You can always tell when a certain issue is being considered by a larger than usual number of Americans based on the emails that start showing up in the “inbox.” Once a particular topic becomes worthy of matrix-like distribution throughout computers nationwide, you know it’s “hot.” Such is that of the current so-called “immigration rights” matter. In a couple of days, I received multiple emails with the words of Teddy Roosevelt on immigration:
“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
The words are attributed to him by name, with no other accompanying information, other than a date. Thinking about using some “Teddy” for column material (no, not the reprobate “senior” Senator from Massachusetts), I thought I’d find out exactly which speech he delivered his profound thoughts on immigration assimilation.
As with all of those great quotes that anyone with an email address gets on a daily basis that sound too good to be true, I figured I’d better look it up, lest it be incorrect. A check at (www.urbanlegends.about.com) states, “Theodore Roosevelt indeed wrote these words, but not in 1907 while he was still president. The passages were culled from a letter he wrote to the president of the American Defense Society on January 3, 1919, three days before Roosevelt died.” TR focused on the immigration and assimilation issues in his later years. At the time, America was faced with massive immigration from Europe, and grappled with the right way to handle the situation. The ultimate result was a practical and orderly set of rules that served America well until the sixties generation came along and destroyed those along with everything else they touched.
Teddy’s concern was not just the protection of the American citizens. On October 12, 1915, the former President addressed the Knights of Columbus in New York City: “We cannot afford to continue to use hundreds of thousands of immigrants merely as industrial assets while they remain social outcasts and menaces any more than fifty years ago we could afford to keep the black man merely as an industrial asset and not as a human being. We cannot afford to build a big industrial plant and herd men and women about it without care for their welfare. We cannot afford to permit squalid overcrowding or the kind of living system which makes impossible the decencies and necessities of life. We cannot afford the low wage rates and the merely seasonal industries which mean the sacrifice of both individual and family life and morals to the industrial machinery.”
Back in the days of slavery, the owner had to provide food, shelter, clothing and medicines to the slaves he owned. He took care of his “possessions” to keep them in “good order.” Today, the employer of illegal (“undocumented”) aliens (“immigrants”) needs only to send a van (you know, the kind of van that the safety-Nazis won’t let school kids ride in) to a special area and pick up “day laborers,” use them for the day, pay them a meager salary and dump them back at the pen upon days end. Gone are the food, shelter, clothing and medicine. Compare yesterday’s slaves to the modern day “undocumented immigrant” and you will find that, other than the lack of whiplashes, there is little difference.
The result? Being a good and decent people, we Americans fill the gap with a generous social safety net- thereby subsidizing the modern-day slaveholders- and glossing over REAL “human rights” violations with money. The REAL “maverick” politician, Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo (www.tancredo.house.gov) tells us in an April 30th press release, “The net cost to the federal government in 2002 for public services provided to illegal aliens was $10.4 billion or $2,736 per household according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies. Estimates for 2005 put the amount at $11.7 billion or $3,080 per household.” This is the price you and I pay to employ those who “simply do the jobs Americans won’t do.” This is also the price we pay to help those who employ those who “do the jobs Americans won’t do” become rich.
Teddy Roosevelt wrote in the December 1, 1917 Kansas City Star: “Never under any condition should this Nation look at an immigrant as primarily a labor unit. He should always be looked at primarily as a future citizen and the father of other citizens who are to live in this land as fellows with our children and our children’s children. Our immigration laws, permanent or temporary, should always be constructed with this fact in view.” It’s all how you define “citizen.” An AMERICAN citizen, that is. How many media images of people have you seen wrapped in the Mexican flag lately?