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As Long as We Remember...

October 5, 2007

An Open Letter

Edward Lulie III

I write this as an open letter to the Frederick Board of County Commissioners. In the past few years I have come to know all of you. While we may not always agree, every single one of you has always been willing to take time and listen.

For elected officials, the ability to listen is a wonderful asset. It helps to further progress and understanding during difficult debates. I hope that - when you consider the ongoing debate over dealing locally with illegal immigration - you will continue to be willing to listen to all voices, because this is a very important discussion.

I can not find an adequate way to describe the outrage that I feel when a citizen protesting the loss of their rights is called "racist" merely because the opposition wants that voice silenced. The right to free speech is threatened by this tactic. Allowing citizens to be shouted down with false and disingenuous slander is simply despicable and must not be tolerated.

Citizenship will mean absolutely nothing if we grant non-citizens all of the rights and benefits that were bought and earned by the labor and blood of previous generations. What does citizenship mean when we allow our rights to drive, to work and to vote to be diminished by letting non-citizens have those rights without cost because it is more politically expedient or easy to let that happen?

Each of you has taken an oath of office. In some respects you are like a guard at the border faced with turning away a young mother and her children because she has no right to enter the country. That is a hard and awful task. It goes against your natural compassion and sympathy to have to be the one to say "No." Yet that is what your oath of office demands.

The argument is frequently made that we don't have any statistics to support the claims that illegals are flooding our schools, filling our jails and breaking our laws. The fact that those statistics are not allowed to be kept is never mentioned. The fact that we are spending so much to hire teachers for students to learn English as a second language is a clear sign that the problem is both greater and more extensive than previously thought.

I believe that before you consider Commissioner Charles Jenkins' proposal, you must first gather all of the statistics and data so that we do know.

We need to know this information. The urgency and importance of securing our borders and respecting the rights of citizens may be hard to understand when you look around and still see normalcy all around you. The mail is still being delivered. The police are still writing tickets. Children are still going to school.

Yet the problem is here and growing. The longer that we delay in acting will make the problem even harder to resolve. While this is an issue that demands resolution on a national level, it is one that we must begin to deal with locally. I commend Mr. Jenkins for having the courage to raise the issue.

I urge all of you to rebuke anyone who tries to shut down this debate with cries of racism. This is not a debate over race or an outbreak of hatred directed at anyone because of skin color. The fact that the school budget faces cuts in the educational experience of our children because we must spend to teach English to the children here illegally isn't a racist opinion, it is a fact.

My hope is that you will spend the time and effort to collect the necessary data so the debate will be focused on facts and not just be based on impassioned rhetoric or outrage. To reach a resolution to the problem we will need a full and robust debate. I urge you not to act hastily, or allow yourselves to be swayed by undue sympathy to the plight of those here illegally.

A solution must begin by observing the promise and oath that you took and to honor the contract made between the government and the citizens that you represent. Without preserving the rights and laws of citizenship, we effectively refute the compact that has allowed us to become the most powerful and free nation in existence. We can not continue to exist as a nation and a republic without keeping the framework of law and our Constitution. That is at the heart of this debate. We must never lose sight that this is ultimately all about the future of our children.

My prayers and best wishes go to each of you in the hope that you will see this issue clearly and find solutions that will preserve our rights as citizens, our form of government and also to find ways to help those in need without ignoring their lawbreaking or their plight.

While our hearts may be boundless, our resources are not.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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