By John F. Di Leo -
Hillary Clinton, along with her allies in the mainstream media, have taken great delight in attacking Republicans lately, on the subject of Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s (and others’) calls for restrictions on muslim immigration … especially in light of the Obama Administration’s current efforts to import tens of thousands of un-vettable alleged Syrian “refugees” in the midst of a war.
Never mind that no country EVER allows unchecked immigration from a country with which it is at war. It doesn’t happen, for reasons that are obvious to any conscious individual. The Obama Administration counts on the American people’s willingness to disregard the parade of six thousand years of human civilization, and just accept the parade of “refugees” that could easily include an invasion force and numerous other risks.
A former Secretary of State certainly ought to understand the complexities of identifying multiple alliances in a civil war-torn country as well as anyone, but not her. Mrs. Clinton finds it objectionable that Mr. Trump – and the rest of sane America – opposes unquestioned acceptance of tens of thousands of people from the area of Syria, rather than meekly accepting any massive numbers of unchecked immigration that the Obama Administration wants to welcome in.
Mrs. Clinton fired upon the Republican Party this week for expressing such caution, saying "Now is the time for all of us—especially Republican leaders—to stand up to hateful, dangerous words and deeds."
Her choice of words is fascinating. When Republicans object to such an open borders approach, the Republican concern is in fact rooted in the very “hateful, dangerous words and deeds” of these potential immigrants. Their culture – not necessarily fully accepted by every single individual, of course, but in general – is known worldwide for “hateful, dangerous words and deeds.”
On television news, for decades now, we have watched celebrations in the arab street when American office buildings were bombed; we have watched Islamic terror organizations behead people by the hundreds, toss homosexuals off rooftops, rape women, enslave children, burn captives alive, drown prisoners of war by lowering cages of them into rivers, bomb Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.
Our government has an obligation to protect the American people from such risks. That is, in fact, the primary thing that government is for, in the first place. We have enough homegrown risks already, there is certainly no reason to import even more such risks from a distant land.
The islamofascists in question – the jihadists who rule more and more countries in the middle east, at least partially because of the general incompetence and frequently intentionally malevolent efforts of the Obama Administration that she served – pose a massive risk to America, not even for just one reason, though one would be enough, but for many.
Third world immigrants often bring the contamination of distant diseases, long since conquered in the United States through our relative prosperity and vaccination programs. We don’t need to import people with Tuberculosis, Malaria, Typhoid, AIDS, Ebola, or the many other diseases common to much of the world but largely unknown or controlled here.
The known exposure of people in the area of Syria to chemical and biological weapons (which we know that both Assad’s forces and many of his opponents have used) increases the health risks of the particular migrant pool in question. These days, immigrants mingle with the general population immediately, spreading such diseases, increasing both the risk to native Americans’ health and the cost to our strained healthcare system.
Import the people, you import these diseases.
There is always a risk with unchecked immigration, as many countries have a culture of violence or theft that’s imbued in the people from birth… and many countries have criminal organizations that see the United States as a potential market for their drug distribution and their prostitution rings. These are certainly the greatest fears with Latin American immigration today, as they were with Southern Italian and Sicilian immigration a century ago.
Gang recruiters and drug dealers are interspersed amongst the legitimate and honorable immigrants, sometimes at a fearfully high concentration. That’s why immigration is properly controlled at origin, checked at our network of overseas embassies through an immigration visa program.
But we have an especially high risk with islamic countries, because so many of these immigrants were raised in Sharia law, a system in which physical punishment is meted out directly by the imams and mullahs… often the most severe punishment for what we would call the most minor of offenses. Some are indeed be fleeing that system, seeking the human rights we champion here, but too many others want to bring Sharia here, to infect our country with their poisonous legal code.
Do we need people taking it upon themselves, or authorizing their imams, to deal with a gay neighbor by tossing him off a roof, to deal with a daughter who just wanted to date a boy at college by stabbing them both, to deal with a wife who appeared in public without a burqa by beheading her? Make no mistake, that’s what you get with many (not all) from this part of the world.
