We are without question a nation of immigrants. Whether you descend from the settlers in New Amsterdam in the 1600s (now called New York), or whether you are descended from the Mayflower voyagers, or from the teeming hoards from various European countries who viewed the Lady with the Lamp in the middle of the New York Harbor in the early 20th Century, our forbearers came from somewhere else on the globe.
The immigrants of the past had to comply with a strict set of rules to be permitted to enter our country. Steerage passage on an ocean-liner might have delivered one to Ellis Island, but that was not a guarantee that a newcomer would not be forced to take the next boat back to whence he came.
A promise of a domicile from a family member already here, or one provided by an ethnic support group was needed to qualify for entrance. Also, a certifiable or marketable skill or a probability of menial employment was needed too. Often a letter of introduction from someone or some entity stating that a new arrival would not end up a burden of the government was often required. Lastly, a medical examination was performed to ensure the want-to-be American did not have a chronic illness.
If one jumped all those hurdles and made it through the golden threshold into the United States, then you had to comply with the system of resident alien laws. These included registering as a resident alien, regularly verifying one’s employment, stating residency, tax reporting, and conveying the current number of family members.
Then if one was compliant and dutiful, one could adhere to a 7-10 year process toward naturalization and become a true legitimate American.
Those standards of respect for our legal system and for that matter for our nation have been tossed aside when it comes to illegal immigrants today.
Recently, the Attorney General of the United States Jefferson Sessions made a speech that expressed the intention of the Trump Administration to rescind the executive order from former President Barak Obama called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
This speech which directed a renewal of the policy of complying with the current immigration law cited the established legal parameters. The future revocation (after a six month period) of Obama’s 2012 order is necessitated by the undisputable fact that Obama circumvented the legislative branch of government.
Reactions to Sessions’ assertions were widespread, varied and heated. Business leaders worried about worker disruptions in their businesses. Liberal Democrats expressed moral outrage. Demonstrations ensued across the country, especially by Latino organizations. And those directly effected told their subjective tales of woe at particularly placed podiums where press where stationed ahead of time. Further, those activists who hurled accusations of indifference and malevolence at President Trump and Attorney General Sessions missed the most salient point. President Obama exceeded the line of demarcation between the three coequal branches of government by his order, and Sessions and Trump are merely stating they intend to uphold current immigration law.
Furthermore, Sessions implored Congress to resolve their quandaries regarding this issue by simply doing their job and passing a revision of the current laws of immigration.
Nevertheless, showboating legislators demonstrated their “righteous indignation”.
Republican Senator from Texas, John Cornyn said, “If Trump truly wants a comprehensive reform package, including a solution for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, he’s certain to be disappointed.” Sadly, the second most powerful Republican senator has already conceded defeat before Congress could even address the issue again.
Practicalities aside, the Rhode Island delegation displayed their usual innocuous self-serving dribble. Polar Bear enthusiast Senator Sheldon Whitehouse stated: “Unraveling this program confronts none of the major problems with our immigration system. Instead, the President is breaking apart families and bruising the economy. And, on Charlottesville, he is signaling to champions of hate and bigotry that their voices matter most”. Are you serious Sanctimonious Shelly? Here is an idea, stop concentrating on how much ice your furry friends have to play on up north and start fashioning a bill to revise the immigration laws!
Additionally, Senator Jack Reed said, “In essence, the President is setting deportation dates for 800 thousand young people who have pursued an education, contributed to their communities, and stayed out of trouble”. Yes, senator they may be relatively fine people but they have in a foundational manner broken the law. Now you wish to reward them for that breach. They came into this country essentially as human contraband. No matter what strife their parents might have been escaping, the sins of their fathers bringing them here illegally must be hoisted on the shoulders of the sons. They should apply for legal status by legitimate means in keeping with current law. If that law changes to accommodate them through a legislative act in congress, then so be it. Then that will then become the law of the land. The “constitutional law professor” Obama ignored the constitution with his DACA order.
Parenthetically in their importance to this or any issue, our congressional representatives express their inevitable umbrage. Mealy-mouth Representative David Cicilline stated, “This is a shameful moment for our country. America has always stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity, but not today”. Mundane clichés aside, why not start working on real reform if you believe so strongly in your tired adages David.
Representative James Langevin as always parroted the Democrat party line calling the decision “a victory for anti-immigrant ideologues and further evidence of his (Trump’s) Administration’s general lack of empathy”.
Mr. Langevin the Attorney General practically begged congress to do their job and produce reforming legislation. Instead of judging the character of Trump and Sessions, who are trying to comply with current law, why not write new law that is favorable to your party eccentricities?
Often-time Florida resident Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is also getting into the act. Kilmartin has promised to add Rhode Island to the Star Chamber of State Attorneys General in their legal challenge against the Trump administration decision. He stated: “President Trump has committed a moral crime against children”. Florida Pete is supposedly our chief law enforcement officer. Thus, he should be in full support of upholding the current law and the new law if the congress does its job and changes it. This example of political pandering by RI’s AG is disappointing indeed.
Correlatively, the epicenter of liberal protest in Rhode Island, Burnside Park in Providence, experienced another in a series of demonstrations. A couple of hundred college kids chanted slogans and held signs demonizing President Trump in regard to his repeal of Obama’s executive order. Many of the protestors were Ivy League students from Brown University. The closest these young people ever got to an illegal immigrant in their lives were their maids when they were children. Since many of them are aspiring to be future lawyers, one might think they would care about conforming to the established laws on the books.
As many regular readers are aware, I am not a great fan of our current president. However, in this regard he is absolutely correct. We are a nation of laws. One can not come to our country and pick and choose which law he will obey and which one he will not. If your parents brought you here in violation of the law and you have lived here illegally, then you have broken the social contract. Apply for legal status under the current laws or the revised ones should the congress finally do their jobs.
My family on both sides came here in the 20th Century. They complied with the laws and all became naturalized citizens. There were no short-cuts. They could not choose which statute they would obey and which they would not. In time they proudly became Irish-Americans.
If you dream to be one of us, welcome. But follow our laws first. You should not be rewarded for breaking them. Also, Mr. Legislators stop concentrating on the superfluous and self-aggrandizing and get something done on this issue you claim to feel so deeply about!