Many American citizens now fight illegal immigration in many parts of the country. Yet, what most legal Americans do not realize, they too could become illegal immigrants. There are facts to prove how it could happen. There are at least 2 ways it could occur. First, if some country invades our soils and overtakes us by force, we could all become illegal immigrants in our own land. You say that’s far fetched. Well, think about it for a moment. Isn’t that what Americans did to the Native Americans? Second, all we have to do is revoke citizenship to legal Americans for a variety of reasons. That one is not so far fetched.
When Christopher Columbus sailed to America from Spain in 1492, unlike what the history books claim, he did not discover America. America was already inhabited by many tribes of Native Americans. After Columbus’ arrival, one hundred years later, English settlers invaded and occupied America. Over time the new Americans forcibly removed the Native American people already living here, killed and raped them. We created laws that gave us the legal authority to remove the Native Americans and place them on reservations. Native Americans had no immigration policy in effect. They probably didn’t think they needed one. Now, they know better. Every American that is not a Native American or a descendant of a Native American is already an illegal immigrant.
The early English settlers from England were not from the upper crust of England. Instead, many were from backgrounds not unlike what we perceive the backgrounds of many of the brown immigrants. Many of the early settlers or immigrants were from a sultry mix of diverse backgrounds. Many persons living illegally now in our country came for the same reasons as Christopher Columbus and the American settlers. They came for a better life for themselves and their family. They came because they were prosecuted in their country. They came for economic, religious and political freedom. They came yearning to be free. Every illegal immigrant is not a criminal in the same way that not every Pilgrim was a criminal. They are here for the same reasons that the early English immigrants came here.
Since our history proves that we could become illegal immigrants in our own land, maybe that’s why Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and the Tea Partiers are so critical of immigration laws in this county. Perhaps, they fear that illegal immigrants will someday outnumber us and take over our country. Estimates claim that white Americans will be the minority around 2040. Maybe, the tough stance on immigration is to hold the tide back.
Some harsh critics of present immigration laws propose laws that would change the US constitution to revoke citizenship to babies born on American soil to illegal immigrant parents. If we make this change, children living here as legal citizens will become illegal immigrants. Will laws be changed one day to send African Americans back to Africa? Will we move towards revoking citizenship of Muslim Americans forcing them to return to a majority Muslim country one day? Will the citizenship of Asian Americans be at jeopardy as it was during World War II. Where will we stop it? No one knows the answers today. Whatever the reason, changing laws and amending the Constitution to make already legal citizens illegal is not the way to go. We must stop that terrible tide from rising. If not, many legal Americans will end up illegal immigrants.
Debbie Hines, Esq. blogs on race, law and women from an African American female lawyer’s perspective. She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. For the Best of Legalspeaks, click on Res Ipsa Loquitur.