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Illegal immigration can’t become invasion

President Bush’s immigration address to the nation Monday nightmight have been more convincing had it come before politicalpressure from his conservative base made it appear that his motivesmight be suspect.

In February 2005, the president signed into law a bill that wassupposed to add 10,000 new border patrol agents along America’sborder with Mexico. But the president’s 2006 budget funded only 210new agents. Budget restraints were cited for the drastic cutback infunding.

Now the president is asking Congress for money to hire 9,000 to12,000 new agents. He would also deploy National Guard troops to”back up” the border patrol.

Throughout his address, the president kept referring to theimmigrants and their rights and desires. What about those of usborn in America, or who legally immigrated to this country? Don’twe have a right to preserve the nation the way it was handed downto us, with our English language, our culture and our loyalty tothis country?

There is more to the immigration issue than the presidentrevealed in his speech. The Senate Immigration Reform Bill, nowunder consideration by the Senate, runs to 614 pages. With adocument that long, there is bound to be some hidden mischief.

According to Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow in DomesticPolicy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, the bill would allow upto 193 million new legal immigrants into the United States in thenext 20 years. Such a staggering number comprises 60 percent of thecurrent U.S. population. Is our economy so strong and our nationalidentity so weak that we could successfully absorb so manyimmigrants in so short a time, or at any time?

The rapid population growth would come not only from newimmigrants, but also from their family members who would also bepart of the deal. Since immigrant families are generally largerthan ours (due not only to our decision to have fewer children, butalso because of abortion, which has claimed the lives of more than40 million unborn Americans in the last 30 years) their populationwould overwhelm what we have here now.

This isn’t about “fairness,” or being a “welcoming society.” Ifanything close to the current Senate bill passes, we will be adifferent nation. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, says theSenate bill would make immigration to the United States an”entitlement.” Sessions told The Washington Times, “The decision asto who may come will almost totally be controlled by the desire ofthe individuals who wish to immigrate to the United States ratherthan the United States government.”

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 83-16 in favor of construction ofa fence and 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the border. It wasthe first victory by conservatives who have been pushing forstronger border enforcement. Just before that vote, senators, by a66-33 vote, rejected a proposal to remove from the bill the rightof illegals in the country for more than two years to apply forcitizenship, thus giving the president a victory for his “guestworker” proposal.

I prefer the way the Swiss government handles immigration andcitizenship to the virtual open door policy advocated by thepresident and the Senate bill. The Swiss appreciate tourists andbusinesspeople, but if one wishes to become a Swiss citizen, thegovernment makes it difficult. The reason? The Swiss want topreserve their culture.

There is no “right” to be a Swiss citizen. Being born inSwitzerland doesn’t automatically make one Swiss. The governmentregulates the right of citizenship through descent.

People who wish to be naturalized in Switzerland must live aminimum of 12 years in the country; submit to complete integrationinto Swiss life, which includes familiarity with Swiss habits,customs and traditions; comply with the Swiss rule of law; anddemonstrate that they are no danger to Switzerland’s internal orexternal security. Local towns may add additional requirements.

President Bush employed the classic “melting pot” metaphor, butchanging the character and culture of America through uncontrolledimmigration – legal or not – would drop a glacier into the pot thatwould never melt.

This is about more than politics and votes. It goes to thenature of who and what we are. Current citizens had better makesure this is not an invasion masquerading as immigration.

Write to Cal Thomas at 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1500,Chicago IL 60611. E-mail reaches him at Cal@CalThomas.com.