Emory Report
March 3, 2008
Volume 60, Number 22


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March 3, 2008
Policy must begin with what’s happened

Alexander Escobar is a senior lecturer in biology and past chair of the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity.

As the son of Hispanic immigrants, I find myself wondering about the anger and hostility toward illegal immigrants in this country. It is true that they are here illegally, but the reality is that they would not be here if the jobs were not here for them.

America would be shocked by the transformation that would occur if they were whisked off tomorrow. The most direct effect would be the instant and increased cost for all the produce we eat, the restaurant food we enjoy and even the computers we use.

Immigrants are not our enemies, they support our economy as it is. Without them, there would be huge price to pay from our collective pockets. Even if we could get these illegals to vanish, what shall we do with their American children? These kids are just as much citizens as you and I.

The only way forward is to make changes that will start now and work within the parameters of what has already occurred.

We should be tough on security at the border.

For those already here who have been working hard for years, we need to give the chance to become American citizens. We must also create a guest worker program for the U.S.

Our fathers or forefathers were all immigrants. All of them came to this country to create a better life for themselves and their children. This is the American dream and it is part of what it means to be American. I am proud to be part of a country that offers opportunities (not handouts), and it is clear that this productive and hard-working spirit is found in our newest immigrants from the south.