Kellogg column: U.S. must be nation of Americanized immigrants
The Fourth of July is a celebration of the independence that makes America great. Two weeks prior to the holiday, activists complained that the Supreme Court blocked President Obama’s plan for immigrants here illegally to retain access to that greatness. This highlights that immigration policy must be considered within the framework of independence and liberty. The longevity of our “land of opportunity” is dependent on diligent preservation of what our founders built.
The Constitution of the United States secures individual liberty for Americans by limiting government authority. Limits on government also unfetter capitalism to stimulate creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. The result is freedom and prosperity that is unsurpassed in world history. American citizens with a strong work ethic and attitude of personal responsibility can accomplish anything.
The United States is often described as a “nation of immigrants.” Immigration activists claim our strength is due to diversity. In truth, we are strong and prosperous because we are diverse peoples united into one nation with a common language, a distinct culture rooted in independence and clearly defined borders. We’re a successful nation because we are a nation of Americanized immigrants.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” The underlying intent of that authority is to promote assimilation into the American culture, preserving the values and ideals inherent at the founding. That’s why new citizens are required to learn English, as well as our history and civic structure.
A comprehensive immigration policy must mold people into Americans instead of grouping them into subsets based on ethnicity or race or nation of origin. If new citizens do not embrace American culture and language, and respect our borders, our identity is diluted. Without a deliberate effort to preserve the essence of the American spirit and structure, freedom and prosperity will erode.
President Obama’s immigration plan, referenced earlier, is just a political ploy. It’s an executive order that bypasses Congress to shield people here illegally from potential deportation and provide eligibility for work permits. The plan was challenged in court by 26 states. Due to the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court vote in the case was 4-4 tie. That means a lower court ruling in favor of the states stands.
Of course, the case underscores the importance of the presidential election and future appointments to federal courts. But immigration policy is not within the realm of the presidency or the courts. Pursuant to the rule of law, the legislative branch is authorized to set those rules and regulations. We need elected leaders in Congress who are guided by the Constitution instead of personal politics or public opinion.
The current trend of uncontrolled illegal immigration marginalizes the importance of American culture, language and borders and undermines our national identity. Furthermore, our government is discouraging self-reliance and personal responsibility among immigrants and fostering a mentality of entitlement. The interaction of the welfare system and immigration policy expands a dependent population and creates sub-classes of citizens that are simply considered as voting blocs.
People here illegally and activist supporters express anger that “partisan politics” deny them access to the sanctity and security of America. The fact is, individuals who are not citizens do not have a right to American citizenship without the consent of the American people. As a sovereign nation, our Congress sets the rules and conditions of citizenship. It’s time for our elected leaders to operate with that mindset.
The United States welcomes hard-working individuals who come honestly to join us as Americans in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. The rule of law must be enforced firmly, fairly and equitably for every would-be immigrant, regardless of skin color or native tongue. Without question, the legal routes to citizenship must be enhanced and expanded. But successful immigration policy must incorporate patriotic assimilation, not selective amnesty.
An immigration policy that disregards our nation’s language, culture and borders, and the rule of law undermines the promise of liberty and opportunity for citizens and immigrants alike. Our founders fought for the independence to establish a country that is an ongoing experiment in liberty. That experiment will ultimately fail if we don’t infuse the responsibility of independence into our establishment and enforcement of immigration laws.
James D. Kellogg is an engineering consultant and the author of “Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller.” Look for the novel on amazon.com and visit JamesDKellogg.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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