America is a land of immigrants ….. both legal and illegal
by Howie Katz
The inscription on the Statue of Liberty in part reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
But history has shown that those words did not apply to many people desiring to come to America. For many years after they had completed furnishing the cheap labor to build America’s transcontinental railroads, Asians were refused entry into the U.S. The Irish were refused entry during the ‘Potato Famine.’ And unless they could find a sponsor, Jews were refused entry during the Holocaust.
In 1939, Cuba, Canada and the United states all turned back 900 Jewish refugees on board the German ship MS St. Louis. The ship’s captain then managed to find several European countries to accept the refugees. Unfortunately, some of those countries were subsequently overrun by the German Wehrmacht, and it is estimated that approximately a quarter of the 900 refugees died in Nazi death camps
My father, mother and I came to the United States as Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in 1936. We were among the fortunate few who had a distant American relative who agreed to sponsor us and be financially responsible for us. God only know how many Jews perished in the Nazi gas chambers because they were refused entry into the U.S.
My father had a management position in Braunschweig with Karstadt, a big German department store chain. He was also the shoe buyer for the whole chain. I believe it was in 1934 that Nazi authorities ordered Karstadt to fire all Jews, including my father. We moved to Magdeburg where my father obtained a job as a shoe salesman. Unlike many German Jews, my father saw the handwriting on the wall and sought a new life for us in America.
America is a land of Immigrants. I too am an immigrant. I am very lucky and I love America with all my heart and soul!
America is also a land of both legal and illegal immigrants. Immigration authorities and the media keep throwing around eleven million as the number of illegals in this country. I believe the number is closer to 20 million.
Eleven million or 20 million, we cannot deport them all, which is what a lot of Americans seem to want. We’re having a hard time deporting just the criminals among the illegals, and when we do, they manage to slip back into this country within a few weeks after they were thrown out.
There are those who claim that the illegals are taking jobs from Americans. Not True! The illegals are taking unskilled or low-skilled, backbreaking jobs at rock-bottom wages, jobs Americans are loath to do even if they paid more.
I remember back in the ’60s, some black ministers in Los Angeles tried to bring about an end to the bloody warfare between the Bloods and the Crips. They managed to call a truce meeting attended by the leaders of the two gangs. Also present were city officials, LAPD brass and line officers, social workers as well as ministers from various black churches. The meeting was closed to the public and media. After several hours the meeting broke up and as the gang leaders came out of the building they were met by a horde of reporters.
What the media got out of the meeting was that everyone agreed jobs were the solution to the daily gangbanging. If young African-Americans would only find work, the shootings and other illegal gang activities would stop. But a leader of the Bloods told reporters: “We don’t want no minimum wage jobs, we want $25-an-hour jobs.”
Teachers and cops didn’t make $25-an-hour back in the ’60s. It just goes to show that illegal immigrants don’t take jobs from Americans.
So, what shall we do about the illegal immigrants in our country? First of all, we need to get rid of the dope dealers, rapists, robbers and other dangerous criminals among them. I used to take my students on field trips to the federal prison in Bastrop. Over half the inmates in that prison were illegal immigrants. Deporting them after they are released from prison does little good if they can slip back in to continue preying on law abiding members of the public.
We need to build a wall on our southern border similar to the Berlin Wall or to the combination wall and security fence Israel built to keep out Palestinian terrorists. That would keep deported criminals from returning and would keep new immigrants from sneaking in. What we have now is a joke. Almost anyone can climb over, squeeze through or tunnel under our present security barrier.
As for the other illegals, it is easy to say that if they want to become American citizens, they should return to their native lands, apply for entry into the United States and await their turn before returning. The matter of fact is that once they’ve returned to their country of origin, they’ll croak before their turn for reentry comes up.
Here is my radical suggestion, one for which I will surely get a lot of flack. Why not just legalize the illegals who have been working hard to support their families and who have not committed any crimes other than being here illegally? We can easily absorb these folks … as a matter of fact we have already absorbed them with no harm done to us.
Frankly, I don’t give a damn whether the people that mow my lawn, clean my house, repair my roof, put down some new flooring, etc. are documented or not as long as they do a good job at a price I can afford. I do believe that deporting millions of illegals will disrupt our economy.
As a former narcotics enforcement officer, it makes more sense to me to legalize illegal immigration than to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. A hard working immigrant will be a contributing member of society, a stoner will be a drag on it.
Howie Katz is a former law enforcement officer and retired criminal justice professor. In 1969 he founded the Texas Narcotic Officers Association. He currently resides in Houston, Texas. You can see more of his writing at http://barkgrowlbite.blogspot.com and http://theunconventionalgazette.blogspot.com.