Immigration – illegal and legal – is still the five hundred pound gorilla in the room that our politicians refused to address. For example, even though most folks know that President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus act, what most folks don’t know is that the Democrats in the Senate quietly removed the E-verify portion. Our country’s unemployment rate is nearing 10 percent, and our elected officials are not concerned that the jobs from the stimulus bill will go to American citizens first.

Just two weeks ago, day laborers rallied at the corner of Milwaukee and Belmont, asking Mayor Daley for more jobs for them. Wait a second! Day laborers rallying for work? Are those some of the same folks who don’t have the proper paperwork to work and be in this country-and they rally for jobs? What about the citizens of this city who are being taxed to death to provide everything under the sun that this society offers- immigration status be damned?

I have found it very interesting that a variety of newspapers are now reporting that the United States isn’t looking like such a wonderful place to remain in during this period of hard economics times. The Tribune Magazine that comes with the Sunday paper had a headline story in January. It told of how Polish “immigrants” are no longer flocking to Chicago. The gist of the story was that those Poles who came into this country on student visas and then just stayed are now considering returning to Poland. Some of the reasons given are the better economic times in Poland, their ability to get jobs in any country that are part of the European Union and the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement raids.

I have seen a variety of stories about Mexicans who are returning to Mexico, sending fewer remittances back, or are just opting to stay in Mexico because of the economic conditions in this country. A very interesting story in a newspaper this week concerned Latinos, who are U.S. citizens already, and how the issue of immigration is low on their priority list. They too are suffering from the rough financial times. Issues like economics, education and health care are higher on their main-concern list than immigration.

Another story is making the news: That a huge number of highly-educated Chinese and Indian individuals are leaving the United States and returning to their native countries. Why? Because those countries are now offering good job opportunities and many didn’t feel like they adjusted well to living here. Many of those workers who came to this country on a H1-B visa replaced American workers. As an H1-B visa holder, they don’t pay federal taxes and yet they benefit from everything this society offers. And as with all who come to this country, legally and illegally, if they have children born here, those kids are automatically given U.S. citizenship due to no one having challenged the true legal interpretation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Can this country continue to be the “ala carte menu” for any and all peoples of the world who can pick and choose when and how they want to participate in it? Can we afford to be the final destination when times are good and the first departure when times get tough? Can we continue to ignore the immigration issues that are going on in this country while our politicians quiver in their boots in order to try to be “politically correct”?

I am not ashamed to be an American citizen. I am not a xenophobe or anti-immigration. But I am a realist. And reality is a cruel acknowledgement that as a country, we have to be concerned about this country first. For those of us where this is our “home” country, we need to speak out and stand up for what we want. We cannot pay for a tax recovery for this country while helping to fulfill the desires of those here illegally. Nor for those who were brought into this country legally to displace Americans from jobs so that CEOs can make millions and shareholders get dividends.

If you have never seen the ABC show Homeland Security on Tuesday nights, check it out. It is also available over the internet on the ABC homepage. It gives a pretty fair-handed insight into what this country is facing and should be required viewing for everyone.