The New Leftist Argument: Illegal Aliens Are Actually Here Legally
Ever notice how the left changes the narrative by demanding a shift in language? Abortion becomes pro-choice, but the outcome is unchanged. Vagrants became the homeless, only to become the unhoused, again with the same outcome and common thread of addiction and mental illness. I realize this happens all the time, but recently in my home city in Colorado, we just witnessed a linguistic innovation that leaves me in awe. One of our local leftist activists managed to transform the term illegal alien (i.e., a person in the US illegally), bypassing “migrant” and “undocumented immigrant” to—get this—“person here legally”! Wow, I wish our side could find that brand of Kool-Aid in the store.
First, I need to get something out of my system. I strongly object to the word “immigrant” as applied to aliens who are here illegally. An immigrant is a person who files the requisite applications, receives the requisite approvals after being properly vetted, and then waits his turn to be admitted based on US priorities. It may take time, even several years, but those who are here legally waited their turn and so must (should) everyone. An illegal alien is not a migrant or an immigrant, period.
But, back to my story: In a thread on the NextDoor platform about providing clothing to those people whom Gov. Abbott bussed to ice-station Denver, a reader questioned the legality of these migrants’ presence in our states. The immediate response from this luminary was, “Actually, they are legal!” How did she achieve this mental triple-axel? Simple. If the Border Patrol stands by while a multitude walks in or hands out appearance tickets for court dates in the next decade—voila!—they are here legally!
No vetting of any kind, no criminal background check, no attention paid to US labor/skillset needs, nothing. Just overwhelmed Border Patrol Agents performing a perfunctory processing of people we know nothing about. Yet, according to our leftist brethren, they are here legally. Amazing!
Image: The left’s “legal” immigrants. YouTube screen grab.
I will note that this activist made no public mention of the mother and son killed the month before in our city. Jose Menjiaur-Alas (who uses the alias Jose Menjivar), a habitual criminal, got drunk and drove a truck 100 mph into a 30-mph zone near a high school and killed the pair. Menjiaur-Alas is an illegal alien who has been deported four times! I have no doubt that this activist would consider Menjiaur-Alas to have been in the US legally; after all, the Border Patrol stood by as he walked in.
We can only suppose that the mob of illegal aliens that beat two NYPD officers, only to flip us the bird when DA Alvan Bragg released them, was, similarly, here “legally.” Nearly two-thirds of all federal arrests involve non-citizens, but I suppose that, according to the left, they are here legally, too.
As an example of an actual, real immigrant who did it the right way, I would like to introduce Paris Svoronos. Svoronos is Greek by birth but grew up in Egypt, where his father worked as an engineer. He earned a B.S. in chemistry and physics at American University-Cairo in 1973 and went to Georgetown University on an F1 student visa for a Ph.D. (with the allowable $39 in his pocket). By 1979, with Ph.D. in hand, Svoronos was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at Trinity College, which sponsored his application for permanent residence (i.e., a green card). He was on his way toward citizenship but for a few glitches along the way.
As luck would have it, the immigration lawyer hired had a personality conflict with the reviewing Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) official, and Svoronos was ordered to leave the US within three weeks. After an appeal and additional costs, his green card application was back on track, and after another five years, he would be permitted to apply for US citizenship. He married, moved to New York City to teach at Queensborough Community College (Q-CC), and fathered a beautiful daughter (now a neurocritical care physician at Mt. Sinai Hospital).
Another glitch came when he applied for citizenship: His case took two years to pass through the bureaucracy, at which point his daughter was joined by a brother (now on the faculty of Harvard). This time, the INS rejected the application because of the discrepancy in the number of offspring; “Sir, I had one child when I applied, but it’s been two years, and now I have two.” Back to square one.
But undeterred, Svoronos wrote his appeal directly to President Reagan and was given an appointment with INS after only three weeks! At this meeting, he was put to the test. Who is the lieutenant governor of New York: Stan Lundine. Who are the justices of the Supreme Court: He named all nine. Who was the president (other than George Washington) who had appointed the most Supreme Court justices: FDR.
Svoronos aced it, and on June 6, 1987, he became a US citizen! He likes to point out that he was born Greek by accident, was raised in Egypt by accident, but became an American by choice!
So, what did Svoronos do with his citizenship, won after so many years? He chose to spend 40 years at Q-CC serving (legal) immigrant students starting at rock bottom poverty. Many awards followed, including being the first CC Carnegie Foundation/CASE chemistry professor of the year (2003), the Stanley Israel Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences (2018), being named a fellow of the American Chemical Society (2018), and being the only CC prof to be the Norris Foundation professor of the year (2021).
Svornos’s most treasured accolades, though, are the countless cards/letters from his students who have gone on to become MDs, DDSs, DVMs, and PhDs. I have seen this collection, and I envy the joy his students attribute directly and solely to him, and not to the unexceptional Ed.D. administrators and DEI officers. His service was a way to say thank you to the country he loves, which has given him the opportunity to change lives.
Retired now, walking with a cane after three knee replacements (one was botched), he remains for me a friend and the greatest example of what an immigrant can bring to the US. Having to work for his citizenship made him appreciate its meaning, an attitude as far as you can get from the entitled illegal aliens whom intellectual lightweight activists summarily declare “legal.”
Dr. Bruno, a scientist retired after more than 40 years in research, amuses himself writing books and editing scientific journals, along with wood and metalworking.