- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2010


What makes America unique? It is a question simple enough to ask but not one that deserves a simple answer. However, if a simple answer must be given, that answer is that America is a nation of laws. This is because our rights - the envy of the rest of the world - are guaranteed not by politicians, but by our founding documents of law, especially the Constitution. If laws were not necessary, there would have been no need for a charter of laws such as the Constitution.

But laws are necessary. That is why Arizona is right to confront the lawless behavior known as illegal immigration.

As a naturalized American, I am an immigrant who came here legally. It is with insulted disbelief that I have been listening to the rhetoric of some politicians and activists who make excuses for illegal immigration.

Despite a federal judge’s blocking of some parts of Arizona’s law against illegal aliens, Arizona deserves great kudos for taking the lead in the fight against illegal immigration and standing up for American citizens and legal immigrants. Yes, I said it is standing up for legal immigrants as well.

Though the Arizona law clearly stipulates that a law enforcement official “may not consider race, color or national origin,” its critics claim the law is racist and legitimizes the profiling of brown-skinned immigrants. Well, I happen to be a brown-skinned immigrant - and I see nothing wrong with the law. In fact, I consider it to be an affirmation of lawful behavior. As one who went to inordinate trouble to immigrate legally, I believe the Arizona law vindicates the lawful perseverance of legal immigrants because it makes life difficult for illegal aliens. There is nothing more insulting to legal immigrants than to see illegal aliens given the same access to, and benefits of, American society that legal immigrants have earned so patiently.

For laws to have any effect, lawbreaking has to have consequences. When lawbreaking is not taken seriously, you end up with a country as despicably corrupt as Mexico, where it seems nobody takes the law seriously, not even those who are supposed to enforce it. The American liberals who condemn Arizona are displaying their ignorance of the basic nexus between law-abiding behavior and civilized society. Even the near-anarchy in Mexico is apparently not enough to disabuse liberals of their misguided support for lawless behavior.

President Obama has called the Arizona law “divisive” and “ill-conceived.” In fact, what is divisive and ill-conceived is his administration’s anti-American response. Instead of siding with Arizona, his administration has sued Arizona - which is tantamount to siding with Mexican thugs. Worried that other states might mimic Arizona, he said there should be “one clear national standard” for immigration. In fact, there already is. It is called legal immigration. The problem is that the government has not enforced it.

Some of the dire predictions of profiling come from today’s so-called civil rights leaders. The iconic civil rights movement of the 1960s has devolved into a charade run by race-mongering rabble-rousers. Never mind that America has come so far that we have a black president. But no, these rabble-rousers still think America is a place where every nonwhite is racially profiled everywhere he goes. It is surprising they have not accused marble statues of looking at nonwhites the wrong way.

Being an immigrant, I know firsthand that America has the most generous immigration policy in the world. Of course, it does not admit everyone who applies - but which country does? We admit more than a million people for legal permanent residence every year - and we also admit more than 20 million people on temporary visas each year as tourists, workers, students, etc. No other country is that generous. Consequently, I consider preposterous the notion held by some commentators that illegal immigration happens because our legal immigration system is not generous enough. By that logic, we might as well believe that home break-ins happen not because the burglars are bad people but because not enough homeowners leave their doors open at night.

Illegal aliens and their ethnic supporters know that being here without permission is a violation of law. That is why they like to distract attention from the real issue - their illegal presence in the country - and instead point to various imagined scenarios of injustice that strict enforcement might cause. If they really expect so much injustice, the solution is within their power - they should return home and seek a legal way to come here.

In counterresponse to those rabble-rousers who want a boycott of Arizona, I intend to go there this fall and do my part as a tourist to help the state’s economy. As an American, that is the least I can do for a state that stands up for American laws.

Ian de Silva is an engineer with interests in politics and history.

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