Suffice it to say, the survival of a possible path to earned legalization will be greeted with relief, not just by the undocumented Irish, but by the many Americans who believe that they, and the undocumented of many other nationalities, have earned a chance to lay claim to a new life in this country.
Dreams apart however, there are some very critical issues still to be faced head-on in the now continuing debate. Not least of them is challenging the odious assertion that the illegal and undocumented qualify as criminals, as do those who aid or give them comfort.
Such language is contained in the Sensenbrenner/King bill and to a slightly lesser degree in the new senate bill penned by Bill Frist.
Whatever happens, the proposition that there are millions of “criminals” laboring in jobs for low wages and few if any rights must be rejected by Capitol Hill legislators.
Presenting the undocumented and illegal as being criminal merely feeds into the kind of stereotype that for years was heaped on the backs of even legal Irish immigrants.
Beyond their lack of status, and so long as they abide within all other laws, the undocumented should be regarded for what they are: potential future citizens. For sure, not all of them will ultimately qualify for a variety of reasons. But they do not deserve to be criminalized before they can even present themselves as possible worthy shareholders in the American dream.