- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2006

Yesterday’s “Day without an Immigrant” doesn’t quite capture the authentic American immigrant experience, so maybe Congress should commemorate a new national holiday to get the symbolism right. “Immigrant Day” would honor the contributions of the millions of legal immigrants to the United States — without obscuring the difference between lawbreakers and those who play by the rules to get here.

What better way to expose the illegal-alien lobby than to strip it of the immigration mantle it has stolen? The story of American immigration is much larger than whatever the interests of the country’s illegal aliens happen to be. We propose rededicating Columbus Day, arguably the original immigrant holiday, to recognize that fact.

Congress would come late to the idea. State legislatures, activists groups and ethnic lobbies have been observing Immigration Day at the state and local level for a decade. More often than not, however, pressure groups have used the occasion to condemn border-control laws, while sympathetic politicians have used it as an occasion to pander.

“I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the McCain-Kennedy bill,” Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, said on the occasion of his state’s Immigrant Day on April 18th. “I will not support any legislation that does not provide undocumented immigrants a path to legal residency.”

The sentiment motivating border-control Democrats and Republicans is largely absent from these celebrations. This would change with a broad-based holiday recognized by all Americans, most of whom know the difference.

For too long the open-borders lobby has applied the tar brush to border-control proponents as “anti-immigrant,” wrapping themselves in the romance and recollections of immigrant ancestors and ignoring the law-breaking of illegal aliens. A Republican Congress pushing border-tightening measures on behalf of the majority of Americans who say loud and clear that they want the border tightened should be eager to expose this deliberate confusion of the issue.

Otherwise, the open-borders lobby will continue to define the terms of debate. Few asked yesterday where the word “illegal” was in “Day without an Immigrant.” Few high-profile congressmen were present, pointing out that these marches weren’t about immigration, but about those who violated the border and now seek to obtain citizenship through massive intimidation of public opinion. The nation’s cherished authentic immigrant tradition is thus hijacked.

So let’s get it right, with a national day to honor the honorable immigrants with Immigrant Day, a day to recognize the contributions of immigrants and their descendants — which includes all of us — and to welcome newcomers who arrive within the law.



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