Hamilton: Immigration made simple
Those who favor amnesty for illegal immigrants often say, “We need to remember that this nation was built by immigrants from other countries.” No. That is not accurate.
This nation was built by “legal” immigrants from other countries. This country was not built by “illegal” immigrants from other countries.
Polling of people who have come to the United States legally shows overwhelming support for controlling our borders and causing those who want to come to the U.S. to follow the same legal procedures that they had to follow. Moreover, this is true among Hispanics who came here legally and do not favor President Obama’s open-borders policy.
Many years ago, I was dispatched by then-Nebraska Gov. Charles Thone to see if I could settle a labor dispute between migrant workers and the owners of the sugar-beet fields out by Scottsbluff, Neb. I flew from Lincoln expecting that every Hispanic would be in favor of the migrant workers. Not so. Turned out that many of the sugar-beet fields were owned by Hispanics who had been on the land since the time of the Spanish conquistadors or who had immigrated legally many years earlier. The older Hispanics were in the role of “management” and the migrant workers were in the role of “labor.”
The managers wanted the migrant workers, the “Braceros,” to come up from Mexico, hoe the beet fields during the summer, help harvest the beets, collect their pay, and return to Mexico for the winter. Forty years ago, this Bracero Program was sanctioned by the U.S. Government as a guest-worker program. The main complaints of the Scottsbluff Braceros were demands for better temporary housing and better working conditions.
In the course of my investigation, the leaders of both sides were interviewed. I found the Braceros did not want to live in Nebraska. Too cold. They wanted to spend their winters in Mexico. The beet-farm owners agreed to provide better temporary housing for the Braceros and to bring more drinking water out into the fields and more frequently. They agreed to position more Porti-Potties in the fields. The dispute was settled.
During the many years we lived in West Germany, the Germans ran an excellent guest-worker program for the Italians, Spaniards and Turks who wanted to earn money for their families back home by building VWs and other automobiles. The car manufacturers built rather decent barracks for the guest-workers who came in the fall, went back home for the long Christmas/New Years break, and then returned north to work until about August when they went back home until the fall.
Mind you, the Germans know how to enforce their borders and you better have your papers in order when you deal with German border and customs officials. They have a large and highly trained armed force called the “Bundesgrenzschutz” (federal border protectors) who, with their ferocious German police dogs, constantly patrol between Germany’s border control points. Violators get more than a “stern talking-to.” Let’s just say the experience is so unpleasant that they do not want to endure an encore performance.
Again, let’s remember that this once great nation was built by “legal” immigrants.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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