Like you said, nothing personal, just giving you a different perspective.
"...and replace the millions with whom? Without wrecking our economy? Will this make us safer?"
First, there are roughly 7 million unemployed US citizens. Most esitmates put the number of illegals at around 12 million. So now all US citizens have jobs. Money earned by illegals may or may not be taxed so you would see increased government revenues there, you would have fewer people needing government social services due to lower unemployment, you would have 12 million fewer people access the public health care system who don't contribute, minus the number of dollars earned in the US and sent back to their prospective countries that don't contribute to our economy and I think any deficit seen by a drop in the unskilled labor force would be more than compensated for.
"Of course you do...because you CAN. Easily said coming from a position of privilege. If your home country had no jobs, there was no way of making it for yourself and your family, there were no social services, no political/social solutions in sight, and the country you wanted to work in put you on an immigration waiting list that could easily take ten years...Then what? Sit and just watch your family live in destitute poverty?"
First, Mexico has the 12th ranked GDP of world countries. So lets paint a clear picture.
"I'm an educator credentialed in teaching English as a second language and have seen this firsthand. If you couldn't speak English, see how long it would take you to learn the language well enough to pass a fairly intensive test on the U.S. Constitution, our system of government, and basic U.S. history. Most of our English-speaking, native-born citizens couldn't pass this test if it was given on the spot."
Going from english to spanish took me about 4 months before I could navigate daily life w/o a problem. In the job I currently do I regularly encounter people that have been in the states for greater than 10 years that don't speak any English. Its not because English is harder, its because they have no motivation or desire to integrate into our society. I'm surprised that as an ESL teacher this isn't more apparent to you.
"Lazy? I haven't seen many unemployed, native-born Americans rushing trucks and vans in hardware store parking lots or lining up on farms to bust their backs picking berries...I guess unemployment checks, welfare, and food stamps are much easier, huh?"
Haven't been down to your communities day labor center lately have you? The last time I hired day laborers I hired a white guy and a black guy. Not because I asked for them but because they were next in line. And I live in the southwest. That is an N=1 expirament, but the argument that Americans wont do the jobs that illegals will is just not true.
"How about denying health care for the sick & undocumented, young and old alike? Humanitarianism at its finest!
As one of the wealthiest and most utterly privileged countries on Earth, criminalizing the poor and desperate is a shame."
Noble, but unrealistic. The US can't save the world. We can't employ the world. We can't provide healthcare for the entire world (we can barely do it for the population we have now). Do you have any idea what the population of the third world is? The 12 million we took illegaly from Latin America is whizzing in the wind compared to the BILLIONS elsewhere. Shaming yourself for being born in a certain country is the acme of misdirected shaming. Bringing everyone from the thrid world to wealthy countries is not the solution or even realistic. The solution is finding ways to culture the economies of third world countries and finding effective ways to enhance quality of life THERE, such as through public works (water sanitation, basic vacinations, education, etc.). Make the third world better, don't bring the third world to America.
Also, don't be so arrogant as to think that someone living in the third world can't be happy because they don't live the life we do. I have met plenty of happy people in third world countries.
Emotional arguments vs. logical arguments.