Same song, different verse.
In 1986 Ronald Reagan tried "immigration reform," hoping to stem the flood of three million illegal aliens.
In 2013 the legislation is roughly the same: Stronger borders, learn English, employers must check legal status, no public welfare for five years, for 11 million.
Congress reneged 26 years ago, and never paid the piper to play out the song.
Americans no longer trust the "check is in the mail."
Nor do we trust this "new" legislation that has more holes in it than hundreds of miles of desert on the southern border. For example, Janet Napolitano could claim the borders are "secure," and do nothing.
Tell that to the millions of potential illegals wanting to join the 11 million-plus current lawbreakers. Tell that to the doctors and nurses and native patients who see hospitals closing down in the Southwest, or to teachers in schools throughout the nation bursting at the seams without funding, or to welfare system workers now burdened with costs they can't afford.
Tell that to the thousands of Americans victimized by crimes committed by illegal aliens.
To paraphrase Reagan, "There is no easy answer, but there is a simple one."
Enforce the law.
Should the U.S. House of Representatives pass a bill, let it be this:
Streamline the legal immigration process to two to three years, not the five or more it now takes. Encourage not just poor day laborers from the third world, but professionals from Europe, Asia and Israel. Let us be "diverse."
Enforce E-Verify and make financial examples of companies who prey on the huddled masses we want to become Americans.
Or, as a plan B, we could adopt the same restrictions placed on immigrants by the Mexican government. No government positions for non-natives, limited property rights, hellish treatment for illegals.
How can our Southern neighbor push for "reform" in this country through lobbying by La Raza ("The Race"), while they aren't willing to change their laws?
The Cherokee in my mixed-mutt bloodline knows that all people are free and should have a chance to succeed or fail on their own merits. But the Scot in my veins who built this castle wants to keep it safe for his family, friends and future generations.
We are a "melting pot" of humanity. But we must also be a people who bond with all to build a prosperous nation of citizens who work hard, both individually and collectively, "follow the rules," and adapt to our free market Constitutional system of civic pride and governance.
Many see America as exceptional among nations, one that has stood the test of time -- so far.
Should we accept this latest verse of "immigration reform," we will find ourselves "transformed" into a new nation, one the Founders, and the majority of Americans, will loath and rebel against.
The song is worth singing. We simply need a verse that sticks to the basic American fabric, lest it be torn apart to the detriment of Americans -- and the world.
Mike Chambers is a former broadcaster and reporter in various Chattanooga media outlets.