Views From Kennewick

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Letter to the Editor

Written in response to a series of letters to the editor in
the Orange County Register :

Dear Editor:

So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this
land is made up of immigrants. Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear
down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren't
being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other
ports of entry.

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to
people like Mr. Lujan why today's American is not willing to accept this new
kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from
all areas of Europe to come to the United States , people had to get off a
ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even
get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge
to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They
made learning English a primary rule in their new American households
and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their
children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children
assimilate into one culture.

Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no
labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship
they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity. Most of
their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father
fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany ,
Italy , France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any
thought about what country their parents had come from. They were
Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were
defending the United States of America as one people. When we liberated
France, no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the
German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans.
And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those
immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag
and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace
to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants
truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot
into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are in 2007 with a new kind of immigrant who wants
the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing
with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card
and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry,
that's not what being an American is all about. I believe that the
immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900's deserve better than
that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations
to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a
better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an
example by those waving foreign country flags.

And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty,
it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration
bill. I wouldn't start talking about dismantling the United States just
(signed) Rosemary LaBonte


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