Thursday, May 27, 2010

Founding Fathers on Illegal Immigration and the Safety of the Republic

“Illegal immigration is a crisis for our country. 
It is an open door for drugs, criminals, and potential terrorists to enter our country. 
It is straining our economy, adding costs to our judicial, healthcare, and education systems.”
~ Timothy Murphy
“Anybody who comes into this country illegally is a criminal.”
~ Charlie Daniels

Historically, America has provided for lawful immigration to those who wish to live here and are willing to accept the responsibilities of citizenship. The Founding Fathers welcomed immigrants who contributed to society and who would assimilate into the culture. James Madison said he wished “to invite foreigners of merit and republican principles among us.” He recognized that “America was indebted to emigration for her settlement and prosperity,” but he wanted to exclude anyone who could not readily incorporate himself into society. George Washington felt that immigration should be limited to useful mechanics and some particular description of men and professions.

The Founding Fathers required that four elements be satisfied for an immigrant to become an American citizen. These requirements were incorporated into the the Naturalization Act of 1795 and remain a part of immigration law: 
1) five years of (lawful) residence within the United States; 
2) a good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States; 
3) the taking of a formal oath to support the Constitution and to renounce any foreign allegiance; and 
4) the renunciation of any hereditary titles.
Current law also requires competency in the English language. [Heritage Foundation]

Washington believed it was important for the immigrants to assimilate into American culture, so that they would become “one people.” Washington said: 
[T]he policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people.

George Washington, November 15, 1794]. Alexander Hamilton also felt that 
[T]he safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on the love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education, and family.
Thomas Jefferson feared that immigrants who brought different ideas and refused to assimilate would cause discord in society. He warned that “These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and tender it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass.” Such an effect would be to destabilize and fracture society. 

As opposed to legal immigration, illegal immigration occurs when foreign nationals enter and/or remain in another country in violation of the law. Immigration in conformity with the laws of the United States is to be supported and encouraged, but those who break the law should not be allowed to stay. Rewarding law-breakers only encourages them to further ignore and flaunt our laws and policies.

Illegal immigration to the United States is a tremendous problem. It has been estimated that between 11 and 20 million illegal immigrants live here. The illegal immigrant population in 2008 was estimated by the Center for Immigration Studies to be about 11 million people. That is more than the number of legal immigrants. The majority of the illegal immigrants are from Latin America. According to a 2005 Pew Hispanic Center report, 57% of illegal immigrants were from Mexico and 24% were from other Latin American countries. According to journalist and author, Peter Brimelow, “This type of mass influx is simply too much to handle. What we've had since the disaster of the 1965 Immigration Act will take 100 years or more to absorb.” Illegal immigration is devastating local economies, schools, health care facilities, and public safety across America. 

The economic burden of illegal immigration on taxpayers is staggering. The Center for Immigration Studies found that illegal immigrants cost taxpayers about $10.4 billion a year. According to former Representative from Florida, Ric Keller, taxpayers shell out about $45 billion a year for health care, education, and incarceration expenses of illegal aliens, The burden of illegal immigration is forcing hospitals across the country to close. Harvard economist, George Borjas, said that illegal immigration causes a “huge redistribution [of wealth] away from [unskilled American] workers to [American employers] who use immigrants.” Many college students cannot find summer jobs and wages “across the board are depressed by the overwhelming influx of cheap and illegal labor,” according to Elton Gallegly, Representative from California. Research by Borjas and Robert W. Scrivner, Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Harvard University, and Paul Samuelson, Nobel Prize-winning economist from MIT has shown that illegal immigration has substantially reduced the economic status of poor people in the U.S., while benefiting the middle class and wealthy.  Research by Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger (the Irving Harris Professor in Urban Policy in the Harris School at the University of Chicago), and Gordon H. Hanson (the Director of the Center on Pacific Economies and Professor of Economics at UCSD) indicated that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the wages of African-Americans by 4.0 percent, lowered the employment rate of African-American men by 3.5 percent, and increased the incarceration rate of African-American men by almost one percent. 

The country’s immigration laws are disrespected both by those who cross our borders illegally and by the businesses that hire those illegal immigrants. Identity theft is associated with illegal immigrants who use social security numbers that do not belong to them, in order to obtain fake work documents. Penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants range from $2,000-$10,000 and up to six months' imprisonment. However, these penalties must be enforced to be effective.

