Thank you Jennifer Colton for your invitation to comment on your recent article in the Hermiston Herald.
I wonder how many Latinos have realized that President Obamas plan is identical to those immigration plans proposed by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, President Bush, Speaker Newt Gingrich, and countless others who have contemplated this problem.
President Obama indicated that his proposal would not be approved as a permanent solution and stated that it could only be a temporary fix. However, he is no different from all the politicians who continue to speculate and dance around the facts that must be deliberated in order to solve this inherent problem. Lets consider the reasons that grew from acceptable lifestyles and expectations with little or no idea that immigration would someday be a major negative factor within the great American social structure. But lets not dance around or advocate more of the same. What we need to do is put the problems on the table and for all of us to contemplate.
First, why did Mexicans come to America? Something politicians lack is the compassion and understanding endured by the suffering and heartbreak of what they left behind and the hard road getting here. Our leaders must realize the emotional upheaval to those who now have lost the few rays of hope to better themselves, and to be belittled and disgraced by a nation that many of them thought would be a welcomed life.
Ill start by telling anyone who will listen that America didnt find anything wrong when the farming industry invited those who could find their way to come and work the fields and that by doing so they could better America and better their lifestyle. So they came and stood on the street corners in places like Oxnard, Calif., Rupert, Idaho and Ontario, Ore., and the farmers picked them up and took them to the fields and brought them back at night. They worked when they could, to make a better life. They fitted themselves with belts that held gunny sacks on hooks from the back of the belt, and from a board in the front they hooked a sack, as they picked while they walked, bent over, hour after hour up and down the rows of potatoes for four to five cents a sack. They made a living, but it was hard. They left the spud fields when the day became too hot because the farmer did not want the sun to burn the spuds. Then they went to the onion fields where they would top the onions until exhausted or the field work was completed, or go the beet fields to block and thin the crop, or pull weeds.
Im not Mexican, but I worked the work and made some good friends. Now some of my friends are faced with being deported to a country they dont even remember. Many of them are senior citizens like me. Many of them have children and grandchildren, born and raised in this country. Those children of course are not subject to deportation but the parents and grandparents are faced with the non-compassionate rhetoric of the political pundits who think they are doing the right thing. Selfless people who never thought they would be sent back to a country they dont remember and to stand in line with little or no hope of being allowed to come back to their homes in America.
President Obama is now concerned with the young children and wants to give them temporary amnesty, and Gov. Romney, who agrees that we should have a plan, but doesnt have a solution either. Of course they are handicapped by the rules and statutes that have been enacted to restrict and punish supposedly to make them leave for Mexico. These same rules and statutes also promote lawlessness and confusion. It confounds me why our leaders will not set up a worker program. A program such as those for farm laborers to meet the seasonal needs. A program that will permit sponsors to apply for those with special talents which are not easily filled by American citizens.
I have a lot more to say, but not today...
FRANK E. VINCENT HERMISTON