More than just Latinos illegally call U.S. home
July 10, 2006
Nearly one-quarter are from other nations
Driving around San Diego, an undocumented nanny nervously checks her
rear-view mirror, hoping she isn’t about to get pulled over. She has no
driver’s license, but she needs to get to and from work and to shuttle
around the children she cares for. So she drives anyway, always looking
over her shoulder.
In a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, an
undocumented bartender wonders when he will see his family again. He
has made a few visits home in the seven years he’s lived here
illegally, always managing to sneak back into the country. But security
has grown tighter. If there is a family emergency and he has to go
home, he’s not sure he can return.
Home isn’t Mexico, though. The bartender is Irish.
So is the nanny.
They are among the estimated 2.5 million
undocumented immigrants in the United States who are not from Latin
America but from Asia, Europe, Canada, Africa, the Middle East and
elsewhere. They make up nearly a quarter of the nation’s undocumented
population, yet in the current immigration debate, they have been all
In Congress, the focus has been on stopping
illegal immigration at the southern border, where most illegal entrants
are from Latin America. In the anti-illegal immigration lobby, most of
the ire has been directed at Latinos, primarily Mexicans, with activist
groups scouting the Mexican border and some recently picketing the
local Mexican consulate.