Born in the USA

Born in the USA

by digby

I would imagine that many of you have already read this essay by Jose Antonio Vargas about his odyssey from being an undocumented child to undocumented success story, but if you haven't take a few minutes and do it. It's an extraordinary piece.

And then read the comments. Most of them are supportive and decent. But there are quite a few that simply say "tough shit." You're not "one of us", "you people" take our tax dollars, all the usual hideous nonsense. There's just no getting through to people who would punish someone who was brought to this country as a child and is as American as they are by exiling them rather than giving them a path to citizenship. Their issues have to do with a very deluded idea that because you happened to be born within some arbitrary lines on a map, you are a superior form of humanity to which others must "qualify" to be privileged enough to obtain. These people need to get out more.

The concept of citizenship is obviously fraught with complications. But those of us who were born as citizens didn't "earn" a damned thing to be Americans. It's an accident of fate. Vargas, on the other hand actually did earn his citizenship by spending years in the shadows and succeeding in spite of the terror he felt at losing everything he's worked for and being exiled from his home. The fact that this immigrant country can't find a way to legalize people who didn't ask to come to America as children any more than the rest of asked to be born here is a travesty. These people are as American as I am.