Economic Opportunity Worth The Risk

Actress Laura Bell Bundy attends the 61st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2007 in New York.
Getty Images/Peter Kramer
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Immigration. It's the hot topic on blogs and radio stations all over the country. The very thought of people sneaking across the border to come here and work has people apoplectic.

"It's illegal," they cry. "If you want to come here, come here legally. Wait your turn."

Years ago I did a story about a group of undocumented workers who were trying to come to the United States in a boxcar. Somehow the boxcar ended up on railroad siding near El Paso, Texas. The door was locked and the temperature went over 100 degrees. Needless to say, all inside the car died.

I went to the little town most of them started out in. I met their mothers, sisters, wives. One proudly showed me her tiny house, built with the earnings her son had dutifully sent back in the years before he died. Even on the day of the funeral, deep in the heart of Mexico, there were other young men at the dusty railroad tracks nearby, waiting to jump a train to El Norte.

For them and millions of others, economic opportunity is worth the risk. Even the risk of death.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith