Eight senators are working on an immigration plan. Big business and labor unions seem to agree with them on allowing the ones who already sneaked into the country to become citizens eventually. How will this turn out?
Let me tell you a true story about illegal immigration. Once upon a time, a nation prospered in peace and affluence for many years. But trouble lay just across the border. In the neighboring land people eyed the vast inviting lands with envy. Small numbers of “intruders” would sneak across the boundary, and the government would catch them and kick them out. But many avoided detection and more followed.
Before long the intruders were pouring in. Some were there legitimately as employees, but others sneaked in. Quite a few were criminals. The biggest business in the nation lobbied relentlessly to allow even more intruders.
Finally, a prominent local citizen got so annoyed he wrote a letter to his national leader. “Are we powerless to enforce our own laws? Are we to submit to such great wrongs by these men who are not citizens? Our laws are not enforced. How in the world can we hold up as a nation when our officers don’t respect the law and the oath they have taken to uphold the law.”
Seeing the looming conflict, the U. S. Congress jumped into the fray, led by a Senator from Massachusetts. Should this prosperous, peaceful nation receive assistance in protecting its borders? After much debate Congress made a pivotal decision: they sided with the intruders.
What? How could Congress make such an outrageous decision? Well, since Congress put itself in the middle of this illegal immigration issue, they created a Commission to negotiate with a delegation of representatives from the nation. One of those representatives was the “prominent local citizen” quoted above. He soon became peeved at the delegation’s inability to agree on what their position should be.
It took Congress five years to reach a decision, but they forced the end this “nation” as we knew it. In 1898 a bill was signed by President McKinley that abolished the laws of that nation.
So who were the main “characters” in this story? The Senator from Massachusetts was Henry Dawes, head of the Dawes Commission. The big business encouraging the Intruders was the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The 1898 bill was the Curtis Act. The Intruders were mainly from Kansas and Arkansas.
And the “nation?” It was the Cherokee Nation, part of Indian Territory which in 1907 became the state of Oklahoma.
The “prominent local citizen” (who also helped write the state constitution for Oklahoma), was Clem Rogers, Will’s father.