Immigration and My Story - by Ben Ordonez
Immigration is a hot button issue; and lines have been drawn, people are taking sides. It is an issue that cannot be ignored with a free world confronted by the threat of terrorism and with violent drug lords running narcotics into our country. The security of this nation is of utmost importance.
There are other priorities too. We need to stop anyone who would prey on innocent people trying to make a better future for themselves and their families. Thousands flock to the US, some risking life and limb, to come into this country illegally because they believe they no other choice to make their lives better.
We have a broken system where it can take years before someone is able to come into this country legally. However, this same person can come to this country illegally today and have a job, healthcare, and welfare. For someone who cannot feed his children, is there any other choice? What would you do?
Immigration is an issue very close to my heart; I understand and can relate. You see, thirty-five years ago my father brought us to this country. We came with a visa so I never had to risk my life crossing the border illegally. My father was a pipe fitter working on the construction of the nuclear plants in the Morris area. To bring his family here with him was a dream come true for him. However, the visas eventually expired and though he tried every legal means he could think of doing, he could not renew them. We remained in America, illegally.
My family was able to obtain legal status through the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty. By that point, I was married, and my wife had petitioned for my green card. However, because of the new regulations we still had to meet requirements stipulated under the amnesty. My dad longed for the day he could become a US citizen, but he passed away in 1992 before attaining his dream. I would not get my citizenship until 1999. Why? I lay it at the feet of the incompetence of the Immigration and Naturalization agency.
I hear speculation that all Hispanic illegals granted amnesty will vote Democrat. I don't think that's true. I am a perfect example of those who would not. I am a registered Republican, a precinct committeeman, and the leader of the Tea Party in my county. I love this country and though I was not born here, I have the privilege of being an adopted son of the United State of America. In 1999, I gave an oath to this country before my wife and children, and I have kept it by getting involved politically and inane other ways. Whether Hispanics become Republicans or Democrats depends on how they are treated and whether they perceive that they are wanted by the respective political parties.
What I hear from conservatives is that they expect immigrants that are given amnesty to swell the welfare rolls. The people I know who obtained citizenship through the last amnesty are not on welfare; they are hardworking individuals that have jobs, and many of them have become entrepreneurs. Some operate family businesses; others own apartment buildings. The majority of their children are college graduates, and they all work to support their families. One of these children, who came in through the amnesty, is now a young man who has served proudly in Iraq; he has put his life on the line for this country. His uncle also worked his way through college and now works for the Chicago Board of Trade.
I, myself, have worked my way up through the corporate ladder from selling computers at a retail chain, to being the first Hispanic to break the glass ceiling at a worldwide American corporation and reached the position of Global Systems Architect. I also held similar positions for three other fortune 500 and 1000 companies. I was also a business owner running a technology consulting company for three years that created five jobs in Illinois during that period. I am also a published author; my book has been published in three languages. I believe that among the twelve million illegals there are a lot of people like me those I mentioned who want to work hard to reach the American dream. We want to preserve and protect this great country of ours.
Many say illegals do not pay taxes and only use services for which they have not paid in the form of taxes. Though this may be true for some, many illegals do pay taxes. Stephan Goss,, chief actuary said "[Social Security] would have entered persistent shortfall of tax revenue to cover[payouts] starting [in]2009". Illegal immigrants do pay taxes; many of them were able to get a Social Security number, because there were no real checks in the process, while other use falsified numbers. Even the IRS gives Illegals a TIN number; this number allows Illegals to pay taxes.
Now I've heard it said that we are a nation of laws. Because laws must be followed, all these people must be sent back to their homelands. To be fair, if they are to be punished for breaking the law, shouldn't we hold others accountable for breaking the law? We need to hold accountable the businesses who hired them and the people who knowingly or unknowingly supported those businesses and rewarded this behavior. Our own government made it easier for them to come here illegally and actually rewarded those who made it. You see we all have participated and benefited. When people buy produce at cheap prices, they never stop to think that illegal alien labor was used to cultivate it. When others go to the restaurant they do not realize the prices are reasonable for the same reason. When you considered that about 5% of the labor force in this country is made up of illegal aliens, we have provided an environment for Illegal immigration to thrive.
Though this problem is on the news often, it is never fully covered; because you see a side from people crossing the border illegally, we also have companies who hire professional labor and take jobs away from college graduates here at home. What do I mean? The H1 visa program is abused; this program was designed to bring people who had skills that were hard to find or not found in this country. However, corporate America now uses it to replace American labor! We don't talk about that very much. I am familiar with it because I once worked for a major company that laid me off because my salary was too high. The company kept the H1 visa workers.
So, what are we to do? First and foremost, secure the border for our security and the security of those who are trying to get across. Second, reform the system to handle the applications and process them quicker. Third, address the twelve million people who are here. Setup a process to allow them to get legal status here in the states with the possibility of eventually getting a green card. Notice I said a green card not citizenship that has to be earned. We need criteria by which people would be allowed to stay in this country; only those who can support themselves and have done nothing else other than come across illegally and work here illegally. Anyone with a criminal record here or in their native country should be sent back. I believe Senator Rubio has a good framework, and for the good of the country and those who are here illegally, we need to address this issue in a fair manner to the country and to these people.