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A couple of readers to this effect: "Aren't you a bit embarrassed to be laying in to illegal immigrants, having confessed that you yourself were once an illegal immigrant?"

[Derb] No. I look on it as being sort of like the reformed drunk at a temperance meeting.

Besides, there's INSIDE and OUTSIDE. I can recall thinking, as an i-i, that Americans were kind of naive about immigration. Since the naivety was to my personal advantage, I didn't complain. AS AN AMERICAN, and having jumped through all the darn immigration hoops at last (seven years to Green Card, nine more to citizenship), I'm entitled to another point of view.

And I must say, if back then I had felt the heavy hand of an INS officer on my shoulder, I'd have said "It's a fair cop, guv'nor," and gone quietly. It would never have occurred to me that I had any rights in the matter---much less to march down Fifth Avenue with a Union Jack demanding rights.