I start with a series of core premises. First, the United States of America is not simply a market consisting of employers and workers. It is first and foremost, a nation composed of citizens. Second, there can be no serious immigration policy with a meaningful assimilation policy. Third, the appropriate levels of legal immigration should depend on how well we are assimilating newcomers into the American way of life.
Fourth, by assimilation I do not mean simply economic or linguistic assimilation, buying a home or speaking English. I mean patriotic assimilation, political loyalty to the United States, what Theodore Roosevelt called unapologetically called “Americanization.”
I am going to amend the promotional flyer for this panel that you received. The flyer says we are a nation of immigrants. More accurately we are nation of assimilated immigrants – or even more accurately, as Samuel Huntington points out, Americans are mostly the descendants of assimilated immigrants and the early settlers. We are about half and half at this point.
Also the promotional flyer states: “How should concerns with the rule of law, economics, fairness to legal immigrants, and national security be balanced? Well, there is another issue to be balanced. How do we strengthen the Unum in E Pluribus Unum? Call it the National Cohesion issue.
After all the immigration debate is not taking place in a vacuum. It is occurring after almost four decades of government and (often) business support for multiculturalism, bi-lingualism, group rights, ethnic preferences, ethnic-racial consciousness, “La Raza,” and the like.
This issue of American unity on the one hand vs. Multiculturalism and bilingualism, on the other hand, is part of this debate at its deepest the most “comprehensive” level. Elites don’t want to have this argument, but I think the vast majority of Americans do. The issue is: Do we enact the traditional American policy of patriotic assimilation or do slowly and imperceptibly create a Quebec and become like Canada two peoples in one nation.
In practical terms six legislative measures could be enacted by this Congress to foster patriotic assimilation. First, Senator Alexander has a bill specifically designed to “promote the patriotic integration of new citizens into the American way of life providing citizenship test courses with emphasis on heroes of American history (including military history), the principles of the Constitution. Moreover, an understanding of the meaning of the Oath would be incorporated into the citizenship test.
Second, Congressman Jim Ryun R-Kans. has incorporated into the House bill legislation codifying the Oath of Allegiance into law. Let’s look at the Oath of Renunciation of Allegiance.
For more than 200 years, immigrants upon becoming American citizens have taken an oath declaring: “I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty.”
However, during the last few years there has been a large increase in dual allegiance citizenship with naturalized citizens voting and even running for office in their birth countries. Justice Felix Frankfurter was right when he stated that voting in a foreign election and serving in a foreign government revealed not only something less than complete and unswerving allegiance to the United States, but also elements of an allegiance to another country, in some measure, at least inconsistent with American citizenship.”
If enacted into law the McCain-Kennedy bill, the Specter bill, or Martinez-Hagel-Lindsay Graham compromise would result in a massive increase in the number of naturalized American citizens who have dual allegiances. This harms patriotic assimilation. It is the opposite of our great historical tradition from George Washington to Theodore Roosevelt.
Thus, the third legislative measure would make voting in a foreign election, running for office in a foreign country against the law because it is inconsistent with American constitutional morality. Legislation has been drafted by Graves (R-Mo) and Hayworth (R-Ariz). This action has been strongly endorsed by the American Legion.
We have seen a lot of American flags lately at the pro-amnesty demonstrations. I suggest we call their Senate supporters on this and say: “Okay, if you are serious, then let’s take the Oath of Allegiance seriously and pass legislation prohibiting the exercise of dual allegiance.”
This legislation should be consistent with the Supreme Court Afroyim v Rusk decision of 1967 because the author of the decision Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that while Congress did not have the power to take citizenship away from anyone for voting in a foreign election, it did have the power to proscribe such activity.
If we are going to have a comprehensive bill, then let’s have a comprehensive assimilation bill. The fourth Legislative measure would be outlawing bi-lingual ballots. There is absolutely no reason that American citizens should vote in a foreign language, particularly since one is supposed to pass an English test to become a citizen. The fifth Legislative measure would be cutting off all federal funds for bi-lingual education, which has harmed immigrants trying to learn English.
Sixth, it would be helpful if President Bush finally withdrew Executive Order 11366 that he inherited from President Clinton. It not, Congress should act. The Executive Order, which is unfortunately being vigorously enforced by this administration, requires that all federal documents be translated into Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese for American citizens living in the US. In other words, State Department documents are translated into Spanish not for people in Latin America, but for American citizens. The Bush Administration has pushed even beyond Clinton requiring state DMVs to have foreign language speakers available for voter registration in languages other than English.
Let us say to our friends in the business community:
“We have just proposed six measures that will strengthen patriotic assimilation. You always tell us you are for assimilation. Will you support these reasonable measures to strengthen the Unum in E pluribus unum? Until you do so, we cannot engage our special interests concerns. You would like millions of low-cost workers in particular industries, such as agriculture, construction, restaurants, hospitality, and so on. But, the rest of us are supposed to subsidize the health and education costs for your employees.”
Economists from the right and left including Thomas Sowell, Robert Samuelson and others, don’t think that skewing the market by importing millions of people with less than an high school education is good for our high-tech economy or for the nation as a whole. “Importing poverty” is what Samuelson called it in the Washington Post last week, “corporate welfare,” is what Tom Sowell has been calling it.
Let’s do what the American people want. First secure our border with serious interior enforcement, second implement an assimilation policy, and only then, discuss the special interest needs of particular businesses.