Immigrants shouldn't get special status

Immigration to this country has never benefited the descendants of slaves

Opinion

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

Immigration to this country has never been a situation that has benefitted the descendants of enslaved Africans. We are the only group whose presence in this country did not take place in a voluntary manner. Legal immigration brought in a specific numbers of European immigrants, and they fought to take their place at the table known as America. White skin became the unifying characteristic, even though both the Irish and the Italians (especially Sicilians) had to overcome ethnic stereotypes. With other racial/ethnic groups, their numbers were so small, they weren't deemed as significant.

All of that changed as significant numbers of people of Hispanic origin began to stake a claim in this country over the past 30 years. Whereas in the past many of them had come in as "migrant farm workers," they soon learned if they just stayed, no one would do or say anything about it. Add Ronald Reagan's amnesty deal back in 1986, and the floodgates opened as millions of folks began entering this country illegally in hopes of forcing another amnesty. The number of people here has grown so quickly, and with so many, that as a collective group, Hispanics are now America's largest "minority."

Chicago became a "sanctuary city" back in 1985 under then-mayor Harold Washington. Every subsequent mayor has affirmed that designation with the current mayor bending over backwards to doubly embrace it. President Trump had barely been in office for two weeks when Emanuel declared that Chicago would remain a sanctuary city. Later, Emmanuel hosted a dinner at his house and even his wife's name, which is rarely mentioned in the press, was front and center as they hosted a tableful of young illegal aliens.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then the message from Rahm is clear: He'll take an endorsement from Obama to get the black vote, but he is staking his future on those who cannot vote and their corresponding parents.

The label "American" doesn't automatically mean that one is white, blonde, and has blue eyes. Neither does being Hispanic mean that one has brown skin because of Native American ancestry. There are millions of white Hispanics who are taking advantage of that "minority" label and often at black folks' expense. So I began to wonder. Why are those who have come to this country legally or illegally entitled to any special consideration? Why are they even considered a minority group? They have no historical basis on which to base their claim. And even if their numbers collectively make them a large group, why are they considered anything other than just another group like the Irish, Italians or Poles?

It was a radio interview with a local Hispanic activist that made me begin to question why. The man proudly told of how his parents came here illegally. He was born here and he was fighting for Hispanics' fair share of the pie. As the interview went on, he was asked about why districts belonging to Mike Madigan and Ed Burke, which are predominately Hispanic, continue to elect those two to office as opposed to putting a Hispanic in the same position.

His response was telling. He basically said there was no need to replace a white person who was bringing them home the bacon. I also thought I heard an undertone that was saying that blacks put blacks in position and still we don't get anything. Hispanics, on the other hand, aren't going down that same road. They are being handed their share of the pie even at black folks' expense.

As we celebrate July 4th knowing that in 1776 our ancestors were enslaved and would not see freedom for 87 more years (89 if they were in Texas), let us focus on how we can best make this country work for us. We need to specifically voice that no one who enters this country after 1865 should become a minority in front of us. They are just immigrants and should be treated like any other group.

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