Import the people, you import these crimes.
Contrary to the creative economic imagination of the Obama Administration, the United States of America are not fifty separate paradises, each with its own Horn of Plenty, able to easily feed, clothe and house an unlimited number of new arrivals.
Our public and private safety nets are both bursting at the seams as they try to support the ninety million outside the work force, the tens of millions of short-and-long-term unemployed and underemployed. We don’t have jobs for a quarter of our own citizens today; we desperately need new jobs, not new workers. As much as we may feel sorry for the world’s poor, the United States cannot be the world’s safety net.
We need to import employers, not employees. Every new arrival either takes a job from someone else or makes it harder for new jobs to be created, by adding to the tax burden of the productive. They may come from a country in poverty, but as long as America is suffering, they bring their home country’s poverty with them. There have been times in our history when we needed more workers, more settlers, but we have never objectively needed more poor people.
Import the people, you import their penury.
The United States of America are already under assault. The George W. Bush Administration was able to successfully prevent further attacks on our soil after the 9-11-2001 attacks, but the Obama Administration has hardly tried – every diligent step the FBI has taken to protect us has been thwarted by others across the Administration.
Since 2009, we have seen more and more terrorist attacks by Islamofascist immigrants and their radicalized homegrown allies… the cabbie at LAX, the highway snipers in Virginia, the army officer in Fort Hood, the television producer in Buffalo, the meat packing employee in Oklahoma, the bombing brothers in Boston, the drive-by at the Chattanooga recruiting office, the San Bernardino newlyweds... how long shall this list be allowed to grow?
We are at war, and rather than fighting on the battlefield, this is how this enemy chooses to fight: by spreading terror in our streets. We have enough risk of this already, we don’t need to increase the risk by intentionally bringing in a population that we know will include a percentage of jihadists.
Import the people, you import the epidemic of terror that has plagued their homelands.
The United States was founded by a certain type of settler… hard working Christian immigrants, seeking new opportunities to break free of the feudal economies, political oppression, and religious persecution of their home countries. Over the centuries, as waves of immigrants have included more and more people lacking that great “Protestant work ethic” and devotion to the libertarian principles of our Founders, the culture of the United States has gradually become diluted. Our culture is too seriously diluted already.
The issue doesn’t have to be racial, ethnic, or religious, as good immigrants can certainly be welcomed from any region of the world… but they must be people who are willing to assimilate into our American culture, not contribute to the nation’s further devolution into the socialist, irreligious morass in which the rest of the world finds itself.
Most countries on earth from which immigrants hail have a culture of crime, dependence, subsistence… a very different view of government and human freedoms than we have, a very different understanding of man’s relationship to his fellow man, and of man’s relationship to the state.
We need more immigrants like our Founders; we don’t need more toxins weakening the greatest national culture in human history. To the extent we need immigrants at all (and with 330 million people already, one could argue that we don’t need more people at all), we need people coming here not for the climate and the cornucopia, but for freedom, mutual respect, and devotion to our American way of life. We don’t need even more people to contribute to our nation’s decline.
Import the people, you import the culture.
Our government, in determining whether or not to consciously open the floodgates to any stream of newcomers, must consider these issues, and they are all arguably most severe in the region under consideration, this war-torn and miserable area of the middle east.
What has created these risks? The Islamofascist philosophy, perhaps not as taught by all, but certainly, as taught by most of its imams and mullahs, is at the heart of the problem. This belief in jihad, in theocracy, is proven by poll after poll to be shockingly widespread across the vast majority of muslims worldwide.
Mrs. Clinton accuses us of “hateful, dangerous words and deeds" for opposing the importation of these risks. On the contrary, we would argue that it’s the “hateful, dangerous words and deeds” of the source pool – the people of the middle east – that create the risks in the first place.
