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Published:August 18th, 2005 08:12 EST
Don't Ask Me, I'm Just Visiting

Don't Ask Me, I'm Just Visiting

By Sean Stubblefield

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic/ Latino population in The United States of America has been gradually increasing each year. The July 2000 census recorded approximately 35,641,782 nationwide. A year later, by July 2001, that total had risen to 36,972,219.

The estimated Hispanic population of the United States, as of July 1, 2003 was almost 40 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic minority.

The most recent State and County Characteristic population estimates-- for July 1, 2004 -- were released August 11, 2005.

Last year, it seems that there were an estimated 7,781,211 Hispanics in Texas alone, while California was home to about 12,442,625; approximately 34% of the total population for each state. In New Mexico, there were 823,350, comprising 43% of this state’s total population; the highest relative percentage of Hispanics in any state. Keep in mind that these estimates do not necessarily account for all unregistered and illegally immigrated Hispanics.

Suffice it to say, there are quite a lot of Hispanics living in America today, particularly in the southern regions. Why are there so many located in the southern states of Texas, California and New Mexico? Because these states are along the Mexican/ American border, they enable easier access to the U.S. for Hispanic immigrants.

Many Hispanics manage to sneak across the border into America, as they wish… on foot, smuggled or stowed away. Without so much as a “pardon me” or “please, may I?”.

I have lived most of my life in or around Houston, Texas, and I can tell you first hand that there is a huge and growing Hispanic population here. And there’s nothing wrong with that, in itself. I have called a few Hispanic individuals my friend.

I am not prejudiced against Hispanic people, as such, don’t mind them being here, and don’t mind being around or among them. That’s not what this is about.

The problem is that there are many Hispanics who cross our southern borders illegally from Mexico, Central America and South America, assuming residence in The United States illegally. There has been such an influx of illegal immigrants from the south in recent years that America’s border patrols can’t adequately monitor and defend against illegal entry, instigating the formation of a non-government sanctioned volunteer militia group called The Minutemen.

Let us all be clear on the point that these illegal Hispanic immigrants are not citizens; by definition, they are at best trespassers and at worst intruders. Whatever their intensions or expectations may be for coming into America. However nice or capable they are is beside the point. They have not officially been permitted access and do not belong in this country. Even if they are only in town for a brief stay, or just passing through, they should at least let us know they are coming, and at most, ask if they can enter.

It’s the polite thing to do.

This policy, this law, doesn’t apply only to Hispanics, but to any and all illegal immigrants, regardless of who they are, or where and how they enter this country.

Now, if these people were just visiting, here temporarily, legally or not, then I would not expect them to have to learn or live by our ways. And even then, they are visitors or our guests, and should have the decency and courtesy to wipe their feet at the door and obey the house rules. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Many of these illegal immigrants— Hispanic and not-- simply want to live in America without being Americans, and have no respect or appreciation for American ways; they merely want to “take advantage” of American resources. However, some of those here illegally, while not citizens, do join American society and even behave as an American.

While some of those here legally, and even those who become citizens, decline to act like citizens. They all come to America hoping to make a better life for themselves and their families in the “land of liberty and opportunity”, which is perfectly understandable and commendable. That’s fine, as long as you are here with permission. Although, with permission or not, it would be nice for you to make yourselves useful while here, and refrain from making a mess or a nuisance of yourselves. This goes to everyone! Not just immigrants. America may occasionally be charitable, but it is not a charity, and would not want to become a charity case. Plus, no one likes a parasite.

Some of them have been known to send some of these American resources to families in other countries. A few of them are here to take from America, with no concern for giving back anything so much as a “thank you”. Please, don’t abuse American hospitality.

Indeed, I have noticed that several of them— probably a great many, and not only Hispanics-- expressly segregate themselves within this country, deliberately creating their own informal nation within a nation. They defy and disregard American customs and refuse to learn English, the national language. It seems to me that the attitude of these particular immigrants is often one of irresponsibility and disrespect; this isn’t really their home, so why should they make an effort to maintain or contribute to its well being?

Let someone else deal with the consequences of their actions.

Granted, unfortunately, this mentality also applies to plenty of legitimate citizens, but that’s another story. And sure, some of these illegal immigrants do find jobs, make themselves useful and contribute to our society in some meaningful manner. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that they were not invited. Someone might break into my house and tidy up the place a bit while they help themselves to my fridge, but that doesn’t make it alright.

Hispanic immigration, legal and illegal, has become so profuse in our society, especially in the south, that many businesses and government institutions feel it necessary to become bilingual in order to accommodate them. Employees and signs and documents are often transcribed and printed in Spanish, as well as English.

Rather than require residents to learn the local language, we are expected to cater to them so that they won’t have to learn our language.

Instead, WE have to learn THEIR language?!

I suspect that may be more a matter of facilitating the taking of their money than as a kindness.

I believe it makes sense that if they are going to set up shop or home in America and want to utilize American resources then they should know how to speak and read English, to some extent. If they can’t read English, then they shouldn’t be driving or getting driver’s licenses. If they want to order food in a restaurant, they’d better learn to read the menu and speak to the wait staff, because the majority of the menus and the common language are in English. If for no other reason than convenience.

If you care enough about a country that you choose to make it your home— especially one you were not born or raised in, then it seems to me that you should care enough to learn the language and familiarize yourself with the culture. Simply by living in and among the locals— even for a short time, you can’t help but pick up a few words, if not traits, either by exposure or for the sake of expediency. It makes life easier and more civilized when people are able to communicate and relate with each other.

So if they aren’t learning the language, then they must not be interacting with the locals. If they aren’t interacting with the locals, then they are isolating themselves from the general population and not making an attempt to integrate themselves into the society. They aren’t truly countrymen, but are visitors, and should behave accordingly as visitors in another person’s home.

America can barely sustain it’s own indigenous population fairly; the addition of illegal immigrants is an unwanted and unnecessary burden on resources, and a violation of our good will (not to mention our law). And it needs to end. I realize America is great and all, but as much as we may appreciate your wanting to be here to share in our glorious bounty, you gotta get permission from the American government first. And even then, that doesn’t guarantee that we have enough to go around for everyone, equally or not.

Of course, some of the people who should read this… can’t.

Or won’t.