I’d like to put the “Illegal is illegal” letter to the editor the March 9 issue in legal and historical perspective. Most of us Americans of European ancestry don’t usually consider our own family history when addressing issues of immigration. Many immigrants misled authorities about their identity or background when they entered this country at Ellis Island or elsewhere during past waves of immigration. Yet when our immigrant ancestors came to this country to escape poverty or political turmoil in Europe they were welcomed with little scrutiny of the veracity of their claim to immigrant status.
We also all need to be aware that much of the territory of the United States had been promised to Native American tribes by federal treaty. These treaties were broken by our government or white settlers when they occupied what, according to treaty, were Indian lands. So, unless you are of Native American or African American ancestry, in some sense most of us have some “illegal immigrant” heritage.
I don’t see why what was acceptable for my German and Italian ancestors in 1885, was not okay for Mexican or Honduran immigrants who came in 2005.
Matt Metzler, Sonoma