The land of the free?
I don't quite know what I make of the "A day without an Immigrant"
marches across the US today. 300,000 people
marched through the streets of Chicago before gathering in Grant Park, which I can see from my office.
Chicago has an estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants living in the city, including 35,000 Poles and an alledged 7,000 undocumented Irish. In the main they work hard doing jobs that frankly American's don't want to do. 40% work in agriculture and today Gallo Wines in Sonoma, California closed and Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, shut 11 of its plants and as it had no one to work them. Across Chicago restaurants were shut as were building sites as employers closed to allow their workers to march.
Here to chase the American dream and follow generations of other settlers from all over the world, who painted onto a blank canvas what America is today, they marched peacefully in a bid to pressure the U.S. Congress into granting rights for up to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country and in the meantime scuttle a proposal that would criminalize them and anyone who tries to help them.
Other big rallies were planned for Los Angeles and New York, and smaller ones in 50 other cities as the media drag Race onto the front page of newspapers.
Of course the flip side is that people like me had to go through a long and expensive process to obtain a working visa, a procedure that has become more difficult and cumbersome since the advent of the Patriot Act
, passed after 9/11. I also pay American taxes and Social Security, and there of course lies the nub of the matter.
The government supposedly understands the economic value of having immigrants in the country but they don't get the tax benefit. If interested and I am certainly not, one can become an American citizen, as long as you pay $300, can speak pigeon English, give up prior allegiance to other countries, i.e. my British passport, defend the American Constitution and laws of the United States, and serve the country when needed. (more