I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write about the new Arizona Immigration Bill that was just recently signed into law without coming across as a raging racist. Some of you’ll hear me out and some of you will call me a racist no matter what I have to say. So, good or bad, right or wrong, I might as well jump right in there.
Unless you’re a Native American, and they’re the one’s who really got screwed. But all the rest of us are here in this country as a direct result of immigration of some form or another. Immigration is how this country was built in the first place.
Me, I’m the sixth generation descendent of an Irish immigrant named, Bernard McGinty. Other than names and dates, I really don’t know his story. I don’t know why he was willing to risk literally everything to move his family to America. Hell, for all I know, he might have been running from the law. I suspect though, like thousands of other Irish immigrants of his time, he was escaping the punishing poverty and sickness that had become so widespread and common in Ireland.
I can’t help but wonder how he’d feel about the way his family turned out. Like any really big family, we’ve had our share of problems. It’s turned into a family made up of people from, literally, all over the world. We’re made up of people from every political and religious point of view imaginable. Most of us just have regular every day jobs and try to raise our families the best we can. We have at least two Airline Pilots, one doctor, and three registered nurses that I know of. A lawyer or two. And yeah, some of us just haven’t been able to get it quite right. A few among us have ended up in prison. And if you think that’s not coming out during a fight with your wife, you’re crazy.
We don’t get together as often as we’d like but when we do, it’s always a good time. It’s a good time to relax and just be you. All the sudden, he’s not the “Big Shot” who runs the power company in South Dakota, he’s just uncle Mike to us. If we’re talking about my cousin’s little boy, Daniel, well, he’s just a cool little kid. We all know the story of how they adopted Daniel from Guatemala but really, none of that matters. He’s just Daniel to us. Same thing with Lucy and Aurora, the little twin girls my wife’s brother and his wife adopted a couple years ago from China. They’re just Lucy and Rorey to us. When my loud mouthed, Aaron and his wife show up, it’s just, hey guys, Aaron and Maria are here. It’s not, Aaron and that girl from Mexico he married. You see, none of that matters and it’s really all that important. We’re just a great big, sometimes dysfunctional, family and that’s good enough for us.
No, I don’t know for sure what Bernard McGinty would think of the family he started all those years ago. But I do believe he’d be glad to know the huge gamble he took by bringing his own family to America in the first place paid off. And I think he’d agree that, all things considered, it’s a pretty damn fine family.
So yeah, I know a thing or two about immigration and understand what it means to someone wanting to come here. I get it.