In this nation, we take pride in accepting the misfits from around the world. But some think ‘misfits’ is the same thing as the criminals, the thugs, the vermin, and its high time to correct that nonsense.
The United States, as I have written before, has never had a consistent policy on Immigration, and we are paying for that mistake. My father expressed to me his deep contempt for a system which, in his lifetime, barred Asians, Jews, and adherents of certain religions from entering the United States, while applying much more lenient standards to Europeans, even when they were communists and fascists. He saw the hypocrisy of a nation which boasted of its open arms, but whose businesses posted signs which read – please excuse me for the coarse language – “No Niggers, Wops, Kikes, or Micks”; a harsh and blunt rejection for the very existence of Black Americans, Americans from Italy, Jews, and the Irish. My father saw such signs in Philadelphia, where he was born and raised, and more than once pointed out to me the irony of such signs posted within 500 feet of the display for the Liberty Bell. I learned from such lessons the need to examine any policy closely.
Of course, in my age I have seen the hard examples of Angel Maturindo Resendez, an illegal immigrant who killed at least seven people who did nothing to provoke him, and various murders of police officers by illegal aliens whose conduct has failed to gain any apparent notice from Congress. The clear message is, we need a better plan.
The United States first established a national policy on Immigration after the Civil War. Up to that time each separate state was able to set a policy as it saw fit, which led to some significant disparity in demographics. In 1875 the U.S. Supreme Court declared Immigration the province of the Federal government, so in 1891 the Immigration Service, a forerunner to the INS, was created. There was no Border Patrol until 1924, so you can see what that meant for effective immigration control. This is significant, because for all the modern noise and worry, the Federal government did not pay much attention to the borders for most of our history. The Depression of the 1930s kept many immigrants from coming to the United States, for the obvious reason that we no longer seemed as attractive as before. Also, individual states and towns were able to enforce whatever controls they saw fit. To be blunt, in the age of Jim Crow laws if you were not white and male you stood little influence in a courtroom or with a police officer, so many minorities simply tried to avoid being visible. The lack of a comprehensive Immigration policy only made things murkier. While this made assimilation a functional need for immigrants, it also made reform trickier.
As to Latinos, one issue of concern was the practice of migrant workers, people who came into the United States to work during harvesting season, but who then returned to Latin America to their permanent homes. The Bracero Program, begun in 1942 but formalized by a treaty between the United States and Mexico in 1951, allowed for migrant workers to cross the southern border each way, and this program was a source not only of great advantage, but also manipulation and fraud, by many people on both sides of the border. The program was officially ended in 1964, but continues in practice more or less unabated. It has been suggested that INS officials were pressing a revised version of the program to President Bush in 2001, but it was delayed by the response to the 9/11 attacks. If so, resubmitting the plan without proper security considerations would be singularly poor thinking.
Essentially, modern Immigration presents four issues which demand resolution in whatever program is to be enacted:
1. The borders of the United States must be secured to prevent entry by criminals or terrorists.
2. Immigrants do not generally speak English, or desire to assimilate. Assimilation, including knowledge of basic English and compliance with general Law as established in the United States, including financial responsibility, must be demonstrated as part of any program for residency, work, or citizenship.
3. Immigrants tend to live and work in cultural communities. This culture should be supported and acknowledged, but not to the point of supplanting other valid cultures. Insurgent political groups, such as ‘La Raza', must not be tolerated.
4. Americans who cooperate or who are complicit in attempts to knowingly bring illegal entrants into the United States must face felony charges, whether for purposes of employment, deliberate illegal activity, or any support or participation in an action known to be in violation of Federal law regarding non-citizens.
The Constitution of the United States does not appear to me to define Citizenship by a non-native person, which I find a wise precaution. Article IV. Section 2 seems to imply that National Citizenship derives from State citizenship, and of course the 14th Amendment carries the key phrases:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
This is a significant statement to me, that a person must be “subject to the jurisidiction” of the United States and their residing state in order to be considered a citizen. That phrase has been used in the past to deny people the claim to dual-citizenship; you cannot say the laws of the United States do not apply to you if you want to be counted as an American citizen. Accordingly, any person who enters the United States illegally does not reasonably enjoy any consideration even as a potential citizen, which is a fundamental consideration for Residency. Further, the argument that simply being born in the United States is less than solid; if the means by which a child is born is fraudulent, then even being born on American soil does not confer citizenship, because the means used to produce that birthplace was in defiance of the jurisdiction, not subject to it, as the Amendment requires. In the days of liberal judges, this obvious attempt to subvert the law could be and was ignored, but with proper judicial oversight, the Constitution makes clear that the Federal government can and should make corrections to the flaccid policy which allows Citizenship and Residency on far less than reasonable conditions.
I am not wise enough to speak in specific to the conditions that should pertain to Citizenship and Residency, except that they must address the four issues I listed above, and an absolute requirement must be an oath of allegiance to the United States; anyone unwilling to protect the Sovereignty of the United States over its territory and people must not be allowed the rights or privileges granted our residents and citizens. We are a nation of immigrants, and must be open to those who wish to join us. That does not mean, however, that we must accept those who wish to destroy us.