Sunday, June 18, 2006


During the immigration protests this year I heard some possibly illegal immigrants shout the message and hold the banner "No One is Illegal". I know this is supposed to appeal to my humanity, inviting me to remember that people coming over the border are human beings. I agree with the idea that human beings are all inherently valuable.

I came from another country. I was born into American citizenship on foreign soil because I had an American mother at birth. As I think about the claim "No One is Illegal" I see it both as an affirmation of human rights, but I also see it as a threat to national sovereignty.

We human beings have the remarkable ability to determine our destiny. America comes from the people's belief in and respect for the rule of law, starting with the Constitution. Our mutual acceptance of and belief in law is the way we bring justice and access to opportunity to our lives.

Some people are "Illegal". They lack a clearly documented identity, often do not carry insurance and cannot be tracked with criminal records or credit histories. We have a 12 million member class of under-identified people who should not be above the law and need to go about obtaining legal status. It may mean they must return to a home country and re-apply eventually, or pay a penalty for having violated the law.

The thing, this country, unto which people are coming, exists because of respect for and enforcement of laws, at its very core. Saying "No One is Illegal" is a "feel good" statement that is false and actually opposes the sovereignty of the United States. I am happy to see this country's demographics change and grow, this is our legacy. Whether Mexican, East Indian, West African, Asian, Eastern European, Irish, Italian or from anywhere, I believe every American resident should be documented and have respect for the laws of the land. If that means they cannot come here, then maybe it means reforming one's beloved homeland to have greater respect for law.

Many countries can meet the American standard of government or even improve upon it if they keep their citizens at home by improving their chances in their own borders. In any case, America without respect for the law, becomes something else. No matter how many immigrants try to shout it down for their own happiness and convenience, at the end of the day, they wanted to be here because of the character our nations citizens provide to our country through laws.