Guest column – When being an immigrant meant something positive

by Rosemary LeBonte

(Please see my comments at the end. – Nathan)

Back in 1900, when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York to be documented. They were examined for diseases, and some were quarantined for long periods of time before they were released.

Some even got down on their hands and knees to kiss U. S. soil. They made a pledge to uphold U. S. laws and to support their new country in both good times and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households, and some even changed their names to blend in with their new country.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place in order to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them – no free lunches, no welfare, and no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them, along with a strong work ethic, to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought alongside men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy, France and Japan. None of their first generation Americans ever gave a thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people together under God.

When the U. S. liberated France, no one in those French villages were looking for French Americans, German Americans or Irish Americans. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have even thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were or where their parents had come from. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed everything they had to be here in the United States.

These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl for everyone to share and thrive.

Now here we are today with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges as other Americans. They want to achieve it, however, by playing by a different set of rules – one that includes an entitlement card and a guarantee of remaining faithful to their mother country.

I’m sorry, but that’s not what being an American is all about.

I believe that the immigrants who landed at Ellis Island in the early 1900’s deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice they made to raise future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life.

They would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign flags and disrespecting the United States.

And for the suggestions about taking down the Statue of Liberty, it happens to mean a lot to those citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn’t talk about dismantling the United States just yet. Maybe we need to inform Mr. Lujan why today’s American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer.

(This was written by Rosemary LaBonte to the editor of a California newspaper in response to an article written by Ernie Lujan, who suggested we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the immigrants of today aren’t being treated the same as those who came to America through Ellis Island and other ports of entry. The paper didn’t print her response, so her husband posted it on the Internet.) 

Nathan’s Comments: We cannot refuse to recognize that we, as Americans, and the FedGov, made many mistakes even in those days. No more than we cannot recognize the FedGov (and Americans) make just as many mistakes today. But we do not have to ignore the many good things that we have done, and are doing, to help each other and extend hope and opportunity to people from around the world. Bad as we think things are today, we and billions around the world enjoy more liberty thanks to the United States. Especially the 300+ million of us here in the Fifty States.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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