- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2006

Illegal-alien ‘rights’

The classic definition of chutzpah is the story of the boy who murders his parents, then begs the court for mercy because he is an “orphan.” Well, I think we have a new definition of chutzpah that involves a group of illegal aliens who come to the United States, then demand rights from the very country whose laws they broke. What part of this convoluted logic am I missing? (“Thousands join boycott,” Page 1, Tuesday).

We now have illegal aliens crossing our borders who have not only adopted this same attitude, but have the gall to make such demands based on their “rights.” What rights would those be? The rights they have under their native country’s constitution? I don’t think that works here. The rights they have under the U.S. Constitution? I don’t think so. Where does the U.S. Constitution state that rights are granted to all persons, both foreign and domestic, regardless of whether they have broken the law or not? I haven’t found those words anywhere in the version of the Constitution that I have read.

Our Founding Fathers established a nation of laws so that people could come to this land and enjoy the freedoms that they had fought and died for. My German ancestors and numerous other immigrants from many different lands participated in this fight for freedom and independence, and to preserve those liberties that we enjoy today. For anyone to come to this country illegally and make demands based on rights that they have not earned serves to minimize all that our ancestors and the founders worked so hard to establish.

If the illegal aliens want to demonstrate a true dedication to this nation and honor its values, let them be bold enough to admit their crimes, humble themselves before the legal citizens of this country and accept appropriate punishment. We are a forgiving nation that is willing to accept them through a legal process, but to publicly demonstrate and continue to make “in your face” demands from American citizens only perpetuates a level of chutzpah that is simply intolerable.

ROB WEINHOLD

Lt. Col., USAF (retired)

Dale City, Va.

Honoring legal immigrants

Kudos to The Washington Times for its Tuesday editorial “Immigrants Day,” suggesting that there be a national holiday on behalf of all the immigrants who came to the United States legally and helped make America a great country with their labor, good citizenship and patriotism. As a son of immigrants from Italy, I find this to be a wonderful and inspiring idea.

In furtherance of this theme of honoring legal immigration, Congress also should consider passing a law to name the Capitol Visitors Center, presently under construction, after the outstanding immigrant-citizen Constantino Brumidi, the artist of the Capitol. Brumidi labored there for 25 years to make our nation’s temple of democracy and freedom a beautiful building covered in frescoes illustrating our nation’s history, symbols, values and inventions, as well as portraits of our nation’s leaders. He is most famous for painting the magnificent “Apotheosis of Washington” in the eye of the dome. Every year, 4 million people from throughout the world see the good that America represents through the eyes and hands of this great immigrant-artist.

Brumidi, born in 1805, came to the United States in 1852 as a political refugee from Italy and immediately applied for citizenship. He was made a citizen in 1857 and was so proud of his new status that he signed a fresco in the Capitol, “C. Brumidi Artist Citizen of the U.S.” Brumidi was filled with a love of America that is evident in his paintings throughout the Capitol. He once famously said, “My one ambition and my daily prayer is that I may live long enough to make beautiful the Capitol of the one country on earth in which there is liberty.” In this, he magnificently succeeded. I believe Brumidi should be recognized officially as one of this country’s ideal immigrant-citizens, as demonstrated by his artistic skill, hard work, good citizenship, patriotism and contributions to America. (There are bills in the House and Senate to award him, posthumously, a Congressional Gold Medal, which should be passed.) By naming the visitors center after him, Congress would be making a symbolic statement that the United States does, indeed, welcome and honor its legal immigrants.

JOSEPH N. GRANO

Chairman

The Constantino Brumidi Society

Washington

Terrance Gainer is sorely missed

Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer has been gone only one month and it is apparent the U.S. Capitol Police leadership has already deteriorated in a monumental way. The recent episode involving Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, who crashed his vehicle on Capitol Hill in the wee hours of the morning, smacks of criminal behavior on the part of Mr. Kennedy and pathetic leadership at the helm of the U.S. Capitol Police (“Patrick Kennedy crashes at Capitol,” Nation, Friday).

In Mr. Gainer’s absence, it is already apparent that the department has regressed dramatically, and officers cannot do their jobs as required. Instead, they have to succumb to orders from the command echelon to let the higher-ups handle a situation involving a member of Congress in order to sweep things under the carpet. This is not leadership, and it is highly inappropriate.

Whether Mr. Kennedy was under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs, he was obviously impaired and should not have been driving. Moreover, he was observed staggering outside his vehicle and seemingly did not even know what time of day it was when he stated he had to go vote.

Mr. Kennedy should have been arrested on the spot and charged with driving under the influence. The officer should have been allowed to conduct his duty as required by law. Fortunately, Mr. Kennedy did not hurt anyone and the only result was property damage. That result, however, does not excuse his behavior.

The way this situation has been handled only reinforces the known reason why Mr. Gainer was forced out of his position by vendetta-type actions. Mr. Gainer was a “cop’s cop” and a true leader. He did not bow to political manipulation, and he aptly knew how to handle situations appropriately and lawfully. Now, however, the leadership at the helm of the U.S. Capitol Police is compliantly being controlled by political powers that want to run the police department and let miscreants of their own get away with potentially criminal behavior and conduct unbecoming.

KAREN L. BUNE

Adjunct Professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University

Fairfax

A warning to Republicans

I am in a quiet rage over the squandering of hard-fought conservative gains and applaud Phyllis Schlafly for her “warning shot” (“Conservative insurgency,” Commentary, Saturday) to the White House and Republican-led Congress. They need to stop what they are doing and listen carefully to the grassroots supporters who put them in office. These supporters are saying two important things:

1. Be fiscally conservative. You promised us that, but now look no different than a tax-and-spend Democrat.

2. Protect our borders and enforce current “road to citizenship” laws. You promised us that after September 11, but now try to sell us an amnesty bill for illegal aliens. You even play a word game by calling these lawbreakers “guest workers.” You even mouth the words of U.S. employers that illegal aliens only do the work citizens won’t.

Have the president and our Republican congressional leaders forgotten who brought them to the dance? Have they forgotten what kept them, and us, focused in our struggle to be recognized as different and worthy of election? I hope not. It’s never too late to return to the arms of your date — your supporters. In November, I want to be invigorated to vote for my candidate as I have been in the past. If this candidate cannot be trusted to be true to conservative tenets and values, why would I give him/her my support?

BOB BEAUREGARD

Alexandria

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