Thursday, August 12, 2010

America Is An Immigrant Nation - Oppose Repeal of 14th Amendment

Of course we need to secure the our borders and enforce our immigration laws. Of course we need to increase border patrol numbers. The President today signed a $600. million bill to bolster security at the U.S. - Mexico border. It supplies 1,500 new border patrol, more communications equipment, and unmanned aircraft.

But we should not consider tampering with the 14th Amendment which grants birthright citizenship. The history of the 14th Amendment goes back to the post-Civil War era. It was enacted to make certain that former slaves were granted full citizenship. Then it became a means by which babies of immigrant citizens would be granted full citizenship. Now it is being used as a wedge issue by the Republican Party to shore up their base with the use of terms like "drop and leave", (as if describing animals), in referring to Latinos allegedly coming to America to have their babies.

America is truly unique as a nation of immigrants. You come to America and you can become American. You cannot immigrate to France and become French, nor Italy and become Italian, nor Spain and become Spanish, nor Poland and become Polish. But you come to America and you uniquely can become American. What a great legacy, heritage, uniqueness of America.

Certainly there are challenges related to it today. There have always been challenges and resistance to the concept by some. We need only think back to the time of the signs which read "Irish Need Not Apply " during the early 20th century.

But the advantages have always outweighed the challenges. It is who we are! The creativity, initiative, intellect of our immigrant population is our strength. Yes, there has always been a criminal immigrant element, those who assimilate less well than others, those who require public assistance. And a segment of established immigrants have always taken issue with and had resistance toward new immigrants. That is human nature.

But this movement to repeal the 14th amendment, and the current movement to crack down on illegal immigration, has seeds of total opposition to immigration in America. As fiercely as it is denied, of course, there are also elements of race involved. There are elements of fear, race, resistance to change, and the attitude of "give me my country back" that are pervasive in the movement.

We must remember who we are as Americans. Unless we are Native Americans, we are all grandchildren of immigrants. As Americans, we need to be about the business of creating jobs and commerce with the same vigor, creativity, innovation, and initiative of our immigrant forefathers (whether they be bootleggers or bankers).

We need to insist that our borders be secured and that our laws be inforced. We need to recall clearly that, when ask, the Lord made clear that the most important commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Any actions or initiatives beyond these are flatout un-American.

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