SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Calm Voice in the Immigration Wilderness: "Immigration focus needs to be practical rather than idealistic:"


Who is technically protected by the Fourteenth Amendment? It's NOT who you think. While listening to overheated rhetoric on ALL sides, one can forget that the net winner of the argument must be the American people, not the millions who have surreptitiously crept in or" found themselves" overstaying their visas.

The problem, however, is that, say, equal protection rights -- from the Fourteenth Amendment -- have a constitutional origin. Illegal immigrants, as human beings, are certainly entitled to human rights. But illegal residents are not technically within the jurisdiction of the American political community and are thus not entitled to the protection of certain rights that are, by constitutional design, directed to people within the jurisdiction.


Why would a nation want, or even need, immigrants?

The case for immigration doesn't have to do as much with the Latino vote or civil rights. It should center instead on America's growth, competitiveness and dynamism.


Although some organizers would want us to believe so, the group demonimated "Latinos" is not a monolith; they have a variety of views, backgrounds, and opinions, and among different groups, there are "significant differences" regarding views on illegal immigrants.

Just as important is that Latinos have a variety of views, backgrounds and opinions. When it comes to illegal migrants, for instance, Latinos show significant differences. Another Pew Hispanic Survey found that although there's an overall positive perception about immigrants, different generations have different perceptions about undocumented workers. More foreign-born Latinos than American-born ones believe that illegal immigrants should be allowed to become citizens.
So rallies might give the impression that Latinos have a loud, unique and common voice. The group, however, is too broad and diverse to speak of common views or trends that will translate coherently into votes.

Then there are those who view immigration, and legalizing undocumented workers, as a matter of civil rights. In the immigrant-rights rally in Alabama, the Rev. Lawton Higgs -- a United Methodist minister and activist -- reportedly said that ```we've got to get back in touch with the civil rights movement, because that's what this is about.'' Similarly, when talking at one of the rallies, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., linked the immigration fight to the civil rights movement.


There is a misperception among immigrants and among Americans not thoroughly schooled in the implied applications of the Constitution that rights, such as equal protection given under the Fourteenth Amendment, are the same for citizens and non-citizens. Non-citizens "are not technically 'within the jurisdiction of the American political community and thus are not entitled to the protection of certain rights that are, by constitutional design, directed to people within the jurisdiction.' "
How, then, will migrants or immigrants gain these rights?

To come under the purview of constitutional rights, illegal immigrants would first have to become recognized members of the political community. So the questions are whether and why they should be able to become members; not whether they have the same political rights as members.

Moreover, those reverting to the 1960s civil rights movement are looking to the past, not the future -- which is where immigration belongs.


The influx of immigrants into the United States is a matter of practicality:

To come under the purview of constitutional rights, illegal immigrants would first have to become recognized members of the political community. So the questions are whether and why they should be able to become members; not whether they have the same political rights as members.

Moreover, those reverting to the 1960s civil rights movement are looking to the past, not the future -- which is where immigration belongs... the case for welcoming new guest-workers and regularizing the status of illegal immigrants is compelling. It has to do with growth and competitiveness.


But, and there always is a but! But America must be able to pick and choose from available applicants, and should not be blackmailed, extorted, or threatened into accepting those that have forced themselves onto American soil, especially those that refuse to cooperate.

This country is slowly sliding toward a balkanization that will require partition: hyphenation or emphasis on national origin, ethnicity, or religious identification under the guise of multiculturalism and diversity is to blame. It certainly would be helpful if all citizens of the United States would drop the devisive hyphenated mentality and join the rest. Regarding onesself as Latino American, Mexican American, Black American, Muslim American, of Irish descent, from the British Isles, or any other devisive appelation or derrivation is not helpful.

And one more thing. It would be well for all to remember: marchers, observers, legislators, and citizens, that illegal immigrants can not vote, but the rest of us can and will remember if legislators show that they are more impressed by the rights, needs, and of non-citizens than they are of franchised Americans that put them their present exalted positions.

Could it be that new citizens will be converted into new voters? Perhaps this is why some are so enthusiastic in their pandering.

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