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Pandering To Lawbreakers Blurs Line Between Legal And Illegal
By Doug Patton
April 4, 2006

Several years ago, as part of my duties working for a very conservative member of Congress, I attended a forum on immigration. The premise of the meeting was that the rights of legal immigrants were being violated by employers who intimidate their workforces by blurring the line between legal and illegal aliens. These employers were said to be preying on the fears of their legal workers by exploiting their ignorance of immigration law and convincing them that they had better keep their mouths shut about low wages and poor working conditions, lest they be deported.

Most of the forum participants that day, many of whom were career bureaucrats, actually believed that the only logical solution to this growing problem was to respect the "rights" of all immigrants, including those who have euphemistically come to be known as "undocumented workers."

I listened to this nonsense for two hours. When I could no longer hold my tongue, I asked, "How can you possibly expect employers to care about the difference between legal and illegal aliens when you don't? You are the ones who are blurring the line between the two, and you are the ones causing hardship on those who have chosen to abide by our laws and who actually want to become Americans. If anyone is disrespecting legal immigrants, it is you."

A pin dropping in that room at that moment would have sounded like a bomb. None of the defenders of the "rights" of illegals quite knew what to say. It was as if their assumptions about the issue had never been challenged. No one attending that meeting had challenged the politically correct claptrap that passed for a public policy discussion on the issue of immigration.

Afterward, a middle-aged Hispanic woman, smartly dressed and obviously a professional, approached me and expressed her appreciation for what I had said. She told me that her parents had gone through the arduous process of immigrating legally to the United States from Mexico in the 1950s. She said that she had been born here, making her a proud first-generation American, and that her entire family was infuriated by politicians and bureaucrats who pander to illegal aliens. She also assured me that many other naturalized immigrants felt the same way.

That woman and her family represent the best of America. Their lives are within the great tradition of immigrants who longed to become Americans. They have earned the right to be here.

Those who disrespect the rights and the security of law-abiding Americans in favor of people who have broken our laws represent the worst we have to offer.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a tough bill aimed at border security. It changes the crime of entering our country illegally from a mere misdemeanor to a felony. This action sparked mass demonstrations against our elected representatives by people who have no right to be here in the first place. These protests apparently so frightened the Senate Judiciary Committee that they fell all over themselves passing a watered down immigration bill that amounts to amnesty for some 12 million illegals.

The best estimates available tell us that there are approximately 400 million people in the world who would come to the United States if they could. Those who advocate amnesty or anything like it should consider such numbers, because the future of a great civilization hangs in the balance. A society carved out of nothing through the toil and struggle of our founders, and placed in our stewardship by God, should not be lightly disregarded. Without our borders, our language and our culture we have no nation. This is not an exaggeration. This is the truth.

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Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a speechwriter and policy advisor to federal, state and local candidates, elected officials and public policy organizations. His work is published in newspapers across the country and on selected Internet web sites, including and Readers may contact him at