Mexicans are not the problem, terrorists are.

Weir Thinking About It

Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with a woman who told me she was a regular reader of my column and agreed with me, most of the time. She went on to say that there was a topic in a column a few weeks ago that she took exception to. It was this one about Governor Schwarzenegger saying the US should close the border with Mexico until we found a way to stop the invasion of illegal immigrants. Although, he quickly reversed himself, saying he meant, 'secure' the border, I wrote, 'He was right the first time.'

The woman, a Mexican—American, said it came across as though I was anti—Mexican. Her comment was particularly stunning to me for several reasons, not the least of which is that I've been married twice, each time to marvelous women of Spanish origin. In addition, my brother, my 5 sisters and I were raised by a woman who never allowed prejudice to corrupt the minds of her children. We grew up never hearing a racist comment in our home; it was probably the greatest legacy a parent can leave to a child.
 
All of this was swirling around in my mind as I listened carefully to this very charming, sincere, articulate woman explain her feelings regarding what I had written. I had an impulse to defend myself against her criticism by saying something humorous, like, 'Some of my best friends have been Hispanics.' But, I felt it would only come across as patronizing, a mode of behavior I abhor, so I engaged her in debate.

She felt that Mexicans were getting a bad rap because all they wanted was to come here to work, and, since there were so many employers willing to hire them, and so many jobs that Americans were unwilling to perform, she wondered why these job—seekers were viewed as invaders. Furthermore, she added, many American employers take advantage of their southern neighbors because they know they have something on them; their immigration status. She would get no argument from me there; however, I asked her how we, that is, all of us Americans, including her, were going to protect ourselves from terrorists who may be sneaking across the border with another purpose in mind, that of destroying America.
 
She acknowledged the danger and agreed that strong measures must be taken to keep America—haters from our soil, but she felt that every time the word, 'border' is used, it is directed against Mexicans, and it's never favorable. She definitely has a point, given the fact that we also have a huge border with Canada, yet we don't associate Canadians with 'border issues.' (To be fair, millions of Canadians have not streamed across our northern border without benefit of immigration formalities.) This woman was merely stating how she feels as a proud American of Mexican descent, of which she is equally proud. Certainly, we can all understand and agree with such nationalistic pride, given our roots as an immigrant nation.

Nevertheless, we face a potential crisis of monumental proportions if we don't stop and identify those who find their way into this country every day. How long will it be before another cataclysmic disaster strikes: not from airplanes, but from bombs made by terrorists who have migrated illegally and set up shop in the middle of a heavily populated city? As we struggle with the sensitive nature of prejudice, including the perception of same, and its effect on millions of decent, proud, hardworking people of  Hispanic descent, we must also take precautionary steps to guard against the next bloody assault on our country.

Terrorists will not discriminate; they'll kill people of every race and etnicity, as long as they are Americans. Similarly, we cannot afford to be held hostage by the constant fear of stepping on someone's delicate sensibilities while we face an unrelenting menace from cold—blooded killers who couldn't care less about the color of the skin, the texture of the hair, or the language of the tongue they seek to reduce to smoldering ashes. Instead, we must put pressure on our government to do the most important job they were elected to do, the job of keeping us safe.

As much as I respect the woman who took issue with me, I must continue to make the point that illegal immigration is so out of control it poses the single biggest crisis to the future survival of the US. Perhaps it's time for all of us to remove the hyphen and defend the country we have chosen to call our home. That's not bigotry, it's self—preservation. 

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. BobWeir777@aol.com

Weir Thinking About It

Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with a woman who told me she was a regular reader of my column and agreed with me, most of the time. She went on to say that there was a topic in a column a few weeks ago that she took exception to. It was this one about Governor Schwarzenegger saying the US should close the border with Mexico until we found a way to stop the invasion of illegal immigrants. Although, he quickly reversed himself, saying he meant, 'secure' the border, I wrote, 'He was right the first time.'

The woman, a Mexican—American, said it came across as though I was anti—Mexican. Her comment was particularly stunning to me for several reasons, not the least of which is that I've been married twice, each time to marvelous women of Spanish origin. In addition, my brother, my 5 sisters and I were raised by a woman who never allowed prejudice to corrupt the minds of her children. We grew up never hearing a racist comment in our home; it was probably the greatest legacy a parent can leave to a child.
 
All of this was swirling around in my mind as I listened carefully to this very charming, sincere, articulate woman explain her feelings regarding what I had written. I had an impulse to defend myself against her criticism by saying something humorous, like, 'Some of my best friends have been Hispanics.' But, I felt it would only come across as patronizing, a mode of behavior I abhor, so I engaged her in debate.

She felt that Mexicans were getting a bad rap because all they wanted was to come here to work, and, since there were so many employers willing to hire them, and so many jobs that Americans were unwilling to perform, she wondered why these job—seekers were viewed as invaders. Furthermore, she added, many American employers take advantage of their southern neighbors because they know they have something on them; their immigration status. She would get no argument from me there; however, I asked her how we, that is, all of us Americans, including her, were going to protect ourselves from terrorists who may be sneaking across the border with another purpose in mind, that of destroying America.
 
She acknowledged the danger and agreed that strong measures must be taken to keep America—haters from our soil, but she felt that every time the word, 'border' is used, it is directed against Mexicans, and it's never favorable. She definitely has a point, given the fact that we also have a huge border with Canada, yet we don't associate Canadians with 'border issues.' (To be fair, millions of Canadians have not streamed across our northern border without benefit of immigration formalities.) This woman was merely stating how she feels as a proud American of Mexican descent, of which she is equally proud. Certainly, we can all understand and agree with such nationalistic pride, given our roots as an immigrant nation.

Nevertheless, we face a potential crisis of monumental proportions if we don't stop and identify those who find their way into this country every day. How long will it be before another cataclysmic disaster strikes: not from airplanes, but from bombs made by terrorists who have migrated illegally and set up shop in the middle of a heavily populated city? As we struggle with the sensitive nature of prejudice, including the perception of same, and its effect on millions of decent, proud, hardworking people of  Hispanic descent, we must also take precautionary steps to guard against the next bloody assault on our country.

Terrorists will not discriminate; they'll kill people of every race and etnicity, as long as they are Americans. Similarly, we cannot afford to be held hostage by the constant fear of stepping on someone's delicate sensibilities while we face an unrelenting menace from cold—blooded killers who couldn't care less about the color of the skin, the texture of the hair, or the language of the tongue they seek to reduce to smoldering ashes. Instead, we must put pressure on our government to do the most important job they were elected to do, the job of keeping us safe.

As much as I respect the woman who took issue with me, I must continue to make the point that illegal immigration is so out of control it poses the single biggest crisis to the future survival of the US. Perhaps it's time for all of us to remove the hyphen and defend the country we have chosen to call our home. That's not bigotry, it's self—preservation. 

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. BobWeir777@aol.com