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Column: Invaders? Of course not

Do you remember reading in history about how Russians hired invading German soldiers in World War II? What about how the Kuwaitis found jobs for Iraqi troops when Saddam Hussein took over Kuwait in 1990?

Of course, you don’t remember. That’s because people don’t hire invaders.

In the discussion about immigration – always a hot one on Sauk Valley Media’s website – let’s not refer to those who illegally cross our border as invaders. They’re not.

Last month, I wrote a column that questioned the use of the term “illegal immigrants” when society declines to label those who hire them as “illegal employers.” That piece got quite a few comments on our website.

“These people I call illegal invaders,” Jack Eich wrote. “They have broken the law of our country regarding immigration. ... What if we invaded Mexico? We would be shot or jailed. There is a rule of law that must be followed.”

A bad comparison, Jack. Mexico hasn’t invaded the United States.

To be fair, though, Jack also calls for employers who put “illegal invaders” to work under false Social Security numbers to be jailed or fined. But this assertion undercuts his argument that Mexicans are invading U.S. territory. 

Reader Steven Humphrey had a different take.

“It’s a problem of illegal employers utilizing slave labor while the general public is fed a meme that these folks are horrible leeches who need to be deported,” he wrote. “Those illegal employers are sure making out just fine with the situation, and immigrants busting their humps get demonized and eventually deported.”

Mark Cassens suggested calling those who illegally cross the border “economic refugees.”

“We can say they’re breaking the law, but who among us wouldn’t try to get across a soft border to go from poverty to economic security? But once you’re here, assimilate to the nation, language and all. No more ‘reconquista’ nonsense. Mexico is clearly weaker economically. If California or Texas were part of Mexico, they’d be poor, too, so put up the Mexican flag for cultural moments, then take it down.”

I have cousins who worry that the Spanish language is slowly pushing English off its perch. They dislike having to press 1 for English. But their fears are unfounded. Sure, new immigrants might not speak English, but their children will go to school and learn it. This is no different from other waves of immigrants throughout our nation’s history.

So let’s be realistic about immigration. People want jobs here. They’re not invading our country or seeking reconquista.

David Giuliani is a reporter for Sauk Valley Media. He can be reached at dgiuliani@saukvalley or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525. 

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