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Dear Editor,

I am not afraid of being deported. I am not afraid that I will be separated from my wife and sent out of this country. You see, I did not enter this country illegally. I came very legally – I was born here to a mother who was also here legally. She was born and raised in Wisconsin. I watch the news and read of immigrants who are afraid they will be deported. They are afraid because they are here illegally. They were not born in this country.

I grew up enjoying all this country has to offer, taking advantage of all the opportunities that were rightfully mine by birth. It was all out there for me to grab, and, as I think about it, I really have done little to pay back this country for all that I have had available to me since I was born.

Of course, nobody ever said I had to pay back anything. There was nobody waving an IOU in my face when I was born, saying, “OK, you were born here in America, so now you have to promise to pay some back.”

As I grew older, though, I heard that “freedom is not free,” and I did come to realize that in order for this country to survive, a small number of us, actually, have to go to war from time to time in order to assure that we can remain the prosperous home of the free. So, when I was told to go to Vietnam, I went.

But now we hear a lot about some who are living within our borders illegally. Dreamers. They do not want to leave. They dream of staying here. They want prosperity for themselves, for their families. I watch the TV and learn of how they are out there, dreaming of wanting to stay in this country, dreaming of wanting to have much the same as I have. I suspect some of them might even dream (in their wildest dreams, I’d say) that they could have been born here.

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I have certainly worked hard for everything I have, haven’t I? Have I not paid my dues? Being born in this country had little to do with all that I have achieved, right? Besides, I was born here legally, and it was mine to have. Yet, those dreamers find it hard to understand how simply being born here entitles me to certain absolute rights that they cannot have. Well, keep dreaming.

We are different, those dreamers and I, yet they insist we should not be that different. Perhaps they are right, though. Perhaps there is really only one difference between them and me: I never had to dream.

Bruce Hoem,


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