Monday, April 24, 2006


Speaking before a throng of illegal immigration supporters, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) proclaimed that the current immigration debate “goes to the heart of who we are as Americans.” His words were immediately translated into Spanish. No doubt the irony was lost on the senator, as I am certain it is lost on a great many politicians now salivating at the sight of so many potential voters.

The debate is filled with irony. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial described those demanding a no nonsense immigration policy as narrow minded, exclusionary and visionless. A Republican attempt to stem the flow of illegal immigrants is a missed opportunity to curry favor with Latino voters. Mind you, this rather Democratic sounding rebuke came from the right wing. Of course, what one continues to hear from the left is that to demand secure borders is to be racist, xenophobic, and a lot of other bad names one can’t print and shouldn’t say in polite company, which isn’t ironic at all.

The irony of course is borne of obfuscation. We know for instance that the thousands attending rallies around the nation are protesting an immigration bill that would fund the building of a fence across 700 miles of our southern border and make being in the country illegally a felony. But what is it they are advocating? A quick peek:

    * Immediate amnesty for 11.5 million current illegal immigrants

    * Demilitarization of our border

    * Unfettered access to tax-payer funded health care, education and food stamps.

    * An end to sanctions for businesses employing illegal workers

    * No on site enforcement of immigration laws

    * Voting rights

    * Drivers licenses

The irony is that Americans haven’t risen in mass demonstrations. Who is it that is truly narrow-minded, nationalist, and bigoted? Those demanding their representatives protect their property and the sovereignty of their nation or those that march in the streets flying a foreign flag, demanding privileges they have no right to from a people they apparently do not wish to become?

The argument has truly been turned on its head. Witness the now universal usage of the term “undocumented workers” as if it were just a matter of finding time in a hectic schedule to go down to the local post office and fill out the paperwork. Or the manner in which the debate has been framed. Above the din of the thousands chanting at immigration rallies across the nation, one hears the cry that this nation was built on the backs of immigrants, we are a nation of immigrants and soulless without them. Some of the rhetoric is true. America was founded by immigrants and immigrants to this nation - both willing and unwilling - have contributed much to American culture and history. However, the heated debate in which we now find ourselves bears no relation to Ellis Island. We are not discussing absorbing immigrants fleeing oppression or famine, or even whether we are accepting too many immigrants from a particular region. The issue is the right of a sovereign people to decide the manner and place of migration across its borders. Americans are not opposed to immigration. They are opposed to illegal immigration. It was not upon this rock that our nation was built.

The large numbers of Hispanics marching in the streets is sure to make politicians on both sides of the aisle break out in a cold sweat. They must remember, however, that they are not charged with creating an immigration policy to appease Mexicans or even Mexican Americans. As the people’s representatives, they are charged with protecting the liberty and property of this nation’s citizens. Policy that does not seek that end is against the call of government and is a betrayal of the people government is charged with serving.

In Spanish that is: Americanos primero!

J. Phillips: He Talk Like A White BoyJoseph C. Phillips is an accomplished actor and writer, starring in numerous television shows and major motion pictures throughout his career including The Cosby Show, General Hospital, The District and Without A Trace among others and was a three time NAACP Image Award Nominee for his portrayal of Attorney Justus Ward on the Daytime Drama General Hospital.

As a writer Mr. Phillips has had essays published in Newsweek, Los Angeles Daily News, Essence Magazine, Upscale, USA Today, Turning Point, College Digest, as well as many more, too numerous to list. This author is a Staff Columnist for The opinions expressed in this column represent those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, or philosophy of

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