Wednesday, March 29, 2006

'La Raza' is about family values

Perhaps you've asked yourself this question recently:

"Why are there thousands of Mexican teenagers blocking the road to my work?"

The answer is basic: U.S. Congress is considering a new federal law that would make it illegal to be illegal on American soil.

Sounds fair, right? We are a nation of laws. It's what seperates us from other countries, what allows us to celebrate diversity -- because our laws have been shown to be fair and just in spite of our own attempts to undo them.

Think about this: You're 14 and your mother jumped the border so you could be born in America for immediate citizenship. You've never known another life outside of cable TV and relative comfort. Your English is as fluent as any other American teenager, but you speak just enough informal Spanish to get you arrested in Tijuana.

You're safe from this law because you are a citizen, but su madre, su tia, y su hermano are all illegals who are supporting your existence. Under the new law, you're as good as illegal, because your entire support system will be deported as soon as the school system reports you.

Now, I'm not a fool and I still believe in the law. The mother who jumped the border did nothing but flaunt the law with a loophole. While it may not seem fair, it is not unfair to return the 14-year-old American with her illegal families to her country's origin.

It's just not practical. And it's why I support amnesty over mass deportation. I just don't know how to fully justify it knowing what I know: Illegals move here and create generations of legals whose allegiance is to Mexico. I am not at all threatened by Mexican culture, but I want my fellow Americans to be as defensive of our laws, our values, our preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be as important to the naturalized as well as those who have a birthright.

I covered sports in a farming community in northern California for about 8 mos. The population there is overwhelmingly immigrant farmers, most of them illegal, and their kids were the athletes I spent a lot of time with.

There was one girl, a good athlete, student-body representative, and decent student, whom I had the opportunity to have a lengthy casual conversation with before a game. She wasn't going to college because she was "Mexican, not American." She intended to live here, but felt no obligation to live here legally. In fact, she was rather hostile to the notion of becoming American. Why? I suspect her family was more than hostile of her becoming encultured in this country, though they failed miserably in preventing her from doing that. Where they did succeed was giving her a political philosophy that is in contradiction with her social status and welfare.

I don't know how to make this right. We've failed to properly enforce our citizenship laws for so long, we've created entire subcultures who have a good argument to remain without going through the required citizenship classes to understand why this country is so worthwhile to live here.

Fix it? It's too late to fix it. The best we could do is salvage what's left.

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