Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:
Many people say illegal immigrants should just go back home and stand in line like anyone else. That sounds reasonable only if you know nothing about how immigration visas are actually granted.
In Mexico, demand exceeds the supply of slots available to people who want to emigrate to the U.S. Immediate family members of U.S. citizens (not just legal immigrants) typically must wait more than 10 years. For unskilled workers, it is almost impossible to legally emigrate to the U.S. from Mexico.
If you grew up in a Mexican village and are landless, you have two ways to better yourself or even just survive: You can move into one of the horrid slums around Mexico City and work as a trash picker or a thief, or you can emigrate without a proper visa to the United States. The choice is pretty obvious.
There are no "lines" for common laborers.
Now check out this Gallup poll:
At least two-thirds of Americans favor each of five specific measures designed to address immigration issues -- ranging from 68% who would vote for increased government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders, to 85% who would vote for a requirement that employers verify the immigration status of all new hires. More than seven in 10 would vote for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now living in this country.
...64% of voters nationally think illegal immigrants should be given a chance to apply for legal citizenship, compared to only 27% who think they should be deported back to their home countries. Over two thirds of white voters with an opinion on the matter (60/29) and a plurality of Republicans (44/41) support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the country.