"Anchor babies?" Let's welcome some good citizens

by John MacBeath Watkins

Chinese parents are spending around $30,000 to come to America, pay cash to our overpriced hospitals, and have their child in America. It's a way to get around China's one-child laws while getting American citizenship for their children.

What kind of idiot would want to put a stop to that?

 This kind.
“They are gaming the system…and people should be put in jail,” said Representative Phil Gingrey (R-Ga), one of several members of Congress trying to put an end to birth tourism.

If those babies hadn't been born yet, I bet Gingrey would regard them as people. And those rich parents who are getting around the one-child rule? Job creators is the term most Republicans have for rich people who already live here.

So, are we supposed to keep those children from being born, under Chinese law? Are we supposed to turn away rich kids? Does Gngrey think Chinese kids can't hack it in American schools when they come here?

We have a system that has encouraged poor people to pick fruit in this country for less money than any American would work for, and show up at the emergency room in labor because if they come any sooner we'll kick them out of the country. Farmers are howling bloody murder because they can't hire enough pickers, because a) the Mexican economy is improving, and jobs are easier to find south of the border than north of it and b) a number of states have passed laws that make it hot for any illegal immigrants.

Freinds from the harvest
 Unlike most American citizens, I've worked in the harvests. I've done a bit of picking, which didn't pay at all well (this was in the Boeing bust, when there were few jobs available even at minimum wage) and my best job in the orchards was at Wax Orchards during the cherry harvest. I've provided you with a couple of my pictures from that harvest to give you a feel for it.

A hard-working picker
 There were Native Americans, high school kids, some Okies who slept in their cars and followed the crops, a junkie trying to stay away from the city where he knew he'd fall back into his addiction, a bartender who got tired of his customers running into his car in the parking lot, and some Hispanic pickers, who were the best in the orchard.

I liked the pickers I suspected were illegal, and frankly, I hope some of them stayed and taught their work ethic to their children. But I'm aware that much as they might want to give their child a good start in life, there are Chinese businessmen who can finance a better education for their children and provide them with better business contacts in what will in a generation or so be the biggest economy in the world.

I visited Vancouver, B.C.'s Chinatown in 1970. It was sleepy, quiet, a bit moribund. By the 1980s, it was hopping. What happened there that didn't happen to Seattle's Chinatown?

Hong Kong Chinese could buy their way into Canada, but they could not buy their way into America. By investing in Canada, they could get citizenship, and as a result, they settled in Vancouver, the nearest Canadian city to Hong Kong. The city came to life, with a surge in investment, new trade contacts with Hong Kong, and vital new immigrants who settled in the city making it more wealthy and more cosmopolitan.

At the time, it was clear to me that we had missed out. We were getting immigrants who were the salt of the earth, but not financially or culturally equipped to give us new trade ties to the fast-growing economies of Asia.

Thank heaven we've been given another chance. And we don't have to do anything but accept the gift we're being offered: Young people who will be paying Social Security taxes when I'm retired. People whose parents are wealthy enough and motivated enough to give them the best start they can possibly have in life.

What start? Being American.

Hell, I'm flattered. Aren't you?