Swearing In the Enemy
The title of this column is borrowed from a recent article written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She makes some great points, and you should read the entire article. With the Senate Judiciary Committee passing an immigration reform bill, the next steps include bringing the bill up on the Senate floor with votes on a motion to proceed, amendments, cloture and passage. So far our elected only spoke about the future of illegal immigrants. None have yet spoken fully about what Ayaan wrote about, and someone should.
The following is an excerpt of Ayaan’s article.
A 2013 Pew report revealed the extraordinarily large proportion of Muslims around the world who favor making Shariah the official law of their own countries: 91% of Iraqi Muslims and 84% of Pakistanis, for example. Comparably high proportions favor the death penalty for apostates like me. Are immigrants to the U.S. drawn exclusively from the tiny minority who think otherwise? I doubt it.
Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani national, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived the American dream: He arrived on a student visa, married an American citizen, graduated from college, worked his way up the corporate ladder to become a junior financial analyst for a cosmetics company in Connecticut, became a naturalized citizen at the age of 30 and then, a year later, in 2010, tried to blow up as many of his fellow citizens as possible in a failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square.
Prior to sentencing, the judge asked Mr. Shahzad about the oath of allegiance he had taken, in which he did “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.” The defendant replied: “I sweared [sic], but I didn’t mean it.” He then expressed his regret about the failure of his plot and added that he would gladly have sacrificed a thousand lives in the service of Allah.
A half-century ago, the U.S. turned away from the era when immigration was restricted with the deliberate intention of keeping down the number of Chinese and other ethnic groups, who were deemed undesirable. I have no wish to go back to those bad old days. There should be no discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity or faith. But it is not enough to confine the current debate on immigration reform to a narrow argument about the future of illegal immigrants. I believe that we are entitled to filter out would-be citizens who are ideologically and morally opposed to the U.S. and pose a threat to its population.
Every applicant should be interviewed by an ethnically and religiously diverse panel made up of experts on ideological extremism, who would then advise the government on whether or not to allow the applicant to proceed along the road to citizenship. Muslim applicants need not feel singled out; the panel would look out for any individual whose political convictions, religious or otherwise, radically clash with the government and principles to which the applicant is preparing to swear allegiance.
This would include any and all extremists who openly advocate or engage in political violence as a means for attaining their ideal society. Examples would include members of terrorist organizations such as the FARC in Colombia, the PKK in Turkey, Aum Shinrikyo in Japan and so on. The most important question is not what they believe but what they do—or believe it would be legitimate to do. Requiring candidates for citizenship to respond to questions from such a panel might do more than all the other inconvenient, expensive, and undesirable measures to combat terrorism that we currently put up with.
A big job to organize and implement? Absolutely. But such screening is necessary to ensure that the U.S. continues to draw and naturalize people who are genuinely attracted by what makes the country great and who want to make their own contribution to that greatness, while keeping out enemies bent on our demise.
About 90 years ago President Coolidge spoke in his style of brevity about immigration.
Those who do not want to be partakers of the American spirit ought not to settle in America.
We have certain standards of life that we believe are best for us. We do not ask other nations to discard theirs, but we do wish to preserve ours. Standards, government and culture under our free institutions are not so much a matter of constitutions and laws as of public opinion, ways of thought and methods of life of the people. We reflect on no one in wanting immigrants who will be assimilated into our ways of thinking and living. Believing we can best serve the world in that way, we restrict immigration.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a Vermont Republican like silent Cal in office today? The suggestions about would-be citizens should also include would-be guest workers who are not on a citizenship path. Rand Paul also is also correct that US citizens like Anwar al-Aulaqi should have been put on trial in abstentia for treason. There are some who only see immigration policy in political terms of creating a permanent majority with new voters, others who only see an enlarged workforce as a positive for economic growth, and a few like Pat Buchanan who just want a moratorium on immigration. There is a silent majority who are most concerned with the issue of national security, and their concerns must not be ignored to appease the special interest groups.
Cross-posted at Unified Patriots