Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A History Lesson

In immigration debates, you sometimes here statements like "I don't oppose immigrants, I just want them to enter the country legally, like my grandparents did."

Here is an interesting article explaining that today's immigration laws are very different than those existing for previous generations. Back in the day, an immigrant just left home, walked to the border, and, absent some contagious disease, was admitted to the country. Today, obtaining the proper paperwork can take up to a decade.

So, what's changed is not the immigrant's respect for immigration laws, what's changed is the laws. Who know how the ol' ancestors would have behaved if they had faced such undue restrictions on their dreams? Perhaps also entered our country illegally?