Freedom Folks

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Illegal Immigration: It's a Two-Word Phrase, Folks

I am 100% against illegal immigration, which is one of the reasons I attended The Chicago Minuteman Project's America First: Summit on National Security in Arlington Heights yesterday. I arrived to find protesters already gathering to protest my attendance. They think that I am a racist because I believe that people who come into the country illegally should be stopped, and that those who manage to make it in should be kicked the hell out. I've talked to others who agree -- whether or not they had the cojones to say it to my face, they've made it clear.

I don't think they are listening to or hearing what I say. So I'm going to keep saying it, over and over again, until they get it. I AM 100% AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. You may notice that the phrase "illegal immigration" has two words. People seem to have no difficulty hearing or understanding the "immigration" part, it's the "illegal" that seems to mysteriously vanish somewhere between my lips and their ears.

Let me spelling bee it for you: Illegal. I-L-L-E-G-A-L. Illegal.

Let me define it for you...dictionary.com even helps me out with their usage example:

1. Prohibited by law.
An illegal immigrant.

Let me say it again: Illegal. Illegal. Illegal.

There is a reason why we need this word to distinguish from the word "immigrant" on its own: THEY MEAN TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

My father was an immigrant. He came to this country at the age of 19. He lived here for several years, during which time he married my mom, joined the U.S. Air Force, I was born, then he became a citizen. You may have noticed that I said my father was an immigrant. When I use the word immigrant on its own, the word "legal" is implied. But for those of you who may need a little help, here goes...

My father was a legal immigrant. He came to this country legally at the age of 19. He lived here legally for several years...then he became a citizen.

To anyone who would use this as an argument against my point of view, I say YES, this IS a country of immigrants, and you have no idea how glad I am about it. But please note that not even you are trying to squelch my first amendment rights by screaming that America is a country of illegal immigrants. Because it's not. Yet. But don't blink, because you just might miss it.

I am very glad that they showed up to protest our meeting yesterday. For starters, when people show up to scream in ignorance, you know you're doing something right. And, let's face it, screaming ignorance is big news these days -- I'm sure we got some coverage we wouldn't have if the screamers hadn't been there to draw attention to our quiet meeting by not only screaming, but also blocking and pounding on the doors, throwing stuff at the police, and slashing the tires of one of the attendees (we all chipped in to buy him new tires).

More than anything, though, I'm glad to live in a country where we can all speak up for what we believe. A country where I am free to meet with others to learn about and discuss a topic, and someone else is free to stand outside and shout their disagreement. A country where trying to suppress someone else's first amendment rights is -- let's all say it together now -- ILLEGAL.


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