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Ron Ippolito: The truth about our immigration problem

Posted: February 1, 2010 3:53 p.m.
Updated: February 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
Starting in the early 1820s, Stephen Austin led a group of 300 Americans into the land we know as Texas. At the time, the land was owned by Mexico.

Mexico established three rules for Americans to enter their country legally: Convert to Catholicism, become citizens of Mexico and don't bring in your slaves.

The original Texans slipped through with their slaves, remained Protestant and rather than going through the legal process to become Mexican citizens, they declared themselves an independent nation.

Today, we learn about those brave Texans and the courageous stand they took at the Alamo.

We celebrate these heroes, who in fact were "illegally immigrating" into our neighbor to the south far before any Mexicans started hopping fences and running through deserts to get to us.

As a nation, we need to first dismount our moral high horse on the illegal immigration discussion. We did it first.

Next, let's look at who benefits from illegal immigration: The immigrants who make a living here and Americans who make millions from their labor.

If we really want to get serious about illegal immigration, let's not punish the immigrants. Most come here poor, live here poor (by American standards) and eke out an existence doing jobs that most Americans don't want.

Most come here in poverty seeking a better life, as many of our immigrant ancestors did. I don't know of any illegal immigrants who live in luxury.

However, I do know there are Americans who live a comfortable life with the help of illegal immigrants.

Whether it's a family enjoying the labor of an undocumented nanny, or a factory owner profiting by paying hundreds of illegal immigrants less than minimum wage, these Americans have more in their bank accounts because they choose undocumented labor over American workers.

For the record, I happen to think there are far greater ills facing our country than illegal immigration. Immigrants, whether legal or illegal, have been the target of scapegoating and discrimination going back to the earliest days of our country.

The Scots, the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese and the Japanese are just a few of the immigrant groups that have been unfairly blamed for our country's ills. It's always easy to blame the new guy in town.

People like Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar tap into this fear. He and his "proud racist" statements don't represent my views, and I look forward to voting him out of office when his seat opens up.

However, for those who really believe that illegal immigration is to blame for America's problems, then here's the most effective way to stop it: Go to the source.

Instead of breaking up families subsisting on what little they can earn from an illegal job, incarcerate those whose cushy living gets cushier on the backs of undocumented labor.

The mom who has the leisure time to go to the gym, get a latte at Starbucks and get her French manicure done because an illegal immigrant is raising her children - throw that mom in prison.

The business owner who is able to take an extra vacation to Europe this summer because his workers make $2 an hour - lock him up.

If we actually got tough with the Americans who profit from illegal immigration, the demand for said immigration would dry up.

Do the "anti-illegal" activists have the guts to do this?

Ron Ippolito is a Canyon Country resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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