“Undocumented Immigrants; Mercenaries Or Patriots?”

Questions about Immigration Reform arise every day. In the past few days two incidents have aroused the issue of immigration reform; rather than add dignified discourse to the continuing discussion, they have displayed a political passion based on highly suspect views.
Incident number one: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush discussed a potential run for President in 2016 in which he commented on immigration reform. In particular he discussed what he sees as the motivation for illegally border crossings. Specifically he correctly pointed out that crossing the border illegally was not a “felony” despite violating some laws. This is true in almost all cases with exceptions for those already ordered deported who try to reenter.
Unfortunately for Bush he went further in describing the motivation to violate misdemeanor laws by not being cleared by a U.S. officer; he described a man’s attempts to cross illegally into the US in order to get work, to earn money when he has few choices at home with which to feed his family as an “act of love.” Bush: a man’s “love” for his family motivates a dangerous trek across dangerous deserts and mountains to earn several times what he can earn at home.
Anti-immigrant groups and radio talk show hosts exploded with rage at this innocent comment and lambasted Bush, whom they hate anyway because they don’t consider him to be ”conservative” enough on any issues.
Out came all the canards about illegal immigration such as: terrorists” illegally cross the border among illegal border crossing Mexicans and Central Americans and they come to steal the United States of America from its true owners, those fortunate enough to be born in the United States because their families came to America “legally” before there were any immigration laws to speak of and restrictions by race and ethnicity weren’t imposed (pre-1924).
Leading the anti-immigration reform charge is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
Hours before Jeb Bush made his comments FAIR viciously launched an attack on California Republican congressman Jeff Denham (whom they refer to as “pro-amnesty”) and his proposal to award legal status (AKA Green Cards) automatically to young people brought into the United States illegally before they were 15 years of age and before 2012 if they volunteer for U.S. military service.
FAIR: “Under the language Rep. Denham is pedaling (sic) behind the scenes, the illegal alien only has to meet two requirements in order to enlist in the military. First, they must have entered the U.S. before 2012; and second, they must have been younger than 15 when they entered the country. That’s it! After that they are on a fast-track to citizenship.”
FAIR: “The policy implications of including such legislative language in a bill to fund our troops are severe. In addition to encouraging a massive flow of illegal aliens into the military in order to get a green card, allowing illegal aliens to join the military poses clear national security risks. Indeed there are no specifics in the language being pushed on the Hill regarding how an alien proves he or she came here as a child. As they do already, illegal aliens could easily forge documentation to meet these flimsy requirements.”
FAIR has it supporters but one wonders if they have any sophistication, education or knowledge of what an American even is. From the FAIR web site we find these sentiments:
Mary Krauze writes on FAIR’s web site: “Fort Hood Texas shooters Ivan Lopez & Nidal Hassan raise the question of increased incidence of violence against Americans among those who would fit this category “people who would benefit from Denham’s proposal). Lopez, is reported to be from Puerto Rico, an American territory, so technically Lopez could be considered a US citizen if he fits citizenship criteria, was born in PR of US citizens. Is there any data about the incidence of violence against US troops among foreign or ethnic recruits to the US military?”
On the other hand, Sue wrote on the FAIR web site: “Heaven forbid they should fight or die for our country! Let’s be clear… A Green card isn’t that important to an undocumented worker. They’re not going to be returning to their native country. They’re going to be the recipient of a much needed immigration policy that will allow them to live and work here and enter the military if they so desire. So all this anti immigrant rhetoric will in the end go nowhere and it’s about time.”
Jeb Bush needs to choose his words better so he can sound like Sue. As for doubters of Congressman Dunham’s proposal, let them look up Alfredo V. Rascon. He was smuggled into the U.S. illegally as a child, grew up here, joined the U.S. Army and was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Vietnam War. He would have qualified for Congressman Denham’s proposal.

Contreras formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate