Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Money Quote: What is Home?

Say what you will about South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham ... Lord knows over the years I have ... but on Monday afternoon during the Senate Judiciary Committee's deliberations on immigration reform he made a statement that most eloquently summed up the whole debate … What constitutes someone's "home".


“…Most of us here believe that the 11 million undocumented people are also workers.

We couldn’t get by as a nation without those workers and those people.

And the question is ... sending them ‘home’.

I would just throw this out for some consideration…

What do you mean by ‘home’?

There's domicile, and there's legal residence ...and for some …they’ve been here so long that they can’t imagine where they live is not home.

And that’s the real debate here.

Where is home ….and where would you want home to be?

…The President says he wants a guest worker program, but doesn't want amnesty.

All the guest worker programs allow people to stay here a long period of time and work, some would have a group within the group to go back … home.

And I would argue that for someone who's been here three or four generations … they don't know where to go.

Cause their home is where they’ve raised their children, their home is where they’ve lived their married lives.

And we have allowed, rightly or wrongly, for that home to be established.

And we as a nation have sat on the sidelines since at least the eighties and allowed this situation to build up.

…There are generations who've been in America …who came across undocumented …and they set up roots and… they’ve led very noble lives.

They have a home.

And if you told them to go home they'd go right back to where they’ve been for thirty four years…. Cause they don’t know any other place.

…for several generations people have made America home.

And we've accepted the benefit of their labor and we've accepted the benefit of their work … and I'm trying to come up with a solution within American values.

…The law is about justice … How do we render legal justice …I would argue that if your breaking up families, and your sending people to some place that they don’t know to be home after forty years.

That is not a just result."



you can view the whole statement :
Afternoon sessions at 2hr 44min 25sec here

Johnnie Oz over at The Legend of Wooley Swamp has an excellent summary and analysis of the Judiciary Committee action from Monday. Well worth the read.

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4 comments:

Robert Toombs said...

Thanks very much for the Graham quote--it says something I'd been struggling with, and I hadn't seen this reported anywhere else.

For whatever it's worth, I have a Latina friend who suggests that for many of the undocumented workers, "home" is still Mexico, and that given their druthers, they would prefer to be able to go back from time to time (I relate the conversation in more detail in my own blog). Obviously this is just anecdotal, but it suggests that this unspoken assumption, that all undocumented workers would as a matter of course want to remain here, might be an overstatement.

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