For a long time, Americans saw illegal aliens simply as hard workers in search of a better life, says Luisita Lopez Torregrosa in Politics Daily. Increasingly, though, they're being portayed and seen as "unreliable day laborers," drug mules or "rapists." Incidents of violence against Latino immigrants — both legal and illegal — are on the rise, and some mainstream Republicans are calling for a repeal of America's 150-year tradition of "birthright citizenship." Perhaps it's the flailing economy or the "division and intolerance" preached by cable news. Or maybe our country simply isn't the "kinder, gentler" place so many of us thought it to be. An excerpt:

As Francis Fukuyama, a professor of international political economy at Stanford University, wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently, "It is perfectly true that the simple fact of being an illegal immigrant induces one to break further laws.''

But he argues that illegal immigrants, who come from the underclass of their native countries and have no knowledge of rules of law, are not criminals. He likes to describe them as "informal" rather than "illegal," meaning they want the same things that every immigrant to America has sought: to work and improve their condition.

Perhaps. It may be that the Fukuyama perspective and plea for understanding of cultures and classes are a little bit too complex for people who are worried about the foreigner with the thick accent and the shifty eyes. It's easier to dump all illegal immigrants in one bag and let it go at that.

Read the full article at Politics Daily.