Illegal immigration has also devastated the environment. According to  Mike Coffeen, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Tucson, Arizona,
It has been estimated that the average desert-walking immigrant leaves behind 8 pounds of trash during a journey that lasts one to three days if no major incidents occur. Assuming half a million people cross the border illegally into Arizona annually, that translates to 2,000 tons of trash that migrants dump each year...
A few years ago, there were 45 abandoned cars on the Buenos Aires refuge near Sasabe, Arizona and enough trash that a volunteer couple filled 723 large bags with 18,000 pounds of garbage over two months in 2002. 
Illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. - Mexican border in southern Arizona are suspected of having caused eight major wildfires in 2002. [Environmental Damage] The fires destroyed 68,413 acres (276.86 km2) and cost taxpayers $5.1 million to fight. [Environmental Damage]

If we are a nation of laws, immigration should occur legally, “not through the machinations of illegal schemes and scams that threaten our national security,” as J. D. Hayworth, Representative from Arizona, put it. The flood of illegal immigrants to the United States has created great instability. The invasion of illegal immigrants could even be seen as a Fifth Column infiltration. They are undermining this nation from within to benefit another country. In this case, Mexico. According to Mexican President Calderón, “Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.” [Mexican President Assails U.S. Measures on Migrants]

A program run by the government of the state of Yucatan and a federal Mexican agency helps Mexicans migrating to the U.S. In 2005, they produced a handbook and DVD about how to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The guide told immigrants where to find health care, how to get their kids into U.S. schools, and how to send money back home to Mexico. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and some advocacy groups claimed that they were encouraging illegal immigration by giving such advice. 

Similar to the guide, the Mexican government distributed a comic book in 2005 that gave tips to people illegally emigrating to the U.S. such as “Don't call attention to yourself. ... Avoid loud parties. ... Don't become involved in fights.” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, said it was “kind of like illegal immigration for dummies.” The comic book had a disclaimer that the Mexican government does not promote illegal border crossings and only encourages visits to the U.S. with required documentation, but as Krikorian said, “Promoting safe illegal immigration is not the same as arguing against it.” 

The Mexican federal government issues identity cards called Matrícula Consular (“Consular Registration”) to Mexicans living abroad. The cards allow holders to get driver's licenses in some U.S. states, open bank accounts, and send money home. [Remittances are Mexico's biggest source of income, says Fox]. They are a boon to the Mexican economy, generating more money than the Mexicans in Mexico. In 2003, Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, stated that remittances “are our biggest source of foreign income, bigger than oil, tourism or foreign investment” and that “the money transfers grew after Mexican consulates started giving identity cards to their citizens in the United States.” [Remittances are Mexico's biggest source of income, says Fox] Fox stated that money sent from Mexican workers in the United States to their families back home reached a record $12 billion in 2003.[Id.] Fox said: “The 20 million Mexicans in the United States generate a gross product that is slightly higher than the $600 billion generated by Mexicans in Mexico.” [Id.] In 2005, the World Bank stated that Mexico was receiving $18.1 billion in remittances. In 2007, the illegal aliens were sending home about $20 billion a year. [Mexican President Assails U.S. Measures on Migrants]. 

In September 2007, Mexican President Calderón criticized the United States for cracking down on illegal immigrants, even though Mexican officials strictly enforce Mexican immigration laws. Elton Gallegly’s response was “It is our hope that in future discussions with the Mexican government, you will encourage Mexico to do its part to address illegal immigration rather than encourage their citizens to illegally enter the U.S.” Unfortunately, Mexico has a strong incentive to encourage its nationals to illegally work in the U.S., since its economy benefits greatly from the money they send back home. 

Although the issues surrounding illegal immigration may be complex, America must secure its borders and stop the influx of illegal aliens. Article 4, Section 4 of the United States Constitution states “The United States shall ... protect each [State in this Union] against Invasion...” U.S. authorities have a constitutional duty to protect the border from foreign invasion. If the flood of illegal foreign nationals is not stemmed, we might find that our great nation has been destabilized by a quietly invading force. The safety of the republic depends on halting the invasion.


James P. Hodges, Ph.D.
Website: Leadership by George!

Winner of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Medal of Honor
Member: National Speakers Association, American Society for Training and Development

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rally Around the Flag - Flag Day

On Flag Day, June 14, 2008, Dr. James P. Hodges presented a speech entitled "Rally Around the Flag" to Fort Vancouver, Washington Historic Reserve Trust. Here is the text of the speech, which has been edited and modified for print.

Fellow Citizens, 

It is altogether fitting that we honor our flag as we celebrate Flag Day each June 14. Our flag is much more than a piece of cloth flapping in the wind. It is the symbol of our nation. It represents who we are,  our shared history, our culture, our patriotism, and our love for our country. 

The American flag:
symbol of valor, purity of morals, liberty and justice for all.
The American Revolution was a remarkable victory for liberty. Against all odds, 13 separate colonies on the farthest edge of civilization transformed themselves into a new nation-state: the United States of America. Making this change from British tyranny to self-government was due to the collective leadership wisdom of our Founding Fathers. Let us honor the flag's important role in our nation's history.
When George Washington arrived in Boston in July 1775 to take command of the newly created Continental Army from the militia of the four New England colonies, the flag then flying was bright yellow. It had a picture of a rattlesnake in the middle that was coiled and ready to strike. At the bottom, the flag had the inscription, “Don’t tread on me.” This flag symbolized Americans' defiance of Britain trampling upon their rights. The rattlesnake was chosen for a couple of reasons. For one, it is a symbol of Americans because it is native to America. In addition, one rattle alone does not make much noise, but all rattling together in unison can make quite a racket. Finally, the rattlesnake does not attack unless provoked, but if it is trodden upon, it will deliver a deadly strike - just like the Americans.

