Jewish World Review Sept. 7, 2001 / 18 Elul, 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- I AM the daughter of legal immigrants from the Philippines who proudly chose to become Americans. They stood in line, aced their citizenship tests, filed tons of paperwork, and - speaking in English -- swore allegiance to the United States. The 206-year-old oath my parents took declares, in part:
"I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty…I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic...I will bear arms on behalf of the United States…I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me G-d."
For millions of naturalized Americans like my parents, the oath of allegiance is sacred. It is a solemn public commitment to embrace and defend American laws and institutions. The rights and responsibilities that accompany this coveted status are earned privileges, not free entitlements. That is why the widespread assault on American citizenship is a grave insult not only to native-born Americans, but also to families like mine who played by the rules to get here - and to stay.
Everywhere you turn, American citizenship is being devalued:
The message this sends to families like mine is that we are chumps. Why should we bother to obey the law? Or learn English? Why study American history in order to earn the right to vote if liberal enclaves across the country are going to enfranchise noncitizens - who don't even have to be able to read their ballots in English, let alone name the three branches of government?
Both the movement to naturalize illegal aliens and the drive to give voting rights to legal permanent aliens have a shared target audience: Mexicans. Many have absolutely no intention of assimilating here, but they will gladly take what kowtowing U.S. politicians give them. President Bush, courting Latino leaders, says he simply wants to find a way to "legalize the hard work" of Mexicans who crossed our borders illegally. But illegal aliens from Mexico aren't the only immigrants who do hard work.
Exclusive amnesty for line-jumping Mexicans is a slap in the face to all other immigrants -- from the Korean grocer and Ethiopian restaurateur, to the Indian cab driver, British schoolteacher, and Filipino nurse -- who came through the front door, toil gladly, reject the free-ride mentality, and follow the rule of law.
The founding fathers didn't envision the naturalization process as a means to boost the labor supply or the voting rolls. The
ultimate end, the purpose, of granting American citizenship is to help create one people, one nation who share a common
allegiance. It is a tragedy that we've now given the enemies of our constitutional republic the keys to flood our gates and trash