Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What is allegiance?

Often in the debate about illegal aliens we hear the tired, old song, “They just came here to be part of the American Dream, just like millions of immigrants in the past.”

But, let’s be honest here; How do we demonstrate our love for America? We’ve circulated the Teddy Roosevelt quote about dual loyalty and point to that. I would guess that dual citizenship is not a sin, and it certainly isn’t illegal. It goes against the “Love it or leave it” philosophy, but in most cases those who hold dual citizenship are respectful of our nation.

Generally, dual citizens do it as a personal safeguard. They were born in Canada or Mexico, have lived most of their lives here, raised families, and want some insurance against changes in the immigration laws.

So how do we show we are sincere about pursuing the American Dream? Let me suggest these criteria:

1) Respect for our laws. It is a bad sign of your loyalty when the first thing you do is come here uninvited. And the second thing you do is buy fake documents so you can work here. (They don’t all do that; some of them work for cash and avoid taxation altogether.)
2) When in Rome…learn Italian. There is a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center that reveals that 71% of Mexican immigrants don’t speak English. (The percentage comes from those who say they speak English “just a little or not at all.”) 56% of Mexicans speak Spanish only at home.
3) Become a citizen. Only 19.8% of immigrants from Mexico have become naturalized citizens. (See CIS Study, “Immigrants in the United States, 2007”, page 11.) Over 52% of the two million Chinese have become citizens. Indians have 38% citizens. Filipinos become naturalized citizens at a rate of 60.3%. Taken together, this report says 39% of the foreign born from ALL nations have become citizens.

I suppose there are other “good citizen, good neighbor” indicators like paying your own way, being financially responsible (with health insurance, car insurance, and planning for your own retirement), flying the flag of your host country or no flag at all…

Evidence of all of these things and more make the “I want to be an American” statement ring hollow in the ears of the citizens.

Perhaps their demand for rights while they defy assimilation grates on us the most.

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