And we maintain that we have an obligation to safeguard American citizens – as well as we can – by controlling the flood of immigrants from that dangerous breeding ground of terror and pain.
We might even argue, in fact, if we read the press releases and speeches of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and their allies, that they are the ones guilty of “hateful, dangerous words and deeds" these days, not the rest of us, not by a long shot.
But What Can We Do About It?
Donald Trump is not alone in calling for restrictions on immigration, and for an absolute ban on immigration from Syria – or even the whole region – until we can get the situation under control. And it’s particularly difficult to get under control, more so than most vetting challenges, because of the muslim requirement for its adherents to practice taquiya.
Almost everyone on the right side of the aisle – and even some courageous ones on the left – is calling for reasonable limits on immigration, in the interest of national security; it’s just that Donald Trump’s speeches are the ones that Ms. Clinton’s allies in the media always choose to cover.
Contrary to the Left’s outrageous claims of bigotry and unconstitutionality, such constraints – by ethnicity, by religion, by geography, by anything – are completely legal and completely consistent with the cause of liberty.
The First Amendment
The Left constantly cites the First Amendment’s separation of church and state, but they have never understood it at all. They took a fragment of a sentence in a private letter from Thomas Jefferson, and have built an entire fictional universe of quasi-Constitutional pseudo-law around it.
In fact, the First Amendment is designed to protect the rights of US citizens… from a government that establishes a denomination… that’s all. The text is as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Let’s begin by defining “establishment” in the Framers’ context.
"Establishing" means mandating participation in a specific denomination, mandating church attendance, mandating taxpayer funding of that denomination… or mandating its strictly denominational rules by law for everybody, such as, for example, mandating weekly confession to support Catholicism, or mandating peyote-smoking in respect of certain tribal cults, or mandating the complex dietary rules of the Greek Orthodox or the Jewish Hassidim for everyone, or worst of all, instituting the barbaric punishments found in Sharia.
So, Congress must not establish a specific religious denomination in the USA. It must not mandate that we be Anglicans or Lutherans or Catholics or Quakers. Our government must not institute the kinds of mandates that drove many of our Founders and their ancestors to these shores in the first place.
That doesn’t mean we don’t respect religion – in fact, we do, and we must, to be American. People can be fine Americans while being Hindu, Mormon, Sikh, Buddhist, or a host of other religions and denominations thereof, or even while being agnostic or atheist, as long as they respect our Founding principles… but the general Judeo-Christian worldview must be acknowledged to be central to our national character.
It’s only the practice of narrowing down that general Judeo-Christian worldview to a single specific denomination that our Founders set out to protect us from, with the First Amendment.
And only now, after absorbing the above, do we move on to the second half of the First Amendment’s proscription: Congress must not outright ban a denomination either, unless it can prove that the denomination is more a political, traitorous, criminal, or enemy organization than a religion meriting protection.
So, just as our government cannot force us to be an Anglican or Lutheran or Catholic or Quaker, our government cannot forbid us from being Anglican or Lutheran or Catholic or Quaker either.
But we have occasionally recognized that a group was more of a criminal organization than a religion, due to Satanic rituals, violent practices, or other institutional criminal activity. Our government can, when it has the courage, focus on the criminal aspects of a cult – its practices of torture, mutilation, enslavement, etc. – and deny it the First Amendment protections that it does not deserve. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.
Specific to the question at hand – the question of islam, which is, as Dr. Carson has rightly pointed out, to the shock of the media, generally inconsistent with our Constitutional form of governance:
We know that there are muslims who are good citizens and do not support the criminal aspects of islam that are championed by the jihadists. Our government can and should set out to identify which branches are compatible with the American Way and which ones are not, and draw that line in the law. Taquiya makes this particularly difficult, but if we can do it, it is most certainly legal.
The Limits of our Government’s Authority
But one more key aspect of the Bill of Rights is frequently forgotten: All these First Amendment protections apply only to the government’s actions regarding U.S. citizens. The government is bound by no such rules where foreigners, refugees, and applicants for immigration status are concerned.
