OK, here we go. Although it's a subject close to my heart––I came as an immigrant who had to take tests to gain citizenship––I don't often make a big deal about the immigration problem. However, I couldn't help but respond emotionally when NPR interviewed some people about the Arizona's check-for-immigration-papers law. My response wasn't about the law, rather to what one of the speakers––a legal immigrant from Mexico–-kept repeating.
He said that the 12 million (his number) illegals were here to better themselves economically. His contention was they are forced north because they don't have jobs in Mexico. That is a big problem. (He was from Mexico and didn't talk about Central or South America.) After talking with hundreds of Mexicans in the vineyards, I agree with the radio speaker. While some (I can't say what percentage) have adopted the United States as their new home, many come for a better job and still speak of Mexico as their home. No roots here.
I'm not at all prejudice against any people, just want to look at motives. To me, coming to earn money is far different from the motive my family had when we came to the United States. We needed to find a new home. The Communists had imprisoned my father to kill him. When some friends broke him out of jail, my parents escaped from Latvia.
We were looking for a new homeland. My parents chose the United States with the intent to plant roots. In my mind, that created a huge difference in attitude than someone coming simply to make a buck.
Not to sound too cotton candy-like in today's culture, but proudly, the United States is my home.