There is another dimension to illegal and even legal immigration the president did not mention. We have failed to make Americans out of many of them. This is part of a larger cultural problem that tells immigrants they should hyphenate their heritage with "American," retaining their language, traditions and even loyalty to the country from which they originated.
The CIS sponsored a forum in Washington recently titled "Dual Allegiance: A Challenge to Immigration Reform and Patriotic Assimilation." John Fonte, senior fellow, and director of the Center for American Common Culture at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., noted that previously when immigrants became American citizens they took a solemn oath to "absolutely and entirely renounce" all previous political allegiances. They transferred their loyalty from the "old country" to the United States. Too many, he says, maintain dual allegiances in violation of the oath.
Immigrants need to be transformed into full Americans, not only by their citizenship, but also by their language (English), by their allegiance, voting habits (for American candidates and not for candidates in the nations from which they emigrated) and by their attitude. This was the profile of earlier immigrants, who wanted to come to America to become Americans.
In recent years, certain elites have taken the view that there is something better about other countries. In this view, immigrants should keep their allegiance and cultural heritage and not assimilate. This is a strategy for the death of any culture. While a nation cannot exist "half slave and half free," in Abraham Lincoln's words, neither can it exist in a state that is culturally subdivided.
John Fonte believes (www.cis.org), "Congress should exercise its undisputed authority in this arena and prohibit certain acts (e.g., voting in a foreign election) that indicate dual allegiance. The purpose of such legislation would not be to punish people who have acted in good faith in the past, but to establish clear rules for the future in order to discourage and restrict dual allegiance."
Along with a much stronger and workable border control policy and penalties for businesses that knowingly hire illegals, attention to fully assimilating the non-native-born population would go far to fulfilling our national motto: E Pluribus Unum - out of many, one.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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