The Biggest Threat to Our Rights – Amnesty
By Jeff Knox
(March 19, 2015) As we have been scrambling to counter threats like the Obama administration’s recent assault on common rifle ammunition, another, less immediate, but more dangerous threat has been looming and growing; the threat of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
As a political operative focused almost exclusively on Second Amendment issues, some might think illegal immigration and amnesty are a bit far afield for me to be getting into, but there is no greater threat being faced by gun owners right now than the consequences of rapidly converting millions of illegal immigrants into legal, voting citizens. The equation is very simple: for a variety of reasons, illegal immigrants overwhelmingly support Democrats and Democrat policies over Republicans or other parties. Data from the Pew Research Center indicates only 4% of (probably unauthorized immigrant) Latinos identify as Republican, and that in 2012, 71% of Latino voters cast their ballot for Obama, while only 27% supported Romney.
Providing a “path to citizenship” for some significant portion of the illegal immigrant population, conservatively estimated at 11.2 million, or 3.5% of the total population, would give the Democrat Party a huge advantage in several states and at the national level. This should be a serious concern to supporters of gun rights because over recent decades the Democrat party has shifted from their populist, working-man roots to an elitist, nanny-state philosophy, and part of that shift has been away from the right to arms and toward strict government control over firearms and ammunition.
In short, the Democrat Party has become the party of gun control, and allowing illegal immigrants to gain citizenship and vote would make the Democrat Party the dominant party in this country. The results for gun owners would almost certainly be devastating.
From a personal perspective, I support liberal immigration policies, especially from our continental neighbors. My own great-grandfather crossed the border just after the turn of the last century and built a life for himself and our family in the Indian territories of Oklahoma where he met and married a young Mennonite missionary. The day he became a U.S. Citizen was one of the proudest of his life, right up there with the days each of his children graduated, and the day he read a copy of Washingtonian magazine declaring his grandson, my father, Neal Knox, one of the 100 most influential people in Washington, DC.
Grandad Gomez worked and produced and contributed to this country for almost 80 years. When he finally was unable to work any longer, he was cared for and supported by his children and his grandchildren, not the government.
There are plenty of other hard-working, responsible people around the world who see the U.S. as a land of opportunity where they can build a better life for their families, and are taking the steps necessary to obtain access to that dream – legally, and without depending on shortcuts from government programs, or breaking the law, to accomplish their goals.
On the other hand, there are millions more, some of them equally hard-working, who have bypassed the legal process for access to the American dream. They have come here illegally or overstayed visas to establish themselves in our country, and now they want the rules changed so they can be declared citizens and be granted the right to vote for our leaders. Many of them don’t want to adopt our culture, learn our language, or obey our laws – like the laws they broke to be here in the first place. At this point, it can’t be looked at in just black and white; there are many shades of gray involved. Our border policies have been anything but clear over the years. It is unfair for us to treat people who were invited here or allowed in with a wink and a nod, the same as people who knowingly and intentionally violated our laws to get here. It is wrong to break up families and unilaterally pull the rug out from under 20 or 30 years of work and contribution. There is no practical or fair way to simply deport all 11 million or more people who do not have proper immigration paperwork, but neither is it fair or reasonable to just hand them all citizenship and the right to vote.
Practically speaking, there is going to have to be some sort of amnesty and/or guest worker program. Our laws and morality demand it. But whatever Congress comes up with must consider the impact on U.S. citizens and those who have been legally pursuing citizenship first. Rights advocates and constitutionalists must be participants in that debate and the creation of these programs. We must insist on assimilation and Americanization as a requisite part of the plan, and we must ensure that those who do come here or are allowed to stay are educated about the principles, rights, and responsibilities they are choosing to embrace.
The right to arms for self-defense and self-determination is a fundamental human right which belongs to everyone. Too many immigrants to this country – both legal and illegal – don’t understand or appreciate that this right belongs to them. They come from places where this right has been denied for so long that they no longer have any knowledge or experience with it, or even the concepts underlying it.
Rights advocates must oppose any effort to convert law-breakers into citizens on a massive scale, but we must also actively reach out to people wishing to assimilate into American culture to educate and inform them about the rights and responsibilities they would share. And we need to inform them about those who would deny those rights to them.
Immigration reform is a complex and multi-faceted issue with no easy answers. Amnesty for illegal immigrants is also more complicated than many would like to make it, after all, these are human beings we’re talking about, not just numbers, but any plan that would tip the balance of power away from protection of rights and the Constitution, is a plan that must be opposed.
Wouldn’t it be a tragic irony if we allowed people coming here seeking freedom and individual rights, to be the death-blow to that dream?