Today is May 1st, 2007, commonly called “May Day.” Socialists and Communists celebrate the day as “Labor Day” and mouth platitudes about the working class, but gone are the days of of Soviet soldiers and war machines parading through Red Square in Moscow, and good riddance. But neither May Day nor Labor Day are official American celebrations on this day. Here it is “Loyalty Day,” and it is an appropriate day for Americans to fly the flag as a show of loyalty to these United States.

And how are people showing their loyalty? Why, by marching for illegal aliens, of course!

Thomas Rodriguez, of Aurora, stood in Union Park wearing a shirt that said: “We are hard workers. We’re not criminals.”

The 38-year-old has had no legal status since he came to the United States from Mexico in 1989 and is an employee at a Japanese restaurant in Chicago.

“Recent raids have worried me,” he said. “We worry deportations are leaving too many young people without parents.”

Oh, where to begin? Well, first, if you come to the States illegally, then that–by definition–makes you a criminal. The phrase I’m looking for here is “Duh!” Rodriguez is worried about being deported, which is nice and all, but that’s a bit like a habitual speeder worrying about getting a speeding ticket. Every job where I’ve ever worked has required me to provide either proof of U.S. citizenship or a valid green card. Since Rodriguez came to the U.S. illegally, he does not and cannot have valid documentation to work here or to remain here. Either he has obtained fake documents–which is illegal–or he is being paid “under the table” in cash and not paying any taxes on his earnings–which is, all together now, illegal. But he’s no criminal! His T-shirt says so.

“Most of the undocumented people come here as a necessity of survival,” said Rosendo Delgado, of Latinos United, one of the groups organizing the march. “For them, it’s the only choice.”

It’s funny, but during the years I lived in Mexico, I don’t recall stepping over the bodies of people who just couldn’t survive there. There are many wonderful, hard-working people in Mexico who are surviving just fine, regardless of what Delgado says. As I see it, it’s not the promise of America that draws illegal aliens as much as it is the promise of American dollars. A minimum wage job in the U.S. offers about ten times the salary of a similar minimum wage job in Mexico. If an illegal alien obtains such a job and sends back to Mexico only half of his or her yearly earnings, that sum is the equivalent of five years’ worth of wages in Mexico. And they can send even more money home if they have better-paying jobs, such as construction or working in a Japanese restaurant in Chicago. The Mexican government has no impetus to stop its citizens from heading to the U.S. illegally, because so much money comes back to them. I remember hearing that money sent from the States has surpassed even oil revenues as the top source of income for Mexico, but whether it’s in first or second place, that’s a pile of money.

But Delgado is wrong in his assertion that heading for the States is a Mexican national’s only choice. As I see it, there are at least four choices, but people like Rodriguez and Delgado, and millions like them, want all the benefits of being legal residents without messing with that annoying requirement of actually obeying the law.

You’ll hear people talk about “May Day” today, but every time I hear that, I think of “mayday,” the call of distress, because our nation is being invaded by people who don’t bother to obey the law.

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