Anti-immigrant diatribe nothing new"

Letter to the Editor by Janette R. Cox, Marietta Daily Journal, September 2, 2005

We include this letter as a textbook example of a typical open borders knee-jerk response to the illegal immigration crisis. The ability to reason is not a prerequisite for writing such letters.

In his editorial column of Aug. 24, D. A. King combined two very different issues. One is border security, something that is of concern to a great many Americans, as it should be. The other is the presence of illegal immigrants in the United States. King refers to our country as a "nation of law," and while that is true, he has forgotten something very important. We are also a nation that is made up of immigrants. Very few of us can claim ethnic American heritage, and those of us who do only do so in the very general sense of claiming a native ancestor somewhere within our family trees.

King's diatribe is nothing new. There have always been people complaining about both the amount and the caliber of the immigrants coming into this country. Refrains like "They are taking our jobs" and "They get benefits that us regular taxpayers don't" have sounded throughout this country since the 1800s. Whether the "they" in question was Asian, Irish, German, Italian, Slavic, Eastern European, African, Scandinavian or Jewish, the established communities responded to these immigrants in the same manner that many are now to the current wave of Hispanic immigrants.

Every immigrant group who came before has said, "This is enough, you go home" to the immigrant group that came after.

What I want to know is this: Who decides which group of ethnic immigrants will be the last? Who determines when America shuts her doors? Who concludes that the benefits that we all enjoy as American citizens that have been accrued through the labors of past immigrants are now off limits to any new immigrants?

Lest we forget, "God Bless America" was written by an immigrant. We have immigrants to thank for much of the infrastructure construction in our major cities, along with railroads and dams. And it was immigrants who gave us most of the technology needed for the nuclear bomb.

If the shortsighted naysayers of the past had had their way, we would not have these things and many more.

Speaking Spanish does not make anyone less an American citizen than does speaking Italian make me an Italian one. Credit histories are just that - they have nothing to do with immigration status.

If proof of citizenship is required before using public services, then it must be required of all people and not just the brown ones. Possessing a valid Social Security card does not equate with citizenship; it is merely proof of the legal right to work in this country.

Hispanics/Latinos come from more places than just Mexico.

The vast majority of immigrants are here legally. The counties in Georgia with the highest numbers of immigrants have the lowest rates of unemployment. And the only way "to make ourselves less attractive to illegal immigration" is to destroy our economy, our lifestyle and our freedoms.