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Ask Auntie Pinko

August 12, 2004

Dear Auntie Pinko,

I am a Mexican national who for medical reasons had a daughter born in America, so she is an American citizen by birth.

My wife and I were on a B-2 permit when she was born and we had to overstay our time (violating immigration laws) due to her medical condition, and with no intention of trying to take advantage of my daughter being born in America. Now we have had move to Mexico. As you can see I have knowledge of the English language, also I do have knowledge of the Constitution of the United States of America, which for me is a great honor, and also I did it for my daughter who deserves to know and learn to appreciate the country in which she was born.

My question is, if I raise my daughter in this lawless and corrupt country (Mexico), what kind of American citizen will she become? I think that this is wrong for the country that gave us a lots of good things (and I am not referring to material things), to return an American citizen who does not even know (in this case) her country or the real meaning of being an American Citizen.

I know that for some American citizens a "Mexican"(mentioning this with no disrespect to any one) is just another Mexican citizen trying to cross the border and do harm to US society or to take advantage of the US government. I can mention on my behalf that we are not all the same, some of us really learned to love and respect America, and I am willing to prove that on any ground, for me it is an honor teaching as much as I know about American history, culture and the real meaning of being an American citizen to my daughter, even if I do not have the honor of being one.

All I am really asking for is a way to get a hearing in an immigration court to expose my case, and return the love and respect that I got from my dearest friends and American citizens.

God bless America.

Jesus G.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you very much for all the effort you are making to raise your daughter to be a good American citizen. As the great-granddaughter of immigrants, Auntie Pinko is very much aware of how the hopes, dreams and hard work of people coming here have shaped our country.

We have general agreement among all Americans that we benefit from immigration, and that immigrants make valuable contributions to our nation. But we also have general agreement that very real social and economic issues make it impossible for America to have a policy of unrestricted immigration. Even those who are new Americans, or the children of immigrants themselves, agree that completely unrestricted immigration would pose too many problems for our country to handle.

Our current system of dealing with immigration tries to reconcile these agreements, and be fair to everyone concerned. But the issues are so complex that we haven't been able to succeed.

I cannot say anything in defense of our current system of laws, agencies, and enforcement on immigration issues other than this: Many good intentions went into them, and there are many good people involved in the system still trying to improve it. I realize thatís a feeble apology in the face of a system that is so complicated and chaotic. Our system causes a lot of suffering, and your family is not alone in its tragedy.

I would urge all of my readers to keep the issue of improving our immigration laws and agencies on the "priority" list for our elected representatives. It affects us all, more deeply than we are aware.

I have personal cause to be deeply grateful to a Mexican family who moved to America. They virtually adopted an elderly relative of mine and treated him as they would have treated a member of their own family, with love and respect far beyond anything that could have been supplied by an institution. I have known a number of Americans of Mexican heritage, and Mexicans hoping to be Americans, and I value them as neighbors and community members.

I have also worked with immigrants from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America, and I would be proud and happy to have them as my fellow-citizens. Immigrants keep America vigorous and competitive, flexible and creative.

I wish that I had a clear solution for you, Jesus. But all I can offer is three suggestions:

  • Keep hoping, and raising your daughter to be a good American.

  • Take what you admire about America and try to apply it in Mexico. No matter how tiny the effort may seem in the face of Mexicoís economic and social problems, tiny efforts count!

  • Look for every opportunity to communicate with Americans about the effects of our immigration system, and the opportunities we are losing in not having you among us as a neighbor and fellow-citizen. It takes a lot to get the attention of Americaís people. But the more you try, the better the chances for change.

I hope that you and your family succeed, Jesus, and extend best wishes for the future of your daughter, my fellow-citizen. And thanks for writing to Auntie Pinko!

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