I am writing to you as a concerned and sympathetic American who is a Republican. My sentiments do not represent those of every American — that would be impossible. But I believe the following represents what most Americans believe.
First, a message to those of you here illegally:
You may be very surprised to hear this, but in your position, millions of Americans, including me, would have done what you did.
If I lived in a poor country with a largely corrupt government, a country in which I had little or no hope for an improved life for me and my children, and I could not legally get into the world’s freest, most affluent country, the country with the most opportunities for people of any and every background, I would do whatever I could do to get into that country illegally.
Mexico and many other Latin American countries are largely hopeless places for most of their people. America offers hope to everyone willing to work hard. Who could not understand why any individual, let alone a father or mother of a family, would try to get into the United States — legally preferably, illegally if necessary?
Now that I have made it clear that millions of us understand what motivates you and do not morally condemn you for entering America illegally, I have to ask you to try to understand what motivates us.
No country in the world can allow unlimited immigration. If America opened its borders to all those who wish to live here, hundreds of millions of people would come in. That would, of course, mean the end of the United States economically and culturally.
If you are from Mexico, you know that Mexico’s treatment of illegal immigrants from south of its border is far harsher than is my country’s of illegal immigrants from your country and elsewhere.
All it takes is common sense to understand that we simply cannot afford to take care of all of you in our medical, educational, penal, and other institutions. However much you may pay in sales tax, most illegal immigrants are a financial and social burden in those states in which most of them settle.
Yes, many of you are also a blessing. Many of you take care of our children and our homes. Others of you prepare our food and do other work that is essential to our society. We know that. As individuals, the great majority of you are hardworking, responsible, decent people.
But none of that answers the question: How many people can this country allow to come in?
The moment you answer that question is the moment you realize that Americans’ worries about illegal immigration have nothing to do with “racism” or any negative feeling toward Hispanics.
Those who tell you it is racism or xenophobia are lying about their fellow Americans for political or ideological reasons. You know from your daily interactions with Americans that the vast majority of us treat you with the dignity that every fellow human being deserves. Your daily lives are the most eloquent refutation of the charge of racism and bigotry. The charge is a terrible lie. Please don’t believe it. You know it is not true.
Democrats will act as your defenders, telling you that opposition to your presence here is race-based. There is no truth to that. As you probably know in your hearts, you have come to the least racist place on earth. The vast majority of us could not care less if your name is Gonzalez or Jones. That’s why the chances are fifty-fifty that the child of Hispanic immigrants will end up marrying a non-Hispanic American.