Friday, December 18, 2009

Let Me In!

I listened to a story on immigration this morning.  So many people – people presumably just like me – seem so angry about immigrants and are dead-set about open borders.  That got me thinking as to how I got here.

I’m an average American citizen, or so I like to believe.  I was born in the USA; as were my parents and grandparents.  Before that, however, at some point every one of my ancestors arrived on this continent as an undocumented alien, but – big distinction here – with open arms.

Most of my ancestors came from Holland, Germany, England and Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Their children were instant citizens and we’re all living happily ever after.  Some of my ancestors arrived 5-10,000 years ago from Asia – so long ago that they are now considered “natives.”

Let’s face it.  Throughout all of human history, until the middle of the industrial revolution, no one ever voluntarily relocated.  Relocation is a messy and dangerous effort.  It takes an affluent society to allow voluntary relocation.  My ancestors were desperate enough to hop in boats or walk thousands of miles for a chance at a less horrific life.  My existence shows they lucked out.  Many millions did not.  Who are we to shut our borders to people who want to risk everything on a chance for a better existence when our ancestors did the same thing, just earlier?

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