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Tue Jun 26, 2012, 02:15 PM

Why I'd Hire an Illegal Immigrant Again (A Father's Angels)

Just blocks from my home, a demonstration is underway. News crews are in full force barricades barely separate the two sides and their overwhelming mutual distaste and anger. I stand next to a young father, his small son perched upon his shoulders, and I'm struck by how much this boy resembles what my own son looked like more than a decade ago. I can't remember the last time I was able to hoist my two boys upon my shoulders, allowing them a broader worldview. Tonight, this little boy, with his crew cut, beaming dimples, soft brown complexion, and unyielding curiosity is mesmerized by the angry crowd. His tiny hands tightly grip his father's chin as he stares unfalteringly at the sea of angry white faces.

Nearby, a tearful teenage Hispanic girl describes the struggles of her high school friends with a local television reporter. "My friends know nothing else but this country." She explains that they crossed the border illegally with their parents as small children, and were raised and educated in the United States. Soon they'll be deported to a country where they declare no identity or allegiance.

Across the barricades, the insults grow volatile, as more intense, hateful yelling erupts. These gatherings are the direct result of a rising tide of anti-immigration sentiment spreading throughout the nation. The mostly Hispanic crowd is generally peaceful, but determined to protest the increased random sweeps and deportations of undocumented workers. A small but vocal group of mostly white Americans informally gathers on the other side. They speak freely to the reporters, sharing their anger and frustration about the "illegals," while many of the Hispanic protesters are unwilling to go on camera. They're clearly fearful of the overwhelming presence of the law, and rightly so.

As I stand on the periphery and survey the landscape, I struggle to recognize the simmering rage on this street corner. I grew up just a few miles from here, and now raise my family little more than a stone's throw from this emerging epicenter. I hadn't intended to hire an illegal alien, or several for that matter, but standing among the crowd I am certain I'd do it again if faced with the same set of circumstances.


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