American, in all of its glory, is a nation of immigrants and has been since its founding. As Native Americans welcomed foreign invaders to their lands, they had established rules of the land. As English, Spanish, and African settlers immigrated to the new land, a new form of government was established that overruled the laws of the original inhabitants of the continent. As we discuss and debate immigration laws in America, some of the staunchest fighters against providing a pathway to grant legal status to millions of individuals who currently live in America are from families who immigrated to this country. They have forgotten their history and how their lineage came from those who immigrated to North America.
Just imagine if the original inhabitants of this land did not allow the new settlers to establish themselves. What would happen? Oh, we know that answer; they killed, lied, stole, and manipulated their way into land ownership. We treat the individuals who were born in this country differently because their original origin was not North America. If that is the case, we should treat most of the families of those opposed to a legal pathway to citizenship as if their original origin was not North America. If their ancestors did not murder, bargain, or coarse, they would not be citizens either.
Those who are currently in America who do not have legal status should have a pathway to citizenship. Most of the current Americans did not have a pathway to citizenship other than by being born due to the fact that settlers decided to create their own government on foreign land. I would not advocate current immigrants rely on violence, theft, and manipulation to gain their citizenship, but that 11 million who are disenfranchised deserve better from the country they call home. We take their money, but do not represent them. We tax them without representing them. We demonize them without trying to understand them.
You all are immigrants to this country but you would rather hold your elitist noses in the air to limit the rights of other immigrants. You, as an immigrant, are no better than another immigrant. It should not take 20 years to become legal in America. In the richest and most dominant country in the world, we can come up with a way to identify a person as an American. Originally, when most people immigrated to the new land, there was no language test that made you patriotic.
Many of the current politicians who are against immigration reform benefit from the fact that their family was allowed into the country from Italy, Poland, Germany, and France. Those politicians were the dreams of their ancestors. They knew if they could get to a new land that they could provide a better life for their family. This is the same belief of many immigrants to come to this country. They want a better life for their family.
Let’s support sensible reforms that support the millions of those who love our country and want to be accepted by the other Americans. These individuals are here to stay – just as you are. You are the product of immigrants. Let the other immigrants enjoy the benefits of this country that immigrants built. We are a country of laws, so let’s pass laws to support legal immigration that works for millions. America, the land of immigrants.
Corey Carolina is an NSU graduate, North Tulsa entrepreneur and activist, and owner of Carolina Food Co. He is also an author, his first book being "The Absent Father."