We Are All Americans, but Not Enough of Us Know That

03/23/2011 01:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As someone who is proud to have been born an American citizen, with a Latino background, I was very pleased to hear the president of the United States speaking in Chile and acknowledging that "We are all Americans", referring to the fact that South, Central and North America are all part of the Americas.

It was actually Pope John Paul II -- in his 1999 document entitled Ecclesia in America (The Church in America) -- who first presented this part of the world with the challenge of looking beyond the borders to seek a greater continental identity, renewing the bonds that unite our common spiritual heritage and secular history.

One of the most apparent casualties of our lack of unity and greater understanding among the Americas is that we have become increasingly hostile toward illegal immigrants and those who come -- mostly coming from the South -- seeking a better life and employment. With each passing day, we are seeing the unfortunate rise of anti-immigration legislation in States like Arizona and others, which instill fear in American citizens and people who already feel threatened by the growing numbers of Latinos and Spanish speakers among them -- as Hispanics have become the largest minority group in the United States. The fact is that there are no "terrorists" entering our country from the Southern border; those coming from the South are coming to work and often do the jobs that none of our citizens are interested in doing. As our former President often stated, they are a necessary part of our work force.

It would be good to hear the President and the members of Congress, when dealing with issues of immigration here in our own soil, to remember that "We are all Americans..." especially considering the many young people who have been born here and do not enjoy the same rights to education and prosperity as their peers; born to American citizens.