The problem is is that back when my ancestors came over the government didn't pay for anything. People either made it on their own or got voluntary help from private charities, their local church etc. If they couldn't make it they either went back to where they came from or lived impoverished lives.
Additionally the average American paid little, by current standards, in taxes. Income tax was only for the extremely wealthy for example.
Today in America the poor have their bills paid by compulsory collections from from their fellow citizens who are forced to pay, directly and indirectly, a huge fraction of their earnings to the government.
Illegal aliens welch off Americans in two ways; they get lots of free services including in several states tuition breaks to college--hardly a necessity-- and they don't have to pay many taxes. Both of these subsidies allow illegals to accept lower wages than Americans.
Contrary to urban myths there is no job, gardener etc, in America which is not filled mostly by Americans. That means that there is no job that Americans feel is beneath them. What is true is that if unscrupulous business men can get illegals, who are cheap partially because they're subsidized by Americans, to work for less than Americans those business men will offer to pay less for a job than Americans can afford to work for.
Therefore in a time of high unemployment where wages are pushed down illegals have a significant impact on the least skilled of Americans who are looking for work.
We are told that illegals are just like our ancestors in that they're just looking for a better life. That is true but what is not true is that illegals are fleeing starvation or death. People don't starve in Mexico. There is no need to go to America; only a desire for better life. Now there are some illegals from other countries who are fleeing starvation or political execution but they are a tiny fraction of the total illegal population.
As such when considering a path to citizenship for illegals it should be noted that illegals are not law abiding people. It's unclear what fraction of illegals actually carry their own weight in that they don't have the American Government pay their bills. Those illegals are reasonable folk but even they have demonstrated a belief that the law does not apply to them. Illegals who avail themselves of free medical care--free to them but costly to Americans-- or other services--including in state college tuition in states like California--show that they have the "it's my due" mentality which is helping destroy the American economy.
Everyone knows the majority of illegals will vote for Democrats because Democrats are the party of thieves, tax workers to buy the votes of non-workers. What is not thought of is that people who break the law to advance their own economic status and who have no problem being supported by the efforts of others are not the sort of people who made this country great.
Most American's ancestors came to America because it was the land of opportunity; a place where their hard work would be rewarded. Many illegals have that attitude but no one has made a case for treating those illegals who don't live off the government differently from those who do when considering who should become citizens. Something along the lines of having to go say 7 years with absolutely no government subsidy--no emergency room medical care, no food stamps, etc--before qualifying for citizenship. For those 7 years either the people support themselves or they are supported by voluntary contributions--which are wonderful. Liberals of course won't contribute their own dollars to help illegals and as such they would be unlikely to contribute to private charities that would help immigrants who hit a rough patch. Instead, as with all other things, liberals want others to be taxed to pay for what liberals want.
Illegals aren't , in general, monsters. If our ancestors had had the same opportunities for living off the government as liberals provide to illegals our ancestors would have probably availed themselves just as much as illegal aliens do today. But America can't succeed if a large part of the population thinks they can get subsidized just by voting for the candidates who will steal money from workers.
Immigration law in America needs dramatic reform. We need a guest worker program to select the people who, like our ancestors, just want a chance not a handout and to protect immigrants from exploitation by unscrupulous employers. What we don't need is a blanket path to let anyone who can sneak across the border get on the welfare rolls.