As the national debate regarding immigration reform continues, I find the essay in the July 2006 edition of Texas Monthly by Immigrant X as told to John Spong, "My Life As An Illegal," extremely insightful.
In the past few weeks I have noticed that discussion of issues related to the nation's "war on terror" seem to be washing over into the debate about immigration reform.
I can see how securing the borders is an important objective as we consider enemies who seek to harm us. But the 11-12 million undocumented residents of the United States, mostly from Mexico and other points south of our border, present no such national security threat. Most have been in the states for years, some decades. The vast majority make positive contributions to their communities every day.
The story told by Immigrant X provides a helpful, very human, day-by-day glimpse into the world, dreams and motivations of hard working Mexican nationals.
As I read his story, several things stood out for me.
1) Immigrants from Mexico are in the U. S. in large part because of the ease with which the system made accommodations allowing millions to come and to stay. Regardless of what immigration law says, the way the system has been working encouraged the influx.
2) Immigrant X pays taxes. He uses a fake Social Security number and a Taxpayer Identification Number assigned him by the IRS that is legitimate. He is very careful to pay all that he owes.
3) Immigrant X is in the U. S. seeking exactly what all of us want for our families.
4) Immigrant X's goal is citizenship, even if he has to wait for years to receive it.
5) Immigrant X is constant in his focus on"doing everything right" (a phrase he used over and over again) as a resident of this country.
Pick up a copy of Texas Monthly or visit the on-line site at http://www.texasmonthly.com/. No matter what you think about the current debate, the article will give you a very human and intimate perspective on the issue.
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Larry James' Urban Daily
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