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05-27-07, 01:05 PM #1
Legal Immigration doesn't make headlines, but isn't that the point?
Legal immigration doesn't make headlines, but isn't that the point?
Kansas City, Kan. -- Inside the federal courthouse here, 88 people from 31 countries are waiting to become Americans. They are young. And old. Some very old. They are janitors. Students. Active duty U.S. military personnel. Engineers. Financial analysts, retirees and teachers. Tension and anxiety fill the room, but it's the excitement and nervousness that stand out. Remember being 6 and waiting for Christmas to come, but worrying at the same time that Santa might miss your house? It's like that times 10.
There's a lot of pacing going on. Lots of hand wringing and crossed legs bouncing up and down. Though they've all been interviewed, fingerprinted, investigated and tested on U.S. history, there's a seemingly universal worry that at the last minute an immigration officer is going to walk in, select a handful of people and tell them their paperwork has been denied.
How they all ended up in Kansas from places as far away as Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Serbia Montenegro and Iran, to name a few, isn't as important as the fact that they're here legally.
I don't know how long some have waited for this day, but I'm sure it's longer than any of us who are born U.S. citizens can comprehend.
There are amazing stories to tell, but my interest this day belongs only to one: my dad.
It's not supposed to be easy
"Venezuela," he says loudly when U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil calls his name and asks his country of origin. It's like listening to roll call at the United Nations. "I wanted everyone to hear me," he said after the ceremony, clearly as proud of his heritage this day (and still today) as he was more than 40 years ago when he came to the United States. That's as it should be. He came to America to go to college. Shipped off at the urging of his brothers and sisters who said it was the best thing for him. He landed in Kansas, went to school and fell in love. Citizenship wasn't on his mind at the time. Being a good husband and father, was. We didn't learn to speak Spanish in the house. Dad didn't want us to be ridiculed for having an accent or speaking anything other than English.
We learned it anyway.
He learned how to be American. Taxes were paid. Houses were bought and sold and kids were raised and sent off to college. Not exactly the stuff fit for Hollywood, but that's precisely the point. The path to citizenship in this country for thousands of people every day doesn't involve scaling fences, swimming across rivers or trying to survive hidden in the back of a truck.
It's about hard work, perseverance and following the law. Legal immigrants go through citizenship lotteries, fill out applications upon applications and work with officials from all kinds of state and federal agencies with the hope of getting word that their paperwork has been approved.
The immigration debate that's raging today largely ignores those who did it legally but it's important, in my mind anyway, to not denigrate their journey by allowing amnesty or open borders. It's also important to make the system smarter and more efficient. Point systems controlled by the government are a prescription for failure. Becoming a U.S. citizen is sought after because this is the greatest country on Earth. My dad doesn't say much when asked about it and though I know how proud he was that day, it wasn't until we traveled to Venezuela this year that it all made sense.
"I haven't taken it out of my pocket since I got here," he said of his crisp, new U.S. passport. "And I'm not going to." Nobody is going to take it away. He worked too hard. And that's as it should be.
Manny Lopez is a News editorial writer whose online column is published Sunday.Don't Be Afraid To Fail.
No Tengas Miedo Al Fracaso.
05-27-07, 01:26 PM #2
The immigration debate that's raging today largely ignores those who did it legally but it's important, in my mind anyway, to not denigrate their journey by allowing amnesty or open borders. It's also important to make the system smarter and more efficient. Point systems controlled by the government are a prescription for failure. Becoming a U.S. citizen is sought after because this is the greatest country on Earth.
That right there says it all. Its time for the politicians to leave the damn party politics out of something and do whats best for the country. Stop worrying about yourselves and your party, and do something good for your constituents."An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper
Some people are meant to be the police......Some people are meant to call the police!!!
"Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don't need it and hell where they already have it."
" I believe that forgiving them (Terrorist) is God's function. OUR job is to arrange the meeting."
General Norman Schwartzkopf
Not all Muslims are Terrorists, but all Terrorists are Muslim.
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