My mother's maiden name was Eleanora Maria Marciano. That's about as Italian as you can get. And she certainly was. She came here – legally – as a seven-year-old child who spoke no English. And by the time she was 17, she was elected valedictorian of her graduating class.
You see my mother was Italian to the bone – and American to the core. She and my dad, the son of an English – legal – immigrant raised three children who have red, white, and blue blood running through our veins. My mother never bothered to teach us Italian (except for words like spaghetti, cacciatore, and, of course, Sinatra) because she wanted us to be American through and through, in thought, word, and deed.
After all, my mother did not come to America to be an Italian – anymore than my grandfather Clews came here to be British. They came to be Americans - to dip deeply into American traditions (like baseball, apple pie, motherhood, and waving the American flag on the Fourth of July). And to stand tall for a country built on liberty, free enterprise, and, yes, the rare brand of rugged individualism Obamunists abhor.
Did my mother face discrimination as a child? Of course; all Italians of her generation did. She was called a "wop," a "dago," and a "guinea." I'm sure that had not her father been so horribly oppressed because he looked like he just stepped off the spaghetti boat, he would definitely have been the president of General Motors (after all, isn't that the kind of pure poppycock all descendants of minorities are now supposed to spout?) The truth is, had my grandfather not been tough as nails and obdurately uneducable, he might not have had to dig ditches all of his life.
But, be that as it may, my mother – like her brother, Memo, and sister, Margareta (both of whom came here legally) -- bought into the American Dream. And because they did, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren still do. Eleanora, Memo, and Margareta did not isolate themselves in squalid barrios. They didn't angrily wave the Italian flag. They didn't indignantly demand that everyone around them learn to speak their language.
Nor did they smuggle their Italian relatives across the border to live off of others' hard- earned money – and, of course, demand to be handed the treasured citizenship for which millions of legal immigrants have worked so hard and are so proud.
They believed – as millions of legal immigrants do today – that, as the old American saying goes, "You get what you work for." If you are an immigrant who gets your citizenship by applying, studying, and struggling for it, chances are you will glow with pride when you raise your right hand and truly become an American citizen.
If you don't work for it – if you steal it by sneaking across the border and living off of what others have worked, fought, and died to build – what you get is "ill-gotten gains." And like most thieves, you scoff at those whom you have robbed.
My little, Italian, legal immigrant mother knew all of that, But, there is one thing she very likely never even thought of – since during her lifetime we didn't have 30 million illegal aliens demanding a free ride on the gravy train. She never thought about the fact that for every undeserving illegal alien who sneaks into America to steal our birthright, a good, decent legal alien is forced to remain in lands where opportunity is rare and hope is lost. Like Gresham's Law, the bad drives out the good.
So, here is my appeal to the Washington political hacks: Stop groveling to get the Hispanic vote by betraying American sovereignty. Defeat the illegal amnesty bill in loving memory of a little seven-year-old legal immigrant named Eleanora Maria Marciano. And open the doors of opportunity to all of the darling little Rodríguezes, Jimenezes, and Martinezes who might one day be able to enjoy the banquet of life that is America – if you just stop selling out to the greedy, grasping illegal aliens who steal the bread from their precious mouths.
Now, is that really too much to ask?
The Senate voted 82-15 to end debate to proceed to an immigration bill.
The List of Senators Who Will Make or Break the Amnesty Bill
With 55 Democratic Senators, and 4 Republicans from the Gang of Eight, only one additionalvote would be necessary to get to the filibuster-proof 60 votes needed to pass the Senateimmigration bill, S. 744. Generally, in order to defeat the bill, Democrats and Republicans whovoted no in 2007 will need to do so again. We’ve compiled a list of key senators whoseopposition to the massive amnesty bill is absolutely crucial but whose commitment right now isin flux, and whose opinion can still be swayed. Please note that even if your senator isn’t onthis list, take nothing for granted. Those who solidly opposed amnesty previously, can and willflip, and the reverse is also true. The final list starting with Democrat hopefuls is as follows:
Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) is running for reelection in a red state. He opposed McCain-Kennedy in2007.
Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is running for reelection in a red-leaning state. She opposed McCain-Kennedy in 2007, won reelection in 2008 and is up for reelection in 2014.
Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is running for reelection in a purple state but was not around in 2007.North Carolinians vented their wrath at several House Democrats who voted for Obamacare,which could serve as a warning to Hagan on the equally volatile immigration vote.
Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is retiring, but voted against McCain-Kennedy. He also represents astate in which voters approved an anti-illegal immigration referendum with an 80% majority. Heregrets voting for Obamacare and is not happy with the Democratic Senate leadership.
Jon Tester (D-Mont.) voted against amnesty in 2007 and could be swayed by fellow Montanan,Max Baucus.
Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is running for reelection in a red state. He was not around in 2007 butfavored bringing the DREAM Act to a vote in 2010.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is up for reelection in 2014 and voted against the 2007 amnesty bill.He supported the DREAM Act in 2007 and 2010 and could be struggling between towing theparty line and opposing amnesty to secure his reelection.
Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is retiring in 2014. Sen. Harkin opposed the 2007 McCain-Kennedyamnesty but supported past efforts to bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor. All bets are offnow that he’s on his way out the door.
Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is coming off reelection in 2012. She voted against the McCain-Kennedy amnesty and has supported the DREAM Act. Now that she’s secured her positionthrough 2018, she may feel she owes the party her vote on amnesty.
John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is retiring in 2014. He voted against McCain-Kennedy in 2007 buthas previously favored the DREAM Act.
Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) voted “no” to amnesty in 2007 but has been a DREAM Actsupporter.
In addition to those Democrats who voted “no” in 2007, there are new red/purple stateDemocrats who were not in office during the McCain/Kennedy bill. They’re facing tremendouspressure from leadership to support this current massive amnesty bill. However, if they vote infavor of S. 744, they will face an uphill battle when seeking re-election. These senators include:
Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) missed the DREAM Act cloture vote shortly after he was elected in2010 and will feel the pressure from West Virginians to oppose amnesty.
Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) is a new Senator elected in 2012, but previously served in the U.S.House of Representatives as a strident opponent of amnesty. During his campaign he said hewould “oppose any proposal that amounts to amnesty.”
Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.Dak.) doesn’t have much of a track record on immigration yet as a newSenator. She indicated she was “encouraged” by what she’d read of the Gang of Eight billbefore it was introduced, but said border security must be the number one priority in anylegislation.
In the Republican camp, the Gang of Eight is probably a lost cause (Flake, Graham, McCain,and Rubio) but there are potentially other Republicans who may join them and need pressurenot to. These include:
Susan Collins (R- Maine) up for reelection in 2014 and voted no in 2007. The Republican isoften considered a swing vote in the Senate. She opposed bringing the DREAM Act to the floorin 2010 and co-sponsored immigration legislation with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this year.
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted no in 2007, yet he has been soft on amnesty in general. He is apast sponsor of the DREAM Act and voted with Senate Democrats and Gang of EightRepublicans on the Judiciary Committee to send the amnesty bill to the floor.
Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is new to the Senate this year after serving in the House. During hiscampaign, he strongly opposed amnesty. However, nearly as soon as he was elected to theSenate, he backtracked and told Sen. Rubio he’d support a Gang of Eight plan.
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is one of the swing Republicans who voted against McCain-Kennedy, but is not a certain vote this time. She supported voted for the DREAM Act in 2010.
Mark Kirk (R- Ill.) voted against bringing the DREAM Act to a vote shortly after he was electedto the Senate in 2010. Kirk is typically identified as a moderate and is feeling the pressure fromsenior Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, and lobbyists at home, to flip in support of amnesty.