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Securing Our Borders and Preserving American Civilization.


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Nor should we be concerned that a substantial number of new Americans are Hispanic. America has a long history of absorbing and blending people of many languages and backgrounds. There have always been non-English newspapers in America and now we have non-English radio and television. I am also not worried that some immigrants come here only to earn money and then go home (Italian immigrants, in particular, did that in the past). What should worry us is the breakdown of will on the part of America to control the borders and to ensure that new immigrants learn to be American. What should worry us is a breakdown of will to protect America's unique civilization....We need a guest worker program to ensure that guest workers pay taxes, get driver's licenses, buy auto insurance, abide by the law, and that filters out criminals and potential terrorists. The program should not be an automatic qualification for citizenship, though eventual citizenship should be held out as an opportunity....Before we declare immigrants citizens, we need to go back and remember how to turn immigrants into citizens. For much of American history, states ran Americanization programs designed to help immigrants assimilate into American culture. In the last two generations the liberal establishment has undermined and ridiculed American values, American history, and even the idea of American citizenship. Today, the Left wants voting opened to non-citizens, including illegal aliens. The Left regards national identity as irrelevant and patriotic commitment to America as irrelevant. The Left could not be further removed from the thinking of our Founding Fathers. Dr. John Fonte, America's leading expert on civic education, explains the Founding Fathers' thoughts on how to make good citizens: First, as noted, they had to think about the young. After all, children were not born republican citizens, but would have to be taught how to become citizens. Second, they had to think about immigrants, how best should these newcomers become American citizens? Their answer was clear and unequivocal: immigrants should be assimilated into American ideas and American common culture. Hence, the Founders regularly used words associated with ideas ('principles,' 'beliefs') and words associated with the common civic culture ('habits,' 'customs,' 'manners,' 'language,' 'laws,' 'our society'.) Fonte noted that George Washington worried about large numbers of immigrants not assimilating. In a letter to John Adams he wrote that '...the 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, laws: in a word, soon become one people.' Alexander Hamilton insisted that 'The 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...' It is clear what the Founding Fathers had in mind. To become an American citizen meant becoming an American in values, culture, and historic understanding. Citizenship was something to be studied and acquired, not merely a piece of paper to be granted. Furthermore, citizenship was exclusive and required renouncing any other allegiance.

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