Pete Borden is WRONG painting with broad brush against all immigrantsby President of Somos A. Bustos on Jun. 30, 2011, under Increased Hate Crimes against Latinos
By Omar Fernandez
I suppose one way of getting around facts in a newspaper article is to write an Op-Ed piece full of generalities and misinformation like Pete Borden did on June 29th. Case in point is his response to the opening salvo paragraph, where he paints all immigrants in California with the same brush and refers to their motives as a sinister plot to take over the state; as if some payback for the U.S. taking their land after the US-Mexican War in 1848, or something even more nefarious. We do not know what he is really saying because, again he speaks in generalities when he writes, “Does it sound like the cries of ordinary, working-class people trying to improve life for their families, or is it the battle cry of an organized effort to take something that belongs to someone else? “. To make the kind of leap where he suggests that all immigrants are NOT working-class people, but thieves is tantamount to someone saying all “rednecks” are bigots because some of these idiots are racist. I have friends that consider themselves “rednecks”, but would be appalled if someone thought of them as racist, which they clearly are not.
Essentially the premise of the article is that all illegal immigrants are thieves and their sole purpose is to take over our country for their own. I would agree with part of this premise as a byproduct of immigrant parents (Cuban) – immigrants (legal or illegal) want this country to be their own. Few countries offer the endless opportunities that the United States offers. You can start your own business, publish a best-selling novel, or be elected to office. People in other countries crave the same things we do: recognition, wealth, fame, and the feeling of making a difference. America offers limitless ways for a “nobody” to become great. Many countries of the world limit educational opportunities, stifle entrepreneurship, and prevent individuals from reaping the rewards of their hard work. Consequently, such individuals often come to America. In fact, our nation was founded by English and other European citizens that risked their lives to sail across the ocean to an unknown future. America can’t help but become better from the influence of such people.
The invasion of foreign “thieves” as Mr. Borden refers to the illegal immigrants that are “systematically depriving United States citizens of their rights, their jobs, their social services and their economy” is completely without substantive facts. How exactly are they depriving us of our rights? They are not infringing on my right or yours to assemble or free speech or any other of our rights to my knowledge. They are not stealing my job or any of my friends or family’s jobs. They could if they had a college degree, the skills and experience necessary to do our jobs – but anyone with these traits could. Fact is many of them are doing manual labor jobs that Americans simply do not want. I know most bigots response to the previous statement is that Americans want those jobs, but not at those pay rates. Do you not think that they would prefer higher pay – who doesn’t? Have you not thought that they are being taken advantage of because as “illegal’s” they have NO rights? What would you do to feed your family? I do not know about you Mr. Borden, but I would work as many jobs doing whatever I could do to feed my family. Many start businesses and hire Americans. Ever been to one of the Atlanta area’s 15 La Parilla Restaurants in Georgia? Many servers are American. So please enlighten me Mr. Borden how they are depriving me of my rights or my job or my social services and our economy. According to the Cato Institute, immigration makes the economy more effective and does not increase the unemployment rate. Also, immigrants are not heavy users of welfare. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for welfare, nor are legal immigrants with less than five years as permanent residents eligible in many states. Numerous audits show undocumented immigrants are not receiving welfare benefits. In fact, in their countries immigrants have to pay for most healthcare services in cash, which they end up doing here in the United States in clinics that cater to their needs.
There has always been and will always be immigrants willing to weather hardship to come to America in search of better opportunity. What’s more, Americans need the benefits these immigrants provide, unless we want to be importing food and exporting jobs. What we need is comprehensive immigration reform that is not either/or, but both/and.
And you are right Mr. Borden, illegal is an adjective, but can also be a noun – just like xenophobia.
Omar Fernandez is the Georgia SOMOS REPUBLICANS State Director.