IMMIGRATION FOLLIES

I’m a conservative. I support President Trump’s courageous stance for a

border wall because I want to bring illegal immigration to a dead stop. But first, the current climate forces me to issue a disclaimer: I hate no one.

I don’t care if legal immigrants – I repeat, legal – are brown, black, yellow, blue or polka-dot, so long as they are loyal to the country, believe in its institutions and traditions and can support themselves. I love legal immigrants and I happen to be the son of legal immigrants. So why the disclaimer? Because if you give voice to the belief that we should have some control over who enters our country, name-calling will swiftly follow: you’ll be called a bigot, racist, xenophobe, or Nazi. The left has so successfully poisoned the well of public discourse that anything that differs from their orthodoxy – open borders, sanctuary cities and states – must be the product of a crazed white supremacist. I am no such thing.

I oppose illegal immigration because most illegals are low-skilled and quickly become a burden on US taxpayers. In addition, those who break the law to get here are more likely to commit crimes here. According to a GAO study, illegals in state and federal prisons cost us $1.6 billion annually. According to the US Department of Justice, in 2014, 33% of all Federal prison sentences were meted out to illegals, and illegals were responsible for 13% of all US crime. The FBI found that illegals committed 25,064 murders between 2003 and 2009.

The left always distorts the language to meet their ends, and immigration is a prime example. So let’s do some linguistic repair. There is no such thing as an illegal immigrant. An immigrant is someone who is here lawfully. Someone who is here illegally is an illegal alien. According to Merriam Webster’s definition, illegal means contrary to or forbidden by law, while alien is defined as someone belonging to a foreign country. There is no such thing as an undocumented immigrant. An immigrant without documentation is here unlawfully, and is therefore an illegal alien.

In 1986 the Simpson-Mazzoli bill gave a pathway to citizenship (amnesty) to 2.7 million illegals while promising an end to “illegal immigration.” But the enforcement never came. This is what conservatives fear: amnesty first with no enforcement. It’s long past time we got enforcement with a barrier to make it stick.

Canada has a merit-based immigration system. Proposed immigrants must score 67 of a possible 100 points to gain lawful admission to the country. Points are awarded based on education, job skills, language skills (proficiency in English and French), age, and having a job. If the applicant does not get 67 points they don’t get in. What happens to illegal border crossers in Canada? Liberal Member of Parliament and special adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Randy Boissonnault, said, “..our country has been built on, and will continue to be built on immigration…but if you cross the border illegally, you will be breaking the law. You will be apprehended. And after that, you will be in detention.” Canada, with their point system and strict border enforcement, doesn’t sound racist – it sounds like President Trump.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, most border crossers are now families and unaccompanied children. They do this to skirt our laws. They know they will be released into the country with a court date that most will never keep.

Speaker Pelosi says a real wall is immoral, but a virtual wall is not. A virtual wall will allow the Border Patrol to watch people break into our country, but won’t stop them. A solid barrier will.

President Trump and half the Republican party support building a border barrier to protect the American people. In 2006, Democrats were for it. The Secure Fences Act passed with large bipartisan majorities: 283 votes in the house and 80 in the Senate. Some of those Senators are still there: Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden, Debbie Stabenow and Sharrod Brown. Senator Schumer once said, “illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple.” Hillary Clinton, while running for President in 2015, said, “I voted numerous times when I was a Senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in…” She has now changed her stance. The first responsibility of any government is the protection of its citizens. In this, Democrats have failed, along with many

Republicans.

Democrats say they want border enforcement. But at the same time, we have 500 so-called sanctuary cities and three declared sanctuary states run by Democrats. Each of these stands in contravention to federal law, thereby giving refuge to law-breakers and encouraging more lawlessness. Meanwhile, not one Washington Democrat has stood up for the rule of law by publicly criticizing the so-called sanctuaries. How can we take these people seriously? The only way Democrats will agree to border security is if it is attached to an amnesty. And why is that? Ask yourself, who benefits? And the answer will emerge in sharp relief. They want voters and the power to control the country for generations.

Canada has a sensible immigration policy which is supported by most Canadians. They guard their borders. They enforce their immigration laws and they admit qualified applicants into their country. It sounds like Canadian leaders love their country and their citizens enough to protect them.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

LET THE DEBATE BEGIN

Vigorous debate among citizens is central to a functioning republic. The meaning of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution should be the subject of just such a debate.

The 14th has been thought to grant citizenship to anyone born on US soil except for the children of diplomats. This has been called “birthright citizenship.” But was this what the authors intended?

The 14th Amendment is one of three constitutional amendments from the Reconstruction Era which followed our Civil War, a conflict fought to preserve the Union and end slavery. Those Confederate states that seceded from the Union were defeated hostile powers under military occupation.

Taken together the 13th, 14th and 15th are often referred to as the Reconstruction Amendments. The 13th abolished slavery. The 14th was meant to insure the rights of newly freed slaves (freedmen), including their offspring. The 15th granted the freedmen the right to vote.

The 14th Amendment reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States….” It passed Congress in 1866 and was finally ratified by all the states in 1868.

Supporters of “birthright citizenship” focus only on the first part of the 14th “All persons born or naturalized in the United States…” and they ignore the second part, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof..” Legal scholars argue over the meaning of the various clauses and which ones are legally controlling. Supporters of “birthright citizenship” ignore the era in which it was created and what its authors said in the debate leading up the 14th ratification.

The 14th Amendment was written to protect the rights of the freedmen. During that time many thought that blacks were not persons entitled to rights. Roger Taney, Supreme Court Chief Justice from 1836 to 1864 had said, “They (blacks) have no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The Confederacy may have been conquered and occupied, but they were and would remain defiant. A mere law passed by Congress and signed by the President could be reversed by a future Congress. Therefore a Constitutional Amendment was required to guarantee the freedman’s rights. So concerned were the 14th Amendment’s authors that they were prepared to deny Congressional representation to Confederate states that failed to obey it.

Senator John Howard (R) of Michigan, one of the amendment’s authors, stated, “(The Amendment) will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to families of ambassadors or foreign ministers…”

The 14th Amendment couldn’t possibly apply to illegal aliens. At the time of its ratification the concept of illegal aliens did not exist. How could a category of people who did not exist at the time fall under its protection? The 14th specifically mentions states: “…no state..shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States.” The authors referenced the states to protect the freedmen in those states defeated by Union forces and, at the time, under Reconstruction.

Why is this important now? There are between 12 and 22 million illegal aliens now in the US. Any woman here illegally who has a child gives birth to a new US citizen, thereby anchoring (hence the term anchor baby) that mother and likely her immediate family here in the U.S.

Our immigration policy has been a failure punctuated by inaction, moral preening and meaningless talking points. We the People have had nothing to do with the immigration mess made by our political class. They have turned a blind eye to people illegally crossing our border and overstaying their visas. Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime—we are all victims. Instead of enforcing existing law the ruling class passed the absurd “Diversity Visa Lottery,” thereby reducing what should be a privilege to a garish game of chance. It is long past time our political leaders listened to us. Citizenship in the freest and most prosperous country on earth is a precious gift and should not be granted because of breaking our laws or cynically skirting them. We citizens should decide who gets to join us in the privilege of calling ourselves Americans. Let the debate begin.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.