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Sovereignty Falters at the Open Border

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

DATELINE 2001: Millions of people who openly and intentionally violated federal law have been granted a pardon. The United States government has given full amnesty, citizenship and voting rights to all illegal aliens.

Whether the fictional headline elicits feelings of sheer delight or total dismay depends upon one,s civic, political and national perspective.

Unbeknownst to much of the public, U.S. immigration policy is being shrewdly manipulated. What was once a controlled flow of newcomers that furnished strength to America has become an unregulated torrent of settlers that threatens to undermine the nation.

The ability to immigrate to the United States clearly is, and always has been, a privilege, not a right. When we fail to acknowledge this premise, the concepts of private property and nationhood become instantly irrelevant. If a people who have joined together as a nation cannot rightly prevent outsiders from entering their country, no single individual can expect to maintain the capacity to stop a neighbor from moving onto his or her private property.

Historically, the United States has required those persons coming into the country to verify a minimum aptitude for assimilation. Immigrants were generally precluded from enjoying the benefits of citizenship until they could demonstrate that they were both equipped and disposed toward fulfilling the responsibilities involved.

Our country has consistently required applicants for naturalization to pledge an oath of loyalty to the United States, obtain a working knowledge of the English language and acquire at least a rudimentary mastery of American law and history. Understanding of the English language included an ability to read, write and speak words in ordinary usage.

However, changes in immigration policy have been occurring in an incremental and methodical fashion. For instance, Congress amended the Voting Rights Act in 1975 to require that voting ballots be written in non-English languages when either five percent or ten thousand voters of a district were unable to speak English. Subterfuge was conceivably afoot because the figure was to be calculated by counting non-citizens who are presumably prohibited by law from voting.

Congress has also eliminated the prerequisite (for those 50 years and over, if here for more than 20 years, or those 55 years and over, if here for more than 15 years) of demonstrating fluency in the English language before being able to obtain U.S. citizenship.

In another example of questionable modification, the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, also called the Motor-Voter Bill, requires states to carry on voter registration by mail, while hindering states from verifying eligibility of citizenship.

Additionally, non-citizen voting for local government has been implemented in five cities in Maryland: Takoma Park, Somerset, Martin,s Additions, Barnesville and Chevy Chase. In Washington, D.C., a city councilman has endorsed legislation to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections in the nation,s capital. A law professor at American University has called non-citizen voting "the suffrage movement of the decade.

In the midst of the 1996 presidential campaign, Vice President Al Gore directed a program innocuously named "Citizenship USA. This course of action received a relatively modest amount of attention, despite the fact that the potential consequences were monumental.

It seems the Clinton administration granted citizenship to 1.2 million immigrants, without first conducting essential criminal background checks. The executive branch used its power to instantaneously fabricate 1.2 million new voters, a move that was suspiciously timed to coordinate with the 1996 presidential election. The feat was accomplished through a presidential memorandum, signed on August 22, 1996, which favorably referred to the directive as "the most ambitious citizenship effort in history.

In light of the precarious path our leaders have chosen to tread, it is interesting to analyze the rather curious conversion that the AFL-CIO has recently undergone. Arguing for decades that cheap labor from illegal aliens was a menace to American workers, the AFL-CIO has had one of the most dramatic transformations in American history. Illegal immigrants were systematically viewed as potential strikebreakers and a threat to the job security and wages of union members.

But now, rather than a threat to American workers, these flouters of the law are viewed by union leadership as a source of money - future dues paying, plurality building, power consolidating tools. Amnesty, an idea that would have been ridiculed only a few years ago, is now part of the agenda of the American labor movement.

The advancement of this proposition is stunningly paradoxical for the unions. Unions were the chief proponents of the employer sanctions provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. In response to AFL-CIO demands, Congress passed a law in 1986 that imposed the union desired employer sanctions, which henceforth made it illegal for employers to hire workers without immigration papers.

This same legislation gave amnesty to all illegal immigrants who resided in the U.S. before 1982. When the dust settled, an unexpectedly high count, three million people, were given amnesty. Since then the number of illegal aliens has doubled.

Labor union leaders have been wringing their hands for some time over shrinking membership rosters, so when millions of potential new members were dangled before them by amnesty advocates it was too tempting an opportunity to resist. Union leaders now champion the idea of rewarding those who have willfully violated the law.

The fact that a shift in immigration policy would be detrimental to the men and women that the unions are supposed to represent does not seem to matter. Enter politics.

The mass of illegal aliens who were morphed into citizens in 1986 have regularly voted approximately 80% for Democrats. This bit of trivia has not escaped the notice of a party that covets control of Congress. And so history may be repeated as the election draws nearer and unholy alliances are solidified.

What is so tragic about this potential scenario is that the enfranchisement of illegal aliens may lead to the literal unmaking of America as a sovereign, independent nation. After all, if anyone can come to America and unconditionally feast at the table of privilege, there are no defining advantages to citizenship. We are in essence saying, let us just eliminate our borders altogether and extend all of the rights and freedoms accorded citizenship to anyone who happens to occupy the nation at any given time.

What message does it send to a society about respect for the rule of law when criminals are rewarded with the prize they illegally pursued? Another amnesty for illegal aliens would make a further mockery of an already debased landscape that can endure little more.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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