I think Herbert Meyer is right about the reason why so many Americans are so unhappy about the illegal immigration solutions Congress is considering. He describes what seems to be a large chunk of the predominantly Hispanic illegal population:
They aren't immigrants - which is what neither the Democratic or Republican leadership seems to understand, or wants to acknowledge. They have come here solely for jobs, which isn't the same thing at all. (And many of them have come here illegally.) Whether they remain in the U.S. for one year, or ten years - or for the rest of their lives - they don't conduct themselves like immigrants. Yes, they work hard to put roofs above their heads and food on their tables - and for this we respect them. But they have little interest in learning English themselves, and instead demand that we make it possible for them to function here in Spanish. They put their children in our schools, but don't always demand as much from them as previous groups demanded of their kids. They don't always pay their taxes - or insure their cars.For a large portion of the American people, I think this concern seethes deep below the surface of their views on the immigration issue (and for many people, not so deep). That's why all the Mexican flags in the demonstrations infuriate so many observers (including me). Please, come to America and contribute - but don't just come here, become an American!
In short, they aren't playing by the rules that our families played by when they immigrated to this country. And to ordinary Americans this behavior is deeply - very deeply - offensive. We see it unfolding every day in our communities, and we don't like it. This is what none of our politicians either understands, or dares to say aloud. Instead, they blather on - and on - about "amnesty" and "border security" without ever coming to grips with what is so visible, and so offensive, to so many of us - namely, all these foreigners among us who aren't behaving like immigrants.
I wonder if intelligent politicians could not put themselves in a stronger position on this issue by empahsizing assimilation as the primary goal of immigration policy. That, it seems to me, is the fundamental issue. Sadly, it will have to be a subject for another post.