[Guest post by DRJ]
“He breaks the law by his very presence. He hustles to do hard work many Americans won’t, at least not at the low wages he accepts. The American consumer economy depends on him. America as we have known it for generations may not survive him.
We can’t seem to live with him and his family, and if we can live without him, nobody’s figured out how. He’s the Illegal Immigrant, and he’s the 2007 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year – for better or for worse. Given the public mood, there seems to be little middle ground in debate over illegal immigrants. Spectacular fights over their presence broke out across Texas this year, adding to the national pressure cooker as only Texas can.
To their champions, illegal immigrants are decent, hardworking people who, like generations of European immigrants before them, just want to do better for their families and who contribute to America’s prosperity. They must endure hatred and abuse by those of us who want the benefits of cheap labor but not the presence of illegal immigrants.
Especially here in Texas, his strong back and willing heart help form the cornerstone of our daily lives, in ways that many of us do not, or will not, see. The illegal immigrant is the waiter serving margaritas at our restaurant table, the cook preparing our enchiladas. He works grueling hours at a meatpacking plant, carving up carcasses of cattle for our barbecue (he also picks the lettuce for our burgers). He builds our houses and cuts our grass. She cleans our homes and takes care of our children.
Yet to those who want them sent home, illegal immigrants are essentially lawbreakers who violate the nation’s borders. They use public resources – schools, hospitals – to which they aren’t entitled and expect to be served in a foreign language. They’re rapidly changing Texas neighborhoods, cities and culture, and not always for the better. Those who object get tagged as racists.”
The linked Dallas Morning News article has a lengthy discussion of immigration … but we’ve batted that around so many times, I’ll pass this time. However, this trend in naming everyday people as “person of the year” is lame.
UPDATE 12/30/2007 – Whether you agree or disagree with the selection, at least the UK Telegraph understands that the “Person of the Year” really should be a person who did something this year:
“The critics said it couldn’t be done, but the vision and determination of General David Petraeus have brought greater security and cause for optimism to the people of Iraq. He is The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year.”