We sometimes act as if the Bill of Rights applies to everyone on earth.
What is the purpose and function of the Constitution? It was written to organize – and to limit the powers of – the government of the United States, a government which (like any government on earth), only has the ability to govern the people "subject to its jurisdiction." The government of France applies to the French; the government of Canada applies to the Canadians; the government of the USA applies to the people of the USA.
So in the USA, the government has authority over everyone in its geographical bounds, but the Bill of Rights specifically limits the government’s options with U.S. citizens.
The Constitution establishes the form of our federal government, and its Bill of Rights guarantees the protection of American citizens from incursions upon these rights by a hostile Executive, Legislature or Judiciary.
But it cannot protect people outside their jurisdiction, and it cannot be twisted to reduce the rights and security of our citizens, by taking actions in favor of non-citizens.
So, non-citizens – such as illegal aliens, tourists, visitors with visas, applicants for citizenship, refugees, invaders, and frankly, anyone else on earth – do not get the full protection of the Bill of Rights. Not because we're mean, not because we’re unfair, but just because that's not how government works.
Applicants for immigration or refugee status are subject to the jurisdiction of other governments, not ours. They are subjects of the Syrian government, or the Iraqi government, or the Jordanian government, or the Lebanese government, or the Saudi government… unless we welcome them in.
And our government has an obligation – to our Constitution and to our citizenry – to ensure that we unnecessarily open our doors to no additional risks, and to ensure that we think first of our best interests when allowing any immigration to occur.
The federal government of the United States owes nothing to any other person or any other country, outside of what it has agreed to by (legal) treaty.
Contrary to the utopian dreams of the modern American Left, there is no obligation to invite in the world’s poor or the world’s hungry; that ridiculous poem by Emma Lazarus that sits beneath the Statue of Liberty has no legal authority. Our nation, in devising immigration policy, must think first and foremost of what is best for the people of the United States.
Our government may choose to extend some, many, or all of our Constitutional rights to the citizens of friendly countries, and we generally do, in an effort (often by treaty) to receive reciprocal treatment for our own people when traveling abroad. But we don't have to, and the Constitution doesn't protect it.
We want American citizens working in Asia or traveling in Europe to be protected by those governments, so we generally extend our basket of rights – mostly, though not entirely – to their citizens when they work or travel here. Such agreements should be reciprocal.
But such things change in wartime. And our government has always had total latitude in setting any limitation it wants on immigrants and in fact, any other incoming foreigners.
So yes, our President and our Congress can certainly set limits on immigration and on any kind of inbound traffic of non-citizens. They can institute a religious test, an employability test, a health test, a geographic test, or practically any other kind of test desired by the American people. These may sometimes be difficult to administer, but they are only limited by their difficulty, not by their legality.
If the government only wants to allow basketball players of at least 6’6” in height, or bowlers with at least a provable 280 lifetime average, and exclude everyone else – or vice versa – our government can legally do so.
- They can determine that there are already too many immigrants who share a certainly language to assimilate, so we should establish a freeze on that language for a few years.
- Or they can determine that there are certain skills that we desperately need, so we should only accept immigrants with that skill for awhile.
- Or they can determine that a certain “religion” or philosophy is actually a hostile criminal enterprise which would be dangerous or even fatal to American citizens, so its adherents should be banned forever.
Our government can restrict such immigration in any way it thinks right, and it is fully Constitutional to do so.
In short, both Congress and the President, in different ways – and it shouldn’t be too much to ask that they cooperate – certainly do have the power to limit people coming in… if in fact they have the best interests of the American people at heart, as they ought.
The question is not whether they have the authority. The question is whether the necessary majority of them have the courage.
Copyright 2015 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Customs broker and international trade compliance lecturer. A former county chairman of the Milwaukee Republican Party, former president of the Ethnic American Council, and activist movement conservative in the Reagan era, his columns are regularly found in Illinois Review.
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