Opinion

Immigration: America’s green card

As America debates and protests the many serious issues facing the country, the most talked about is immigration.

Whether you are a right-winger or a lefty; American-born or foreign-born; a born-again believer or an atheist; a Democrat or a Republican — immigration is not America’s thorn. The biggest enemy of the United States is itself.

In this article there will be no use of the word “alien” to refer to human beings that may be in our country as undocumented individuals or migrants. Whether they be Europeans, Asians, African or Latinos, they do not resemble E.T. or any space creature. Remember, there are two sides to the coin; if there are illegal aliens, then there must be legal demon/monster looking aliens!

Paradoxical humor: By the 1850s, the Anglo population represented more than 72 percent of Texans. This “white” Anglo people reversed the definition of “illegal aliens.” It was this term that was used back then and used today in reference to Mexicans — funny how they made our ancestors illegal in their own homeland. Wow, the power of definition is awesome.

How often do we hear that “illegals” are ruining our country and that they should go back to their countries? Usually the reference is toward Latinos, whether they are U.S.-born citizens or undocumented, thus creating profiling attitudes and behaviors. The state’s Hispanic population is estimated at more than 600,000 and Hispanics constitute almost 10 percent of the state’s estimated 6.3 million residents.

Let me assure you, we are here to stay.

The truth about immigration is that it is all about going green. I mean greedy green as in dollar signs, moola, dinero or whatever you call it. The debates over the issues of immigration will never be resolved for three reasons:

1. It’s a man-created issue.

2. People will always be selfish and greedy.

3. America will always be one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Oscar Wilde once said: “A cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

America has fallen in love with the Wii and is forgetting to instill the values of loving thy neighbor as thyself. We talk about the “Golden Rule” and about the “Good Samaritan,” but we forget that it has been the immigrants and, yes, the undocumented workers that have provided the golden lifestyle that we enjoy in America.

Many of you today are who you are because of that non-English speaking nanny that wiped your snot and taught you the values of life. Some today enjoy a clean bedroom and clean clothes because of that undocumented maid that does your chores at a price far less than the weekly fancy coffee you drink. Young men today don’t know how to do yard work because you’d rather pay a migrant worker less than the fees for the 18 holes of golf you enjoy. Oh by the way, those nice fairways and gorgeous looking greens? Yup, most likely a Latino manicures them for your pleasure. All you Jenny Craigers and Weight Watchers that enjoy healthy salads, fruits and vegetables? Thank the migrant workers.

The late Cesar Chavez, United Farm Workers of America and AFL-CIO founder, said in his address on March 1989 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma: “We look at the price, but we don’t look at the value. Economics and profit drive everything. People forget that the soil is our sustenance. It is a sacred trust.”

In 2005, I had the privilege of greeting and shaking hands with the president of our country for the second time, and let me tell you that I am proud to say that I am an American of Latino roots. But even more impacting was the visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. As the exchange of the guards took place, my emotions were high as I thought of the thousands of solders represented by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That means all colors, gender, races and whether migrant or not. Our U.S. history tells us of the hundreds of migrants that have fought for our freedom. There was no protest and debates when Francisco was fighting alongside Johnny Smith. Thousands of Latinos have crossed the border to join the U.S. Armed Forces.? As recently as the Persian Gulf War, and now the war in Iraq, Latinos have flooded American consulates with phone calls, trying to join up and fight another war for America.

I have always dreamed of living in a great place. Some say Hawaii, the Virgin Islands or similar locations are the ideal place to live, but I found the right spot: My neighborhood! I live in a cul-de-sac setting surrounded by neighbors that represent the essence of the word immigrant. They are Koreans, Filipinos, Caucasians (white) and Latino. Perhaps they should name my street “Immigrant Lane.”

So the debates and the exchanges of bitter words continue, people of all nations will continue to come to America. We may never bring a solution that appeases everyone, but as the word immigration has two letter M’s in its spelling, perhaps it is a self-prophetic message. That it will always be, as we say in the “brown side of town,” the same old M&M.

As long as people are more concerned about the almighty dollar, loving thy neighbor will always be the last resort. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer!

Tito Hinojos is a Federal Way resident. Send comments to editor@fedwaymirror.com.

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