Latinos Like Me

Yesterday’s news of an immigration reform “compromise” rang out to me as more of a sell out than anything else. And I have to admit, anything that Senator Ted Kennedy is so jazzed up about gets me nervous by definition.

So, 12 million illegal aliens will soon be taking a step up the ladder of respect and recognition and ultimate citizenship. As Kennedy stated, it’s time for them to step out of the shadows and into the sunlight.

As I routinely remind listeners to my show when this issue comes up, I am the product of LEGAL immigration from Latin America . My father came to America with his family from Mexico . My mother came with hers from Nicaragua . I spoke Spanish AND English at home growing up. If America were being flooded with immigrants such as my family members, I would not be as concerned.

They came here legally and by the book from DAY ONE. They didn’t first break the law and then whine for forgiveness. They got here and received zero benefits. They asked for NOTHING but the opportunity to follow their hearts and their dreams and their passions for success.

I am sick to death, frankly, of all of these illegal alien parades, rallies, and protests. What is the common denominator at all of these events? Well, aside from law enforcement and border agents doing absolutely NOTHING, the central commonality is that these immigrants are always ASKING for something. Actually, they don’t ask, they DEMAND! We want this, and that, and some of this, too! And we want it NOW!

My ancestors would have been EMBARASSED to stand in the middle of their city and whine about how poorly they were being treated. They didn’t ask for a darned thing. They certainly would have felt SHAME if they were asking these things had they been ILLEGAL ALIENS! My grandfathers would have locked themselves in freezers before stepping onto the sidewalk and demanding things from the country they CHOSE to come to in order to better their lives. The only thing my family needed was the OPPORTUNITY to succeed. They never demanded success ITSELF. They felt they deserved only what they had earned and were willing to work for.

The most maddening part is that America is not filling up with enough immigrants like my ancestors. Or even Latinos like me. My father’s family didn’t bring Mexican flags when they came to America . Neither did my mother’s family bring flags from Nicaragua . My father was a 4th generation Mexican by birth, but a red blooded American by choice. My mother never looks back at the homeland. THIS is her home.

The saddest part is that people always like to question my ethnicity. I don’t LOOK Mexican, after all. And people never believe my father is of Mexican ancestry because he doesn’t look, sound, or act Latino enough for most people’s tastes. My mother still has a Central American accent, but she legally votes in elections and ticks off San Francisco liberals by voting for Republicans and conservatives (whenever they can be found in the left leaning Bay Area).

You don’t listen to me as a Latino. You listen to me as an American. An American who is as concerned as you are about the future of OUR country. I wish the immigrants who are applauding the Bush-Capitol Hill immigration SHAM would take notice of families like mine and learn that there are right ways and wrong ways to approach anything.

Gilberto Escalante is a fisherman in the state of Sinaloa in Mexico . He admits what I have been saying for YEARS about many Latin American immigrants coming into our country today—they often don’t WANT to be a part of the American fabric. "We don't want the house or the latest car in the U.S. We want to go and work so that our families can have a good life in Mexico ,” Escalante explains. A good life in MEXICO .

Where are all the immigrants that want us ALL to have a good life here…RIGHT HERE…in the greatest country on earth?

Maybe Latinos like me are the minority. Maybe all I can do is contact my elected officials (most of which were NOT elected by me or anyone I know) and tell them that it’s not too late to have a change of heart on this issue.