O’Brien also stated that Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants [and also Muslim immigrants and Muslim-Americans too, as far as I can tell] have now taken the place formerly held by African-Americans — as America’s most hated, despised and segregated race.  And she’s right.  That’s just pathetic.

All too many Latinos here [and Muslims too] have been spit upon, not allowed to attend schools, denied the right to buy homes and even lynched — just like in the bad old days of the Klu Klux Klan and Bull Connor.  I marched in Montgomery with Dr. King for nothing?  It looks like I did.

Someone — perhaps a Latina Rosa Parks? — ought to organize a bus boycott here until things change and our newer immigrants, immigrants just like your fathers, get more respect.  Or perhaps we can hold a one-day general strike where every Latino [and Muslim] in America refuses to go to work.  If that were to happen, America would come to a screeching halt, wanna bet?

Plus it’s time for Americans to grow up and stop all this hatin’.  Nothing good has ever come from hate.  It eats at our souls.

PPS:  Where does it say anywhere in our Constitution that it is legal to have an INS?  Did George Washington have an INS?  Were INS agents there to meet the slave ships in Charleston?  What about the Scots who came here after Culladen?  Were they met by the INS too?  And were INS agents hovering around in Alaska when our first Eskimo ancestors finally made it across the Bering Strait?  I think not.

PPPS:  And where did this whole concept of “citizenship” come from anyway?  When did citizen requirements ever become “legal”?  But if I actually am a “legal” citizen of the United States, then why can’t I just appoint others to citizenship as well?  Sort of like “Each one teach one” or like spreading a virus around?

Is catching U.S. citizenship something like catching the flu?

But if you are a so-called “illegal” immigrant in America and you are reading this now, then by the power vested in me as a United States citizen and with the love and mercy of God — who has freely given America a whole  tide of hopeful “illegal” immigrants all down through the centuries as His (or Her) own great gift to us — then I hereby declare and affirm that you too are hereby made LEGAL as well.

Sorry that I don’t have any fancy certificates made up for this occasion — but if any of you new American hopefuls happen to have designed one of your own, I will officially present it to you with great ceremony — and even give you a big hug.  Welcome to America!  Amen!  Achoo.

4 Comments on “Illegal immigrants: God’s gift to America”

  1. While I appreciate your point that we are all of us connected to and decended from ‘illegal immigrants’, your P.P.S. is immaterial to this arguement as most of those occasions happened well before we became the United States of America, and the rest happened at a time when expansion was the order of the day, we needed more people. P.S. there were in fact record keepers taking note of incoming slaves, it’s how African Americans can now trace their ancestry, although a lot of records were lost in the civil war. P.P.S. As a decendant of rebels from Culloden I can tell you they came here under British rule and disappeared into the mountains trying not to call attention to themselves, they would have been hanged. Not so different from today’s ‘illegal immigrants’.

    I believe it was the rush of immigration and the event of Ellis Island that gave rise to the need for a system and ultimately the I.N.S. Nowadays I feel it has most to do with capturing money. Without citizenship we cannot tax, and it is difficult to track federal funding dollars for subsidized programs like hospitals. Do you really think the government is going to let those dollars go easily?

  2. Thanks for bringing this up. Your views are very similar to mine. Immigration MADE and continues to make America. The vast majority of us are immigrants. May we all extract xenophobic thoughts and behaviors from our being and begin to embrace and celebrate the cultural diversity that has made America America.

  3. Immigration laws are some of the most obnoxious to exist. It took me six months for Immigration to declare my children naturalized citizens when i returned to the US with them. Both had been born in Mexico. Most of the visits consisted of waiting with a number in hand for three hours, only to be told there was another piece of documentary evidence they had “forgotten” to tell me about the last time i paid a visit. They finally received their citizenship papers after my brother, who had accompanied me each time, exploded in the waiting room, “my sister was born here. She has her birth certificate. She has the certificates of her children. What more does it take to prove her children are US citizens?” After paying one hundred twenty dollars for the service processing, they then received their citizenship papers rather quickly.

    One thing people who have never used immigration services don’t realize is that immigration keeps a quota on the number of people from each country who apply for citizenship. The quota is filled according to who would make a more “desirable” citizen. It’s far easier for someone from a Western country who is of white descent to become a citizen than a Hispanic person. It is easier for someone who has proved good business strategies in his/her own country (i.e., people of wealth) to become a citizen than someone who came here on a prayer and a hope. It is easier for the educated than the semi-literate. “Huddled masses”, my ass. It’s all about the money.

    One thing my experience taught the local observers was that declaring Alaska its own country might be enormously advantageous in screening people who apply for citizenship. We’ve long chaffed over the number of carpet baggers, get rich quick schemers, and bleeding heart nannies from the lower forty-eight, who decided this was their state now and they were going to shape the politics to suit their own agenda. They had absolutely no concern for our fishermen, our remote villages or subsistence life styles; a primary part of our culture. The locals felt it would be wonderful if we could screen US applicants and tell them, “sorry, our quota has been filled for this year”, or “we don’t feel your citizenship would be desirable”.

    America is creating an extremely hostile climate for Asians, Muslims and Hispanics. They sit in their exclusive, white dominated colonies and believe the evidence in front of their eyes; that they are the larger number when in fact, white is the smallest minority on earth. Brown people dominate the global statistics. How long do they really think their gated communities will last as long as they openly invoke hostilities against people of color? How well do they think their Christian religion will survive against five million Muslim foot soldiers? These discriminatory laws are last ditch efforts by a flawed society that believed in Colonial Manifest Destiny. White is out. The new color is Rainbow.

  4. You’ve got to be out of your mind. All the immigrants may take shit jobs, but then they come home and shit up their neighborhoods. Running their music until ungodly hours of the morning. Letting 4 year olds outside to “watch” their baby brothers and sisters. Leaving garbage all over the place. Using cocaine. Drinking in public. Pissing in public places when there are bathrooms 50 ft away. Don’t give me that shit. They are destroying what used to be America and now is bilingual America. Let’s cater to these people. No! Don’t worry about learning English. We’ll learn your language instead cause we wouldn’t want you to feel alienated. I can’t even communicate with any neighbors cause the ones that DO know some English pretend like they don’t. Sorry. No speak Engles. No English? Then go HOME.
    That’s all. Just needed to let you know your site sucks. Screw illegals! Go back where you came from.

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