but my ancestors did it legally

I just watched President Obama’s speech on immigration from Las Vegas (see below). I actually liked and agreed with much of what he said. I like some of his ideas. But there is one passage that I find a bit offensive:

“It’s really important for us to remember our history. Unless you are one of the first Americans, a native American, you came from some place else. Somebody brought you…the Irish who left behind a land of famine, the Germans who fled persecution, the Scandanavians who arrived eager to pioneer out west, the Polish, the Russians, the Italians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the West Indians, the huddles masses who came through Ellis Island on one coast and Angel Island on the other. All those folks, before they were us, they were them.”

President Obama needs to be careful when he compares today’s illegal immigrants to our ancestors who did it legally. My 2nd great grandfather, Francois LeGrave, left Antwerp and arrived in Rosiere (Kewaunee Co) in 1856. He registered as a legal citizen of the U.S. He legally bought land from his father and from the government. In the winter of 1889, he made and sold 337 pairs wooden shoes, for a total of $64.38. He busted his butt, and he did all this legally.

What bothers me about “illegal immigration” is the first word, not the second. I’m all for immigration. If you’re a citizen of another country, I say come to the U.S. I don’t care of you’re Mexican, Belgian, German, or whatever. Bring your family. Become a citizen. Work hard and enjoy the American life, just like my ancestors did. But do it the right way.

And if you choose not to do it the right way, then you’re committing a crime. It’s that simple. And as a criminal, you and your family are going to have a tough time.

For more related posts, see my immigration category.

Comments 2

  • Except the land was already occupied by native Americans. Sorry for bursting your bubble.

  • Nope, no bubble bursted. Your statement Jessica is just reiterating what President Obama said. Yes, my ancestors came from somewhere else. But they looked into the laws of the United States, and followed them, something that today’s illegal immigrants are not doing.