I am still steaming about Felipe Calderón’s presumptuous address to Congress the other day. In fact, I am steaming on two burners. One burner is labeled “presumptuous twit.” This covers the fact that a foreign politician should think it appropriate that, having been granted the honor of addressing a joint session of Congress, he should proceed to criticize Arizona’s new immigration law. When the foreign politician in question is from Mexico, whose own immigration policies are far harsher than ours, then the presumption is overlaid with a repellent cake of hypocrisy.
But the repugnant spectacle of Mexico’s president lecturing us about immigration pales before the even more repugnant spectacle of Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and most of their Democratic brethren bestowing a standing ovation on Calderón for the favor of his temerity. That show of political correctness has me on a double boil.
The truth is that the Arizona law is practically identical to the federal immigration law that is on the books but is simply not enforced. The preposterous outcry against it from “liberals” who have threatened to boycott Arizona borders on the surreal. For what does the law require? As Andrew Klavan put it with his customary humor, what they’re objecting to is the outrageous effort of “trying to criminalize . . . criminality.” We wouldn’t want that, would we?
How gratifying it was to watch Representative Tom McClintock from California deliver an articulate and condign rebuke to the two-thirds of Congress who applauded — applauded! — a foreign politician who came to town to criticize them for endeavoring to secure their own borders and enforce their own laws. “The Mexican government has made it very clear for many years ,” McClintock observed, “that it holds American sovereignty in contempt and President Calderon’s behavior as a guest of the Congress confirms and underscores this attitude.”
It is highly inappropriate for the President of Mexico to lecture Americans on American immigration policy, just as it would be for Americans to lecture Mexico on its laws.
It is obvious that President Calderon does not understand the nature of America or the purpose of our immigration law.
Unlike Mexico’s immigration law — which is brutally exclusionary — the purpose of America’s law is not to keep people out. It is to assure that as people come to the United States, they do so with the intention of becoming Americans and of raising their children as Americans.
Unlike Mexico, our nation embraces immigration and what makes that possible is assimilation.
McClintock went on to quote Teddy Roosevelt on the subject of immigration and its prerequisite, assimilation: “In the first place,” said Roosevelt,
we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. . . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language . . . and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.
Bottom line: there should be no immigration without assimilation. That should be our mantra when it comes to immigration.
McClintock was right that “Arizona has not adopted a new immigration law. All it has done is to enforce existing law that President Obama refuses to enforce.” Consider: “It is hardly a radical policy to suggest that if an officer on a routine traffic stop encounters a driver with no driver’s license, no passport, and who doesn’t speak English, that maybe that individual might be here illegally.” Do you really think so?
At the end of the day, what President Calderón thinks about Arizona’s new law is completely irrelevant. He has no standing to participate in the debate. It is an affair for the American people, not the president of a foreign country. As Tom McClintock put it:
If President Calderon wishes to participate in that debate, I invite him to obey our immigration laws, apply for citizenship, do what 600,000 LEGAL immigrants to our nation are doing right now, learn our history and our customs, and become an American. And then he will have every right to participate in that debate.
Until then, I would politely invite him to have the courtesy while a guest of this Congress to abide by the fundamental rules of diplomacy between civilized nations not to meddle in each other’s domestic debates.
Tom McClintock is a new hero of mine. He gave a terrific speech: to the point, well informed, and supremely relevant. Watch it here.