- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, is demanding American taxpayers compensate families of illegal immigrants who died during the September 11 terrorist attacks, and that we protect alien family members from deportation if they seek awards from the federal victims' fund.

"Our country owes these victims and their families the compensation and caring that we've already demonstrated with the outpouring of help and compassion," Mrs. Clinton said this week. "Everybody should get something."

Yup, that sums up Hillaryism: It's all about what American citizens owe the perpetually aggrieved. It's all about getting, and never about giving back. It's all about Me, Me, Me.

As a child of immigrant parents who came here legally from the Philippines and eagerly chose to become Americans, I'm appalled at the insatiable sense of entitlement that these illegal aliens and their champions in Congress are demonstrating. The loss of life on September 11 was devastating for everyone. I am as saddened by the death of hard-working illegal aliens who died at the World Trade Center as I am by the deaths of their American co-workers.

But why do we Americans native-born or naturalized "owe" the illegal alien family members of September 11 victims anything?

There, I said it. More naturalized Americans and their families should do the same. We first- and second-generation Americans owe it to our homeland to put the oath of U.S. citizenship into action to "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty" and to "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

It may be lost on Mrs. Clinton, but there's a difference between legal and illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants who jumped the line to get here don't pay income taxes. They don't register with the Selective Service. They don't respect our rule of law. They soak up the benefits of American citizenship without bearing the costs. Providing them with unbounded entitlements undercuts the social contract the rest of us have made with our homeland. It weakens our common culture. And in the long run, as we saw with the September 11 terrorists who exploited apathy toward immigration enforcement, it undermines our national security.

Alas, the Hillaryist approach to illegal immigration seems to be creeping back into the White House. Barely four months after the terrorist attacks, our borders remain uncontrolled. Hundreds of thousands of aliens ordered deported remain at large. Every day brings a new tale of document fraud, bribery, and security leaks from within the Immigration and Naturalization Services. So why is the Bush administration again flirting with the idea of granting mass amnesty to millions of illegal Mexicans?

Secretary of State Colin Powell told Mexico's foreign minister last week that he and President Bush are determined "to get back to this very important issue of regularizing the movement of Mexicans back and forth." "We haven't given up," Mr. Powell said, calling the terrorist attacks "a diversion, a detour" from the administration's priorities.

With all due respect to Mr. Powell, "regularizing" illegal Mexicans is not high on the post-September 11 wish list of most American citizens. Not when "homeland security" is still just an empty slogan. Not when untold numbers of Mexican criminals who were naturalized improperly under Clinton-Gore's corrupt Citizenship USA program remain on the loose. Yet, Mexican officials are demanding the amnesty by this September, and Mr. Powell's rather undiplomatic and insensitive pandering is giving them hope.

Let me just say what Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Powell will not: What our country deserves from everyone who enjoys its fruits and freedoms is a little more gratitude and a lot less greed.

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