Written by Doug Burrell
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Friday, 20 April 2007

image for A Lesson in Immigration This is a hat. It's not *the* hat, but you get the idea.

"Donde están mis calcetines?" (Where are my socks?)

I learned this simple Spanish phrase from watching an episode of "Dora the Explorer" with my six year old daughter. It's also one way I became an authority on the issue of illegal immigration.

A few weeks ago, I was in my yard wondering if someone would come mow the grass for me when a gust of wind blew my hat right off of my head. Since I wear it to conceal a very tiny, almost undetectable bald spot, (it's really hardly even noticeable...well, from a distance, anyway...I mean, I didn't see it on Google Earth), this caused me great anguish. Fortunately, I saw where it landed. Unfortunately, it was on the other side of my fence which meant it was in my neighbor's yard.

Immediately, I began to devise a plan to get my hat back. Each day, around noon, the mailman delivers the mail to my house and then drives next door to my neighbor's. I figured it'd be a good idea if I secretly hid in the mailman's trunk and hitched a ride over there. However, after managing to successfully get in the trunk, I was unable to open it back up in time and ended up riding cooped up in there for the rest of the mailman's route. The next day, I was able to get back home again when the mailman dropped the mail off at my house. I think my neighbor saw me get out of the trunk because he was giving me an odd look, but maybe he didn't recognize me without my hat.

So, I had to come up with another plan. That night, I waited until the cover of darkness and attempted to climb the fence into my neighbor's yard. It's only four feet tall, but I'm not in the best shape anymore (Damn you, Krispy Kreme!) and it proved to be more difficult that I had imagined. I continued trying, but my efforts proved fruitless. Exhausted, I took a break, half of my body lying across the top of the fence in my neighbor's yard and my legs dangling over in mine.

But, suddenly a bright light shined in my face and I heard dogs barking. I was sure I had been caught. But, there was no way I was going back home without my hat! I risked everything to get there, so I made one final effort to get across that fence. And, I did. Sadly, though, my hat wasn't there. As it turns out, however, my neighbor saw me outside and came over to bring me my hat. He said he picked it up the day before and was waiting to see me so he could get it back to me. Who knew I had a decent neighbor?

But, the point is, just like the illegal immigrants who come over from Mexico, I put my very life on the line just to try and make a better life for myself. (That hat means a lot to me!) They do the same when they cross the border into America. I can respect that. Even sympathize with it. But, just as my neighbor was willing to help me, I think most folks in America would be happy to have legal, documented immigrants here. But, there's a right way to come into this country and that's what I learned from my experience. America is a great country filled with wonderful, caring people like my neighbor. We don't want to keep people out of our country, we just want them to respect our laws and abide by the same rules that all citizens abide by. So, instead of all the protesting and name calling, why don't we try to figure out some way to make legal immigration a bit easier. Seems like everyone would benefit from it.

Since that day, I've been watching a lot of "Dora" with my daughter. I've even picked up a few Spanish phrases. "Donde están mis calcetines"?, indeed.

(By the way, I'm still waiting for someone to cut my grass...)

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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