Harry Neuwirth writes from Silverton, OR.
An attentive reading of history confirms that earth's real estate has changed hands often, usually through the agency of war. Even the Americas, insulated from the rest of the world by intimidating oceans for millennia, have experienced tribal wars, land grabs, enslavements. The suggestion that "Native American" status is somehow superior to that of other people is spurious. That their ancestors migrated over the Alaskan ice bridge very long ago does not make them unique; it simply places them among the continent's early immigrants. Americans now hold legitimate sovereignty over the heart of this continent and need apologize to no one.
Now that the ice bridges have melted away, the earth is no longer flat, and citizens of the world communicate with one another at the speed of light, the oceans that once sheltered this continent have become as nothing, seriously increasing the need for sovereignty-maintenance. Unfortunately the Ellis Island paradigm that served the U.S.A. so well for so long fell into disuse decades ago, though the need for the border security has increased dramatically. A recent American president recognized this when he said "A nation that cannot control its borders cannot control its destiny." And no nation in history has had a more significant destiny than ours, not just for our own well-being, but as an example to a world that, now more than ever, needs a model of stable success.
"Ellis" monitored the health of entering immigrants, took a cursory look at their backgrounds and motives, then set them on course toward learning English and American history; put them on a direct course to becoming citizens as professed in their "Ellis" declarations: They were here. We knew they were here. And they had declared a desire to be naturalized; to become citizens of the nation that had enticed them away from their homeland, not just for a season, not just for a job, not just for a supplemental income for the folks "back home," but to become one with us.
But Washington has permitted immigration to run wild for the past fifty years until, not surprisingly, illegal immigration has become a highly emotional controversy and a serious problem. We know that many millions of Latinos have sneaked across the border illegally, yet we timidly observe that since they are good, hardworking, family-oriented people they somehow deserve privileged status; good people, wonderful people, but they are here illegally while other equally good people wait offshore to enter under proper circumstances.
United States immigration enforcement is a disgrace. And until we seize control of our borders, there is no immigration policy. There can be no policy. And it should be noted that ours is more than just a nation providing comfort and safety to those of us lucky enough to belong here, but one that provides a stable model for other nations as well as continuity for those in our trail in a world that, even with our stellar example, is spinning out of control.
Our good fortune at owning citizenship in this greatest of nations is patently coupled with a responsibility to help keep it great. A significant part of that responsibility is in the forming of public opinion that becomes the national momentum. We know that Congress can't resist intense public opinion. So we--you and I--need to inform our Congressmen in no uncertain terms that our borders must be secured, and immigration policy restored to sanity. If illegal residents have the chutzpah to parade through our streets protesting their privileged status, surely we can parade our legitimate claims past our congressmen. *
"You can't hardly find a law school in the country that don't, through some inherent weakness, turn out a senator or congressman from time to time . . . if their rating is real low, even a president." --Will Rogers