Don’t link illegal immigration to civil rights struggle

by By Tom Joyce

When an individual or group wants something bad enough, they often resort to desperate acts — which is precisely the case with those who have been comparing immigration reform to the civil rights movement.

That is like honoring Bonnie and Clyde during National Police Week.

Those who have been pushing for the so-called “pathway to citizenship” for the millions of illegals who are a blight on America, plain and simple, have overlooked no opportunity in attempting to legitimize their cause.

This has been manifested by ridiculous comments, such as: “This country was built by immigrants.” Which is true enough, until you consider that those pressing for amnesty conveniently overlook the difference between legal immigration and the illegal variety.

I mean, how can you rightfully compare people coming to Ellis Island and being processed in an orderly, and lawful, manner to someone jumping a fence in the middle of the night?

The pro-amnesty forces also have played the economic card by arguing that bringing illegals “out of the shadows” and making them legal with the wave of a magical legislative wand would help the country financially. That ignores forecasts by some experts who say that granting citizenship status to the estimated 10 million to 15 million illegals now in the U.S. ultimately would cost $6.3 trillion.

It doesn’t take an Einstein to determine that allowing these people to tap into social services, educational, health-care and other resources would be a losing proposition for America, even more than it is already. That doesn’t include taking away jobs from Americans, which would result from legalizing such a large group of people — many of whom lack even a high school education.

Despite such manipulations of semantics in recent months, immigration reform — aka amnesty — has not occurred despite its supporters’ best efforts. While the U.S. Senate adopted an ill-conceived immigration measure earlier this year, the House of Representatives has taken a more cautious approach and is to be applauded for that.

So it was predictable that pro-amnesty forces would stoop so low this week as to compare their sleazy cause to the civil rights movement. They did so in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and about 200,000 supporters.

And the only problem is, there is absolutely no comparison between the two if one considers the historical facts involved.

The civil rights movement was the pinnacle of an effort to correct centuries of mistreatment, injustice and oppression against a group of people who were brought here against their will. Once in America, they were forced into slavery, virtually treated more like livestock than human beings.

Even after measures such as the Emancipation Proclamation came about, blacks still were considered second-class citizens, made to endure separate but equal (and typically inferior) conditions with schools and other facilities. They couldn’t eat in certain restaurants or use the same water fountains as whites, yet were good enough to die in wars.

No such atrocities have been committed against the illegal population, which has not paid anywhere near the citizenship price as African-Americans have. The bottom line is, no one is forcing the illegals to be here, unlike blacks who had no choice but to live under the terrible institution of slavery.

Unlike African-Americans who helped build this nation on their backs, at a massive price of sweat and blood, illegal immigrants have made no such sacrifices. Instead, they are basically opportunists who have come here and taken advantage of lax enforcement of the law, and largely seem to enjoy flaunting this.

If illegals do in fact feel oppressed, as was claimed this week, they can simply leave — which was certainly an option not available to slaves.

So it was a disgrace that supporters of amnesty couldn’t sit back and let African-Americans enjoy an important milestone in their history on its golden anniversary. Instead, they chose to attach their baggage to what otherwise was an uplifting and dignified observance.

If the amnesty movement truly is about correcting injustice and achieving equality, as the civil rights struggle has been, it could stand on its own merits rather than piggybacking on a cause that really has been worthwhile.

I suspect that the mad rush to grant amnesty to the millions of illegals is more geared toward instantly creating a block of voters to influence the mid-term congressional elections in 2014 than with helping a supposedly downtrodden people.

Therefore, if the amnesty movement continues to falter as it has lately, there’s no telling what its politically charged backers will latch onto next.

I’m sure they’ll find some way to link their movement to the Holocaust that killed millions of Jews — which is about the only thing they haven’t exploited so far.

Tom Joyce is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at 719-1924 or