Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Today's cover of the Redeye (the Tribune's idiot version for Trixies and Dudes) had this picture of Nancy Vega. Obviously this is the face of a criminal. Thank God for all of the brave legislators who are working hard to criminalize being undocumented.

Yesterday somewhere between 400,000 and 700,000 people marched in Chicago. Whether they marched for "immigrants rights" or "respect" or to remind people that they are here and are a vital part of our society, they marched. Chicago had the biggest march in country, with another 300,000 in Los Angeles. In Chicago reports are that Poles, Irish and other people, in addition to people from all over the Western Hemisphere marched. Our Cardinal, who doesn't do as much right as his predecessor did, spoke at the rally at the end of the march. Old St. Pat's, an entry church for the Irish in Chicago hung this sign:

(Susan M. Richter, Photographer)

So, my take on this? People who want to criminalize being undocumented and providing humanitarian services to undocumented people are not proposing a morally sound solution to our immigration issues. People should not be rewarded for breaking American law. That does not mean their kids should not be educated and that they should not be able to receive social services from groups like the Church. Even as we discuss guest worker programs, and trying to improve the quality of life in countries that are net exporters of labor, we also need to acknowledge that undocumented people provide backbone services in our society, are generally not criminals (other than their undocumented status), in many cases pay taxes, and have generally come to America for the exact same reasons as our immigrant forebearers.

In the late 18th century people like Benjamin Franklin were concerned about the "swarthy" Germans who were overrunning Pennsylvania. They were not American in their outlook, spoke a different language, and were largely (gasp) Papists. It all sounds too familiar for me to be anything but welcoming to the next great infusion of energy into the American Experiment. The Latin, central/east European, African, Asian, and Caribbean immigrants we are blessed with today will change this country, and in many ways strengthen it. Just because some of them are undocumented is not reason to be anything but grateful that people still want to come to America and make a better life and a better country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what the lines were like at Pollo Campero on the day of the rally...

8:09 AM  

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