“I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door”
Immigration’s back in the news. The Post-Dispatch reports on a personal angle: State Rep. Tim Flook is Mexican-American.
Since many of the foreign-born workers in Missouri are Hispanic, it’s understandable why the Post-Dispatch wanted a profile of someone from an Hispanic background. But on another level, it doesn’t make sense why they singled out Flook. According to the article, his mother’s family left Mexico in the beginning of the 20th century. The article doesn’t mention the ethnicity of Flook’s father, nor does it say when his family immigrated.
If having "ancestors who came here about 100 years ago" means you have a special perspective on immigration policy, probably most of our lawmakers meet that criterion. It’s also interesting to note that Flook’s family learned English long ago, and Flook didn’t learn Spanish until well after he had graduated college.
Flook’s story doesn’t point out any sensitive issues or potential conflicts of interest in accepting immigrants. Instead, it highlights the fact that immigrants do learn English and assimilate, and that most of us have ancestors who were immigrants if you look back far enough.
Although I don’t agree with the premise that Flook’s family background is unique, it’s fun to read about him and his very reasonable stances on state immigration policy:
Flook opposed a bill that would have penalized employers for hiring illegal immigrants. The plan "was turning every employer into a junior varsity investigator on all his employees," he said.
Hear, hear. The federal government should be enforcing federal laws, not micromanaging every small business owner in Missouri.