What, according to John Tierney's "Angels in America," should be done about immigration?

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In "Ángels in America," Tierney wants to convince the reader that Mexican immigrants are part of a long-standing American tradition. He's all too aware that many Americans—whose ancestors themselves were once immigrants—tend to regard the new wave of immigration as somehow different from previous ones. But this is a false...

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In "Ángels in America," Tierney wants to convince the reader that Mexican immigrants are part of a long-standing American tradition. He's all too aware that many Americans—whose ancestors themselves were once immigrants—tend to regard the new wave of immigration as somehow different from previous ones. But this is a false picture, argues Tierney. For there is no appreciable difference between the motivations of previous generations of immigrants and the present one. Just like Tierney's grandfather, Ángel Espinoza came to the United States to seek a better life for himself and his family. But unlike him, he's denied the opportunity to become a legal resident.

Tierney thinks this situation is absurd. For one thing, he notes that when his Irish grandfather first came over, far more immigrants lived and worked in the United States than they do today. If America could absorb Tierney's grandfather, why not Ángel? His story is no different from that of countless others before him, including the ancestors of those Republicans on Capitol Hill who want to keep him out. He's worked incredibly hard, moved to an upscale neighborhood, and is in the process of improving his English. Therefore, to deny someone like Ángel a legal path to citizenship is not just unfair, but self-defeating.

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According to John Tierney, immigrants' rights should be protected and they should not be deported.

He compares Angel Espinoza, a Mexican immigrant, to his grandfather, who moved to the United States from Ireland. Tierney points out that while neither of these men were particularly well educated when they arrived in the USA, both got jobs and worked their way up over time, making a contribution to society while successfully supporting themselves.

While Tierney's grandfather was later granted US citizenship, Espinoza was denied even legal residency status, despite marrying an American. Tierney states that it is unfair that Espinoza was denied the right to live in this country because he had once been caught at the border and denied entry to the USA.

Tierney makes the point that when his grandfather arrived, there were no immigrant quota laws to break. He rebuts the argument that because Mexicans remain closer to home than other immigrants, they are less likely to assimilate into American culture. He argues that Espinoza, who has worked his way up from earning less than $4 an hour to buying his own home with his wife, shows the determination and tenacity of a typical immigrant.

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I assume that you are asking about John Tierney's op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times in 2006.  I have linked to that piece below.

In that column, Tierney argued that Hispanic immigrants should be welcomed and treated better than they are now.  His basic premise is that the Hispanic immigrants that come to America today (even if they are here illegally) are no different than the Irish immigrants (and others) who came to the United States in times past.  Tierney contrasts the life of Angel Espinoza, a Mexican illegal immigrant, with that of Tierney's own grandfather, an Irish immigrant.

Tierney argues that Hispanic immigrants are simply trying to achieve the American dream for themselves and their descendants, just as the Irish did.  He thinks that there is no reason to give them any less of a shot at citizenship than the Irish had.  Therefore, what should be done about immigration is that it should be welcomed.  Congress should let the illegal immigrants get on a path to citizenship so they can help build the country like Tierney's grandfather did.

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