Blaming the Citizen


by Ralph Peters [author, novelist]

American and European leftists share the conviction that the immigrant, legal or illegal, is always right — and the native-born citizen’s always wrong.

This bigotry toward the law-abiding American, Brit, Frenchman or Italian doesn’t help the immigrant in the end. Instead, it’s a powerful engine driving divisiveness.

There are deep differences between Europe’s experience with legal immigrants intent on importing intolerant lifestyles and our problem with illegals responsible for social friction and violent criminality.

But the left’s blame-game is identical: Anyone who doesn’t elevate the “rights” of the immigrant over the rights, safety and desires of the citizen is a bigot. No exceptions. Could there be a formula better designed to excite anti-immigrant sentiment?

In Europe, right-wing movements once consigned to the fringe have gained electoral traction from the Netherlands to Hungary as desperate citizens, ignored by political elites, struggle to preserve their way of life.

Here in America, where our political aristocracy’s equally disdainful of the average citizen, Arizona found itself overwhelmed by illegals and abandoned by a federal government unwilling to enforce its own laws. The state felt compelled to act — and has been damned for its self-preservation effort by the left and its media acolytes.

The left’s fighting harder than ever to enforce its group-think on both sides of the Atlantic: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown trashes a voter with sober concerns as a “bigoted woman,” while American activists condemn citizens in ravaged communities as “racists” because they don’t like gunfights in their yards.

Racism does play a significant role in Europe, but it’s profoundly dishonest of American leftists — anxious to pander to such extremist groups as La Raza — to paint anyone alarmed by illegal immigration as a white supremacist.

Take Arizona: Polls reveal that two-thirds to three-quarters of its citizens approve of the new enforce-the-law law. Yet only 58 percent of Arizonans are non-Hispanic whites. Over 30 percent are Hispanic. Another 5 percent are Native Americans, 4 percent black and 2 percent mixed race. According to the left’s logic, every non-Hispanic white must be “anti-immigrant.” Blacks and Indians must be piling on, too.

Of course, that’s nonsense. Left-leaning whites don’t support the legislation. Which means some Hispanics must favor it. Many do. Hispanic Americans have the same concerns as all other citizens. They don’t unanimously support human trafficking, the narcotics trade and criminal gangs. They want safe neighborhoods, too. Assuming that all citizens who happen to be Hispanic automatically back illegal immigration is just the left’s selective racism.

Hispanics have been in Arizona for centuries and take great pride in their lineage. Tucson’s known as “the Old Pueblo,” not “Ye Olde Village.” They don’t like what’s happened to their state any more than does Parker Van Barker III in his retirement mansion in Scottsdale. And, by the way, Hispanics are far likelier than other citizens to be the victims of illegal-immigrant criminality.

As the left’s blame-the-citizen demands for special privileges for all immigrants only intensify an anti-immigrant backlash, let’s apply some commonsense maxims:

* It is always the responsibility of the immigrant to conform to the laws and social norms of the host society. It is never the responsibility of a society to alter its traditions and values to please immigrants.

* The primary responsibility of government is to protect its citizens and territory. That demands robust border security.

* Illegal immigrants are entitled to basic human rights, but have no civil rights: no right to an attorney, trial or “sanctuary.”

* Washington must remove current incentives to illegal immigration. This means relentlessly pursuing both those who hire illegals and illegals themselves, doubling sentences for illegal-immigrant offenders, and a constitutional amendment eliminating the automatic citizenship granted to children born on our soil to illegals.

* At the same time, we must reform our legal immigration system to recognize the need for temporary workers, as well as for qualified new citizens.

* Turning 10 million illegals into US voters is not the answer.

While Europe’s problems have veered beyond healthy solutions, immigration remains a vital source of national strength for us. But illegal immigration’s purely destructive. Our borders must be subject to the rule of law.

And let’s stop calling law-abiding citizens “bigots” just because they don’t want their communities destroyed by illegal immigrants. ExileStreet

NY Post / copyright 2010 NY Post

Ralph Peters’ latest book is “Endless War: Middle Eastern Islam vs. Western CivilizationHis most recent novel is “The War After Armageddon,” is on the street. His most most recent non-fiction book is “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.” He is Fox News’ strategic analyst.

Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.

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