DATE: 1/07/2004 11:42:00 PM
Sigh... - Today, the president announced a proposal for very big changes to immigration law in the United States. Predictably, conservatives are howling with outrage and many are stamping their feet and threatening to stay home on election day. It's amazing to me just how silly and short-sighted many conservatives are about President Bush. I've said it again and again - staying home equals a vote for the Democrats. Good luck getting your agenda noticed by Howard Dean or John Kerry. At the same time, though, I'm tired of saying it. So to those conservatives who are threatening to take their ball and go home: don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. The Republican party and the conservative movement need adults who understand political reality - getting most of what you want and winning is better than demanding everything and losing.
Those screaming the loudest also ignore another reality: there are very, very few of us who are not descendents of immigrants. Those that cross the borders and work here in the United States are paying taxes, helping the economy and doing the jobs many Americans refuse to take. And like the immigrants of the past, all they ask in return is a chance to improve their own lives and raise their children in a country where anything is possible.
Half of my family came over from England centuries ago on a ship. The other half came over only decades ago over the border into Texas. My great-grandfather left Mexico looking for a better life. He worked low-paying jobs to raise his family. I'm only a few generations removed from a man who came to the U.S. with little but a dream. Thanks in part to his willingness to leave his country and take a chance, to raise a family and work hard, I have been given opportunities only the United States can provide. Who am I, who are we, to deny that chance to the children of other immigrants?
UPDATE - Andrew Sullivan, a recent immigrant, makes great sense on the benefits of this policy.