This I Believe

Angel - snowflake, Arizona
Entered on March 20, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: immigrant

Freedom Land

I am the son of illegal immigrant parents. They came here about nineteen years ago. For that they are criminals. To some they are as bad, or worse than rapists and murderers. They are now residents and are applying for citizenship. They love and respect this country, and they contribute economically and socially as much, or more than most U.S. citizens.

They’ve always had to pay for taxes, even before they were “legal”. My parents aren’t the only ones who came here illegally. I have aunts and uncles who are still undocumented. When it’s income tax time, they don’t get anything in return. They work in factories or in McDonald’s, they get paid with checks and they cash them. They get a certain percentage taken away, and it stays taken away. They contribute to the economy; they buy food. When it’s not about taking money away, people in government say they produce high crime rates, but it’s not true.

Since 1994, illegal immigration has more than doubled to 12 million, with the immigration population just under 13 percent. According to the FBI, violent crime rate (murder, robbery, assault) has gone down 34 percent. Property crime rate (burglary, theft) has gone down 26 percent, both for the years between 1994 and 2005( If immigrants are a large part of crime in the U.S., then shouldn’t the crime rates go up?

Now, imagine your family starving, your kids are sick, and there is nothing you can do about it, what would you do? My parents came from a country where they had almost nothing, now they own a house and have a healthy family, which never has gone hungry. It’s the American dream. America is capitalism, plain and simple. People want to make money, they want things cheaper and of better quality. It seems we care less about outsourcing our jobs to other countries than keeping them here, where our money can circulate. When jobs go to an illegal immigrant, they’ll go out and spend their money. I know, I’ve seen it, my uncles throw parties all the time; they go out and buy sodas, beans, rice and hamburger patties. They throw expensive parties, and where do they buy most of their supplies? Wal-Mart. That’s how my family and other “illegal” families make the money flow in America.

U.S. citizens are now saying that they will go and do jobs immigrants are doing. Then why don’t I see huge lines of people waiting with applications in their hands, in front of places where hundreds of immigrants got laid off? If illegal immigrants were to get laid off from the fields, who would work them? An American would. An American who wants higher wages and health benefits, and maybe a 401k plan. If that happened then the price of produce would rise. Now oranges wouldn’t be cheap, and people would complain. That’s not America, the U.S. is something else, something better.

The United States of America is the land of the free. The land of opportunities and equal rights. This is the “melting pot.” To me, the American-born-son-of-an-immigrant, this is freedom land.