After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, the British started to trample upon the rights Americans felt entitled to as English subjects. Since the first period of colonization, each colony had more affinity with the Mother country (England) than with each other, but the colonies began to draw together. By 1775, there was a significant change in attitude, but the transformation was not yet complete. When Washington visited the men in July 1775, he was appalled by the animosity often shown toward men from a different colony. For example, troops of one colony would often refuse to serve under the officers of another. There was once a terrible melee in which troops from the maritime part of Massachusetts had a “free for all” with the backwoodsmen. It was so bad that they actually gouged each others' eyes out. Washington put an end to the brawl immediately, shouting that they were not to fight each other but to reserve themselves to better fight the British. Washington admonished his troops, saying that they must be united in both thought and deed. Washington told them that they were now the troops of the United Colonies of North America, so they must  start considering themselves to be Americans. 

Unfortunately, the attitude of being loyal first to one's state lingered for a long time despite all of Washington's efforts. His step-grandson in law, General Robert E. Lee, was an example. After 30 years of devoted service to his country, Lee put loyalty to his state, Virginia, over that of his country. When Virginia left the Union, he went with it and fought for the Confederacy against the Union. 

Robert E. Lee, Confederate General

The Americans wanted a flag to symbolize cohesion, cooperation, and unity of vision for all Americans. To that end, a flag with 13 alternating red and white stripes next to each other was designed. The 13 stripes symbolized the inter-connected 13 colonies. At the time, the colonies were still British, so the British Union Jack was placed in the upper right-hand corner. This flag was called the "Grand Union" and flew from January 1, 1776 to June 14, 1777.

In November 1776, four months after America declared its independence from Great Britain, the American warship, Andrew Doria, entered St. Eustatis, a Dutch island in the West Indies. Andrew Doria was there to procure gun powder and other supplies for the war effort. Andrew Doria fired a salute to the Dutch flag, as was customary. To the Americans' joy and relief, the Dutch returned the salute with booming cannons. This  was the first time a foreign government recognized America as an independent nation.  

Andrew Doria: The First Salute
On June 14, 1777, the legendary Betsy Ross sewed the "Stars and Stripes," which became the national flag. The new flag was highly symbolic, and Washington consulted with Ross on the design. The British Union Jack was replaced with 13 stars in a circle, which represented the 13 colonies. The 13 red and white stripes that also symbolized the colonies were retained. The red stood for the valor of American arms; the white stood for the purity of their morals; and the blue stood for liberty and justice for all. Washington said at the time that they had plucked the stars from heaven. The first time the "Stars and Stripes" flew in battle, the Americans were victorious. At Fort Stanwix in upstate New York, the Americans defeated the British  and their Indian allies, who were invading America from Canada. 
The flag played a key role in the writing of the national anthem. In September 1814, toward the end of the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key, a lawyer from D.C., was a prisoner aboard a British warship. A strong British  fleet was attacking Fort McHenry (named after James Mc Henry, Washington's Secretary of War), which protected Baltimore and the middle states. Key was allowed to watch the battle. He saw the American flag proudly flying at "twilight’s last gleaming." All through the night, the flag was illuminated by the light of cannon fire all around. At dawn’s early light, the flag was still waving, which meant the British had been defeated. Deeply touched, Key wrote his famous poem to commemorate the victory, which became the national anthem.

The Battle of Fort McHenry

"The Star Spangled Banner"
Francis Scott Key

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The American flag at Fort McHenry was hard to miss. The fort commander wanted everyone to see it, so he flew a huge flag. A garrison flag was normally 20 by 30 feet, but this flag was 30 by 42 feet. It was flown from a 90 foot pole. This flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes, because for a short period of time, flag designers added a new star and a new stripe for every new state that joined the Union. They soon realized, however, how cumbersome that design could become, so they reverted back to the original 13 stripes. They continued to add a new star to symbolize each new state that joined the Union. For example, Washington was the 42nd star to be added to the flag when it joined on November 11, 1889.
When you look upon the Stars and Stripes, remember what it stands for: valor, purity of morals, liberty and justice for all. America does not exist separate from its citizens. We are America. We must be the living embodiment of those ideals for which it stands. Let us aspire to be the values the American flag symbolizes. Let us be the shining examples of ethical and moral conduct that Washington and the other Founding Fathers envisioned for our nation. 

God Bless our flag! Long may it wave over the land of the free and home of the brave! 


Copyright 2010 James Hodges, Ph.D. Speech may be reprinted with written permission by Dr. Hodges. Contact: jim (at) leadershipbygeorge dot com

James P. Hodges, Ph.D.

Winner of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Medal of Honor
Member: National Speakers Association, American Society for Training and Development