I also confess as a misfit that I was one of the few who never understood the rhetoric of illegal immigration. Of course, “undocumented worker” leaves millions out of the definition who are not working and never applied for, or ever had any, documents to begin with, in a way that the damnably exact “illegal alien” does not. “The borders crossed us” did not make sense, given that 99% of present-day illegal aliens could not cite a California residential pedigree back to 1900.
If we add all the contradictory declarations and try to sort out a common theme, then, it would, to be honest, go something like the following: “I am leaving my home in Latin America and crossing the border illegally into the United States, because I have that right since my cheap labor is going to be exploited. But if I do not work or cease working or go on public assistance or get arrested, I still have that that right to ignore the law to enter illegally because the American Southwest was once the land of my forefathers. True, I am leaving one land of my forefathers for another land of my forefathers that interlopers have changed. I don’t particularly like what they have done, but by all means I must go there and not return to the more pristine and unsullied land of my forefathers.”
For immigration to be fair and without prejudice, race and skin color must alone count — not biased skill sets and education levels. Do you think an immigrant who needs public assistance and does not speak English is any less valuable to America than one with a PhD in electrical engineering, English fluency, and $10,000 in the bank?
So the present discrimination is fair when it prejudices those by ethnic affiliation, but bad when it is color blind and adjudicated through merit-based education and skills. There is no longer such an arcane thing as a federal law that says you must enter the United States legally. Instead it is de facto assurance that if you wish to enter the U.S. with an advanced degree or capital, and if you are not crossing into the United States across the Mexican border, then you must get in line and wait years while we adjudicate your dubious case. Latino politicians who demand amnesties for illegal immigrants from Latin America are disinterested and fighting bias; all others who favor legal immigration from all countries on racially blind considerations of education and expertise are racist.
I think that sums up the debate and will explain why the Dream Act is the beginning, not the end, of amnesty — and why a return to merit-based legal immigration will be fought most of all.