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June 22, 2006
A Nation Of Laws?

La Shawn Barber takes her bow as a member of the Examiner Blog Board of Contributors with an opinion piece on immigration, and she holds nothing back in her scorn for the rhetoric of George Bush on this issue. Commending his speechwriter for creating "the most exquisite piece of empty doublespeak", La Shawn reminds Bush about the laws this nation does not see fit to enforce:

The issue is not whether the United States should seal the borders and stop all immigration, as the president very well knows. It is whether illegal aliens should be given amnesty for their crimes and allowed to benefit from their fraud. That is the crux of the controversy.

Last month, the Senate passed a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill that would permit illegal aliens in the country for at least five years to remain, continue working, pay fines and back taxes, and learn English. Instead of enforcing current immigration laws and strengthening the border, the federal government would busy itself implementing a guest worker program and granting amnesty to illegal aliens and their employers. Those who obtained fake documents, cheated on taxes and committed Social Security fraud will get to remain in the U.S. and also claim Social Security benefits based on their illegal employment.

A nation of laws, President Bush? The “comprehensive” immigration plan is too obscene for words.

The very existence of a law implies the existence of consequences for disobeying the law. A country that allows millions of criminals to go unpunished and to profit from their unlawful acts ceases to be a nation of laws.

La Shawn touches on one of the reasons why Americans get so polarized about this issue, and why compromise will be so difficult to reach on the terms of the White House. Most countries have ethnic ties as a common culture to bind their nation as an entity. The Germans are German, and non-Germans do not assimilate well; just ask the Turkish and other Muslims they have imported as "guest workers" over the past few decades. The Russians are Russian, and where they are not -- in the Caucasus, especially -- integration has created flashpoints for violence and separatists. The French are French, and when they are not, they wind up in ghettoes and marginalized with no hope for assimilation.

Americans have no real ethnic ties to bind them as a nation. This nation bound itself from the beginning on an ideal, one that we have frequently failed but always aspired to achieve: equal treatment under the law. At the time, the notion that a functioning state could survive without a monarch as at least a symbol of national unity seemed ludicrous, but the real challenge as we grew was the notion that disparate cultures could come together, cast off their allegiances to ethnicity and religion to be Americans first and foremost. The one binding cultural touchstone was the ideal of equal treatment under the law, and the laws that implemented it.

It therefore rankles and enrages when we have new immigrants come to this country, and in their very first steps on American soil disdain the laws that bind us as a culture. We look at that and wonder how these people could possibly respect the American experience and support the American culture of laws when they violate at least the immigration laws to arrive here, and usually break several others in regards to employment and identification. If we have to accept that lawbreaking as acceptable, it eats at the very heart of what it means to be American.

For that reason, most people demand some sort of accountability for the lawbreaking before anyone gets offered US citizenship. It isn't that we don't want people to assimilate; it's that we want assimilation on the terms of America and not on the terms of the lawbreakers. Reasonable people can reach a compromise on the status of 12 million illegal immigrants, but the message of 2006 seems pretty clear: the compromise cannot include a forgiveness of lawbreaking as a means to citizenship. Those who want to become Americans have to show that they understand and support the most basic element of the American ideal: equal treatment under the law.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 22, 2006 8:11 AM

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» Dead Amnesty-For-Illegal-Aliens Bill? from La Shawn Barber's Corner
Thanks to Dennis Hastert’s hardball maneuver, it looks like President Bush’s amnesty-for-illegal-aliens bill is floating on the surface of the political pond like a putrid dead fish. Shame on all Republicans who voted for it. Keep border ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2006 8:51 AM

» Are We A Nation of Laws? from Gulf Coast Pundit
A Nation Of Laws? June 22, 2006 La Shawn Barber takes her bow as a member of the Examiner Blog Board of Contributors with an opinion piece on immigration, and she holds nothing back in her scorn for the rhetoric of George Bush on this issue. Commendin... [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2006 12:14 PM

» from Vista On Current Events
Source by La Shawn Barber
In the first of a three part serries on immigration... [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2006 3:49 PM


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