The Corner

Politics & Policy

On Citizenship for Illegal Aliens

In response to Poetry

I disagree with one point of Mark Krikorian’s analysis below: I don’t think citizenship should be handed out willy-nilly, even if we are to have something like an amnesty.

There are all sorts of reasons to immigrate to a new country, legally or illegally, permanently or temporarily. We often hear that the illegals from Mexico and elsewhere simply want to work and to earn a living. Where that’s the case, fine. Working and earning a living are honorable pursuits. But citizenship is about something else. It isn’t about finding a better job or a better house, or even about escaping terrible conditions back home. Citizenship isn’t about what’s been left behind, but about what is here.

The last time we offered an amnesty and a “path to citizenship,” most of the illegals did not seek or secure citizenship. Why? The Washington Post has a very plausible explanation: They didn’t come here looking for citizenship. They came here looking to earn a living.

The United States isn’t an ethno-state of the traditional kind, and it isn’t bound together by any particular religious creed or, given the example in the White House, even by a common language. Most Americans do not have roots going back to the Revolution, and a great many do not have roots going back even so far as the Civil War. (Or Vietnam, for that matter.) What we have is citizenship, the rights and duties of free men and women in a self-governing republic operating under a government of laws, not a government of men. Following the law matters.

So does wanting citizenship — which is not the same as merely wanting the benefits associated with citizenship. If we are going to have an amnesty (and I am not at all convinced we should) then we should limit it to giving out permanent residency, with citizenship possible — possible — on a case-by-case basis.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More
Film & TV

Joker: An Honest Treatment of Madness

When I saw that the New York Times and The New Yorker had run columns berating the new Joker movie, criticizing it not simply on cinematic grounds but instead insisting that the film amounted to a clandestine defense of “whiteness” in an attempt to buttress the electoral aim of “Republicans” — this is a ... Read More
Culture

The Origins of the Transgender Movement

Editor’s Note: This article has been adapted from remarks delivered at a Heritage Foundation summit. I’ve been asked to talk about the origins of transgenderism and how it relates to children and their exploitation. But first, I would like to start with a little story. Yesterday I was wandering around ... Read More
Elections

The Democrats’ Disastrous CNN LGBT Town Hall

A few days after Donald Trump committed the worst foreign-policy blunder of his presidency by betraying America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, former vice president Joe Biden, the elder statesman and co-frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, was on a national stage talking to CNN’s primetime ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More
Elections

CNN’s Anti-Religious Town Hall

LGBT activists gathered last week for CNN’s “Equality” town hall with the Democratic presidential candidates. The advocates present were, in the words of Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, the “tip of the spear in our fight for full equality.” The “spear” metaphor grew more apt as ... Read More