Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bring Me Your Tired and Your Poor

Los Angeles is not known as a city where people are prone to take to the streets. When I heard that a crowd estimated to be at least 500,000 strong assembled there to protest anti-immigrant legislation, I had to sit up and take notice.

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with immigration, legal or otherwise. I laugh when I see Lou Dobbs go on his rants about undocumented workers. When Dobbs' ancestors came from whatever part of Europe they hail from, did they phone ahead and get permission from the Iroquois and the Sioux? Of course they didn't.

You see, there is a lot of karma going on here. The parts of the country that now comprise Texas, California, Nevada, Utah and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming were all part of Mexico. The US stole that huge amount of land, half of Mexico's territory, in a war waged between 1846 and 1848. When immigrants sneak across the border, they are just going back to their old neighborhood.

If the often quoted figure of 11 million undocumented immigrants is correct, then it is no small matter to send them home. Be careful what you ask for. Eleven million people pay a hell of a lot of sales tax. They rent a lot of apartments and buy a lot of houses. Many of them are in fact tax payers. If the 500,000 who protested in LA show the extent of immigration in that state, then California would lose a lot if they all left.

If you are ever tempted to complain about immigration, just think of the poor Indians when they saw boats land at Plymouth Rock. You have a lot less to complain about than they did.