Note: While this may not be one of my better pieces of writing, as I feel it could be a bit more refined, I’ve chosen to re-post it as it was originally posted, in it’s entirety, from 2006 when it was posted at both Left Brain Female and The Liberty Papers.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while – and it occurs to me that a great many of the illegal immigrants (so-called) in this country are not immigrants, but migrants.
I remember as I was a youngster, my parents and grandparents referred occasionally to the “migrant” workers who worked in the Orange groves near my grandparents home. I understood them to mean some of the poor families who worked in the Orange groves in season and travelled to other areas of the state or country as there was need – picking fruit, ferns, vegetable crops, etc. These were folks who were known for what they did – it wasn’t meant as any kind of slur, it’s just who they were.
It has become apparent in the last few years that using the term “migrant” is apparently no longer PC – but I think it’s time we call a spade a spade and begin using the proper terminology.
The word “migrant” means someone who changes residency – usually to better their financial or living situation – but not particularly for any permanency. This means they go where pickins’ are best.
An immigrant is one who makes a permanent change of residency.
Now, it follows, that one who makes a permanent change of residency is probably someone who is working toward helping himself and his family in his new home – and to help positively impact the surroundings of his new home (whether we’re talking a neighborhood or a country). Thus I would contend that legal immigrants – that is those who have come through legal channels, are going to add value to the community and not be takers. In fact, in my experience with most of the legal immigrants I’ve met (either in person or through their writings) is that they are stronger patriots than most of my compatriots. They appreciate the opportunities which this country affords and they would not even *think* about accepting welfare. If they’re sending money “back home” to family, it’s generally with an eye toward helping those family members who are too old to immigrate or to help them to come to this country legally.
On the other hand, a migrant who has come into this country just because it is a land of opportunity, but who has no love for the country may and probably does accept welfare, medicaid, as well as sending money back to family and encouraging them to enter the country in the same manner in which they did. Can you imagine an illegal immigrant assisting anyone to come into the country legally? Not bloody likely.
There is a completely different mindset today than there was 100 years ago. I know I was and am blessed to have lived in this country all my life. I’m probably about a 12 generation native as most of my ancestors came over long before Ellis Island was established. But even 100 years ago the mindset was not about holding on fiercely to the old culture at the expense of the new.
The point really came home to my sister (and vicariously me) a few weeks ago. St. Patricks day fell on a “casual Friday” this year, so my sister wore her Irish Tee shirt to work in her primarily Hispanic office. She was stunned when several of her co-workers remarked to her “hey, we didn’t know you were Irish”. Her response I thought classic. “That’s because I’m an American” she said. Therein lies the crux of the matter, and the reason that we’re likely headed for another kind of civil war in this country – because while some of us haven’t forgotten our heritage, we consider ourselves first and foremost AMERICAN.
Those from other countries (whether legally or no) who think that they’re going to engender love and acceptance from those of us who’ve been here all our lives by requiring that we change to suit their needs (by learning their language or having their culture shoved down our throats) have got another think coming. This is not how you show love to your fellow countrymen.
But I digress – back to my original point. The word migrant is often used when talking about birds – migratory birds generally travel South in the winter (to more hospitable climes) and back North in the spring. Kind of “fair-weather” birds. D’ya see the parallel? And do you see that as long as we make this country always more hospitable than their own, they’ll never leave? Do you understand that those of us who love this country and are legal residents are supporting these illegals – not the other way ’round as the media would have you believe? I’d venture to say that these “migrant birds” are not only migrant – they’re predatory birds. Predators are opportunists – and these predators are picking us dry.