I’m not even sure when it began. But a stranger broke in or sneaked into my home quite some time ago and has been living in my attic.

At first I couldn’t tell. But then there were signs over the years. And I think he brought in others. It’s hard to get a count on this. He tends to blend in and became good at sneaking around.

Much like the undocumented.

Over the years more and more came to New Jersey. And less and less we asked questions.

So they learned to game the system. They knew their children would get a free education in our public schools even if they paid no taxes. Oh yes, I understand the undocumented pay some. You buy some things at a store and you’re paying sales tax. If you’re paying rent ,the owner of the place through that rent is paying property tax.

But the majority of undocumented are not paying federal taxes. Many are avoiding state taxes. Many work under the table for cash. (And yes, before you hit me with liberal, indignant outrage, some American citizens do the same thing, and shame on them as well.)

So for years, we turned a blind eye and their numbers increased. And we now have at best estimate roughly half a million illegal immigrants in New Jersey alone. One in 18 people living here are not supposed to be in our country.

And guess what some of them were demanding this past weekend? This chant says it all.

“What do we want? Citizenship for all! When do we want it? Now!”

It was a march in Elizabeth organized by Make The Road New Jersey, a group that advocates for those in the country illegally.

How does this make all of our fine immigrants feel who respected our country‘s laws and rules enough to come here the right way? They put in the time. They put in the effort. Did they like it? Of course not. But they could take pride in not only wanting to belong in a country but doing their best to play by its rules as well.

They didn’t sneakily overstay a visa and disappear. They didn’t run across the border in the night. They didn’t want to only come work in our country for the money and send that money back home. They actually wanted to be part of the fabric of the United States of America. Work hard. Hope things go your way. Pay your taxes. Serve on a jury when called. Truly belong.

How would it make them feel? How does it sit with them to have these people who cut in line now demand the same thing they worked so hard to achieve?

They want citizenship. Just because. Are we supposed to grant it to them because.... well.... they’re here anyway? Is that the best rallying cry they can come up with?

They’ve already been given a free public education for their children with virtually no questions asked. They’ve been on the welfare roll even though they don’t belong in this country, straining our system.

They’ve not only been accepted into our colleges and universities but they’ve been allowed in-state tuition. Out-of-state kids have to pay double but if you’re in New Jersey illegally you’re paying half what those citizens do. They’re now getting tuition assistance.

They’re getting free lawyers to help fight deportation. They’re getting driver’s licenses.

But even all that is not enough. Now they want citizenship. Just because. They want to have a magic wand waved and be granted legal status even though they knew damn well they were violating the law for so many years.

Kind of reminds me of that guy who sneaked into my attic years ago and has been living in my house. He and whoever else he has sneaked in are demanding their names be added to the deed. When I am the one who did everything the right way. Paid all my taxes. Went through the proper channels to acquire this home. Took care of it the best I could. Should I say nothing and allow these trespassers legal right to my home?

After all, they’re here anyway.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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