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Clearly, students who accept such an ideology are hardly going to be “Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way,” as the president claimed. Rather, they will identify themselves as victims of America from which they feel alienated. They will not believe, like earlier immigrants, that living in America allows them to improve their lives by enjoying the freedom and economic opportunity unavailable to them in their ancestral country. Rather, they will think that they are owed reparations from the country that unjustly stole a region of their true homeland. As the Chicano activist slogan goes, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” This historical lie justifies ignoring the responsibilities immigrants to the United States traditionally have accepted, which is to assimilate to the country they live in by accepting its language, traditions, and political principles. With the mythic history of unjust displacement, however, the burden is now on the mainstream culture to adapt to and accommodate the culture of those it allegedly oppressed and robbed of their land. The dominant culture must expiate its historical crimes with various sorts of reparations and entitlements, particularly special consideration for illegal aliens like free tuition in public universities, drivers licenses, welfare and health care, or quasi-amnesties such as the Dream Act.
Such a legitimization of illegal aliens thus is merely part of what the “Plan of Aztlán” calls “restitution”: “Restitution for past economic slavery, political exploitation, ethnic and cultural psychological destruction and denial of civil and human rights.” A “reconquest” impossible by force will be achieved through demography and the abandonment of the old model of assimilation, in an attempt to make California more like the culture illegal aliens risk their lives to leave, and less like the America that has given them greater freedom and opportunity.
We should not simply assume, then, as the president and other supporters of amnesty do, that people here illegally consider themselves Americans and give America their loyalty just because they were brought here as children. No doubt many do, but how do we know? We need to figure out a way to vet all immigrants to this country to ensure that we give the privilege of citizenship only to those who will not subordinate being an American to being something else. Given how thoroughly multicultural identity politics, predicated on American crime and oppression, permeates schools, popular culture, and government programs, merely living the bulk of one’s life here is no guarantee of American identity. Determining whether or not immigrants, including those brought here as children, truly understand and accept the core principles and values of our political order is the most serious challenge we face in dealing with 11 million illegal immigrants.
Obama’s quick-fix may win him some votes, but it does nothing to make sure residence in the country is reserved only for those immigrants who understand why America is exceptional, feel blessed to live here, and are proud to be Americans.
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