“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.
But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all.
We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile…We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language…and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.” ~Theodore Roosevelt, Letter to the American Defense Society, January 3, 1919~
Yes…the darling of the Progressive movement at the turn of the last century had this right. You may love or hate the twenty-sixth president, but Theodore Roosevelt nailed the immigration issue.
Teddy was an interesting character. Some on the right, hate him as a leader of the early progressive movement. Left-leaning liberals like to point to him as a Republican who had seen the light.
I think the best way to take Theodore Roosevelt is to consider him in the context of his times. The American welfare state did not exist during his presidency and as his statements about immigration demonstrate, current-day liberal Progressives would not be on the same page with Teddy Roosevelt.
Despite the scorn heaped upon him by modern conservatives / libertarians because of his progressive policies, I find there are some things to admire about Theodore Roosevelt.
Love him, or hate him, he did have a way of peeling away the skin of the onion and exposing the core.
Case in point. Are liberty-loving people opposed to immigration? Of course not. We all came from somewhere else, even Native Americans whose ancestors migrated across the land bridge between Alaska and Asia. Immigration is and was essential to the foundation of Liberty on this continent.
Personally, I would open the borders up to all who want to come. (while maintaining control of border security and screening for those who would do us harm). That’s right open immigration to all who want to come…on one condition … well, two really…
1. Eliminate the welfare state that attracts those who feel entrance into the United States implies that the state will care for their every need.
2. Expect every immigrant to become an “American in every facet …no divided loyalties” as Roosevelt said. Learn English, participate in our society and be grateful for the freedoms that entrance into this country has granted you.
In my mind, believers in Liberty should have no issues with these requirements. As Roosevelt pointed out there should be absolutely no discrimination against immigrants who come here under these conditions. Time in country does not make you more, or less American. Acceptance of our core beliefs and making use of the freedoms here to achieve your own success does.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the American welfare state, instituted by both parties, will disappear anytime soon and some, perhaps many, immigrants will continue to hold their allegiance to their native lands while taking what they can from American taxpayers.
Are all illegal immigrants bad people…criminals…evil? No, they are not.
Most are hard-working men and women seeking a better life for their family. We all want that.
But until we, as liberty-loving Americans … conservative, liberal, libertarian, green … all of us … put our hands back in our pockets and cease the expectation that the government has a responsibility to take care of us…until all immigrants come here with the desire to become part of our society and culture thereby enriching us all … there truly is only one solution…secure the border without exception.
After that … determine a fair solution to the millions of illegal immigrants who have come here for a better life and who are not to blame for the enticements of the American Welfare State. We…you and I …are responsible for those enticements.
Any parent coming here from deprived, third-world circumstances, as many illegals do, would do almost anything to secure those benefits for their families. I would. I suspect you would as well.
The illegals are not to blame for that enticement. We are.
When we return the United States to a country of freedom for all, where the true enticement to come here is not social welfare slavery with the expectation of benefits for all, but instead the right to “life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” … to become part of mainstream American culture… then I will say…Open the Borders.