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  • Writer's pictureFrank Victoria

Let Them Come Legally and Become Americans

There are significant costs of having millions of illegal immigrants. When I say that, you might consider me an anti-immigrant xenophobe. I AM NOT! I welcome immigrants—if they enter this country legally. And if they assimilate into American culture like so many who came before them.



In my award-winning novel, The Founders’ Plot, my main character is a newly elected governor of California named Mike DiGrasso. In in his inauguration speech he says,

The people who elected me are not against immigrants. But they want them to assimilate into American culture as others have. They see nothing anti-immigrant about their dislike of having to ‘press one for English, y dos por espanol,' or neighborhoods where storefront signs and billboards are in a foreign language.

 

At a press conference after he pushes through a tough immigration law, he’s asked if the law was racist and anti-immigrant. He answers,

The race card is an emotional response, not a logical one, and I’d like any of those critics to specifically pick out any provisions of this law that are racist. What illegals are doing is unlawful, and we will enforce the law regardless of race or nationality.  


As far as being anti-immigrant, suffice it to say that my grandparents were immigrants. And it’s a good thing they came here, too, because if they hadn’t, I’d be trying to grow tomatoes someplace in Sicily.

 

I welcome immigrants, legal immigrants. And I believe most Americans do, too. They are immigrants themselves or descended from immigrants. They look at them the way I do—people who are part of the fiber of the United States, people who built, and are still building, this country by doing dirty, backbreaking work to give their families a shot at the American dream.

 

I put those words in his mouth because they reflect my attitude about immigrants. I want immigrants to enter my country legally and to embrace out history and culture and speak our language. That’s the way it used to be. I remember as a young kid asking my grandmother to teach me Italian. She declined, saying, “You’re an American. Speak English.” She was proud to become an American.

 

My parents were the same. My father fought in World War II in the Pacific. He was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. He was a patriot and loved this country. I was a baby when he went to war. No doubt my mother had many sleepless nights wondering if he would come back alive or if she’d be a widowed mother of a young child. But she accepted the need for my father to risk his life to fight for this country. Like so many others after Pearl Harbor, my father tried to enlist in the army. They turned him down because he was too old. He was 32. Six months later, he was drafted.

 

Frankly, I don’t consider myself an “Italian American.” I consider myself an American of Italian descent, of which I’m quite proud considering the contributions Italians have made going back to the vast and powerful Roman Empire in science, art, literature, music, and countless inventions.

 

Let me further dispel any further idea of xenophobia. After spending more than twenty years as a business writer, I made a career change into education and taught history and civics in the Chicago Public Schools. My school was probably about 90 percent Hispanic, mainly Mexican. I got to know the students’ parents and the Hispanic teachers very well. All but a few were law abiding, hardworking people whom I came to respect and who respected me. Same with the students. Sure, there are always a few troublemakers, but by and large they were great kids for whom I developed great affection. A few of them still stay in touch with me—and I retired almost 20 years ago.


What say you?

Frank

Frank Victoria is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He’s been an Amazon bestseller with his recent book,The Founders’ Plot, a political thriller for our times. He donates proceeds of his books to Tunnels to Towers and Fisher House, helping military veterans and first responders. His novella,The Ultimate Bet is available on his website and Amazon. Check out his new website:Frank M. Victoria

©2024 Frank Victoria



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