I plan on starting up this blog with the intention of having a respectful communication with others regarding our present immigration dilemma.

I had written a letter to the editor to the Chicago Tribune in April of 2010 and it was published on 5/2/2010. I will start this blog off by re-printing that and going from there.


‘I am a legal immigrant’

May 02, 2010|By Steinar Andersen

I am a legal immigrant. I walked the walk pursuing the American dream.

I came to this country legally. I learned to speak English (and slang so that I could fit in) because I wanted to excel in this country. I graduated from high school in Carpentersville. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps for almost seven years.

And I worked hard to gain my citizenship. I went through the process of standing in long Immigration and Naturalization Service lines, only to learn the federal agency had lost my file. I endured the insufferable malaise shown by U.S. government workers on the other side of the counter.

But in 1983, when I raised my hand during my citizenship ceremony in San Diego, I felt a rush of pride for accomplishing something that's rare in the world. Gaining citizenship in this country is like hitting the lottery. Today, I proudly display my citizenship certificate in my home because I earned it through a process dictated by this country's rule of law and I abided by that process as difficult as it was.

And then came the first immigration amnesty in 1986 and millions of illegal immigrants were given legal status, despite breaking the law.

My hard work was cheapened by their sheer numbers. Sure, some of them had worked hard. But they didn't follow the rules and were given the same thing I had labored for years to gain.

I am frustrated the media does not carry the stories of immigrants like me. Yes, some illegal immigrants are taken advantage of by some employers and by some of the American populace (all one has to do is look at who is trimming the bushes and mowing the lawns).

It has been said that it's impossible to deport 12 million illegal Immigrants. However, if a guest-worker program was in place and laws holding employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants were enforced, then illegal immigrants would be forced to gain guest-worker status.

Amnesty? Sure, if they go through the guest-worker program first.

And why not institute a national ID card?

As for what Arizona just did out of pure frustration with the federal government, I cannot blame the lawmakers there. I worked in Arizona for more than a year and saw firsthand the uphill battle Arizona residents are going through.

I am not bigoted. I am not racist. I am tired being led astray by a media hellbent on demonizing hardworking Americans who only ask for one thing: a clear, definable immigration policy with no loopholes.

I am from Norway. I will be celebrating Syttende Mai in a couple of weeks, where I will be waving my Norwegian flag from the sidelines of the parade route in Park Ridge and singing the Norwegian national anthem in Norwegian. And then I will go home with my family, speaking English, pinching myself that I am an American and lucky to be so.

And I will keep praying that one day the voices of legal immigrants will be heard as loud as those who may be hardworking, good people, but who broke the law coming here.