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This country's always been a nation of immigrants?


by Robert Klein Engler

CHICAGO (24 August '06)--In a recent interview by Tara Malone in the Daily Herald, U. S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert repeated the mistaken slogan that "This country's always been a nation of immigrants."

It is surprising that a man of Hastert's background could make a mistake like this. The inability to distinguish between the original settlers and the immigrants who came to the United States legally, after the nation was formed, demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of our history.

Because our elected politicians won't speak the truth about their own country, how can we expect them to vote what is right in regard to immigration reform? They are playing politics with the nation's history to win elections. Maybe this is what accounts for their inability to deport illegal immigrants like Elvira Arellano.

Oscar Avila, a Chicago Tribune staff reporter writes, "A prominent activist for illegal immigrants in Chicago...defied a government order that she turn herself in to the Department of Homeland Security for deportation and instead took sanctuary in a West Side church."

Tribune reporter Avila continues, "The 31-year-old woman was arrested in 2002 during an immigration sweep at O'Hare International Airport. Homeland Security officials noted that Arellano had already been deported once, in 1997, and that she had a criminal conviction for Social Security fraud." This conviction makes her ineligible for U. S. citizenship.

You'd think that after being in this country illegally for 7 years and after giving birth to an anchor baby, Elvira Arellano would at least know English. Apparently not. Speaking through an interpreter, she said, "If Homeland Security chooses to send agents to a holy place, I would know that God wants me to serve as an example of the hatred and hypocrisy of the current administration."

According to the Socialist Worker Online, Elvira's son, "Seven-year-old Saul, who was born in the U. S., told those gathered at the church for a recent service, "I want Bush to stop the deportations, so my mom can stay here with me." You have to wonder who's talking to this child. One of the complaints about the Bush administration is that it hasn't yet started mass deportations. Listen, little Saul, it's hard to stop what hasn't started.

Jesse Rios, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement said at a rally in support of the fugitive Elvira Arellano that "The system is broken. It's tearing families apart. She is a hardworking woman just trying to keep it together. This is not an issue of the law, but of human rights. Where's the family values in breaking up families?"

Mr. Rios made no mention of Elvira Arellano's partner who fathered her son Saul, where he is, and why he cannot help take care of the child. Nor did Mr. Rios wonder why Elvira knowingly had a child as a single woman while in the U. S. illegally.

Mayor Richard Daley, whose directive makes Chicago a Sanctuary City for illegal immigrants, said in support of Elvira Arellano, "You have to sit down and look at her and her family and how long she's been here and look at it in a personal way, not just another number."

Daley added, "And Chicago, it's a city of immigrants. Our past, our present, our future will be immigrants." Of course the mayor, too, is wrong about our immigrant history. Chicago was not founded by immigrants, but instead, it was founded by settlers.

Elvira Arellano is supported in her protest by an unusual coalition. She is the president of United Latino Family, a group that lobbies for families that could be split by deportation. She is, then, the head of a group that wants to solve the very problem she created. Elvira Arellano also receives support from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Centro Sin Fronteras.

The driveby media never mentions that many of the groups supporting Elvira are anarchist or communist groups with an unstated mission of defeating the United States of America. Think for a moment, just what is the aim of a group that calls itself "Center Without Boarders?" Why would they be helping a fugitive?

If you take away borders, don't you take away what defines a nation? Elvira Arellano's protest is really a protest to galvanize "workers" against "capitalists," and to undermine the sovereignty of the United States of America by abolishing the concept of citizenship as we know it. You would hope that politicians like U. S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert are aware of that.

When will this immigration madness end? Perhaps only when politicians learn the history of the United States of America and begin to deport illegal immigrants. If these politicians refuse to deport illegal immigrants, then they should be deported from their elected offices.

Illegal immigrants have turned around the lives of many Americans, altering our communities for the worse, wasting our tax dollars and transforming our public schools. It's time to turn out of office those politicians who refuse to deport illegal immigrants. It's time also for you, Elvira Arellano, to go home to Mexico. And when you leave, shut the door behind you.

Robert Klein Engler is a Minuteman who lives in Chicago. His book, A WINTER OF WORDS, about the turmoil at Daley College, is available from amazon.com.

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