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March 24, 2008

The Dilution of our Citizenship and Branding of America

Steven R. Berryman

Membership has its rewards! Just ask major credit card providers. Citizenship in America is much the same way. When we “brand” America, in the demographic sense, citizenship should be the upgrade, and it should not be provided with no strings attached!


This fee premium status of citizenship must have a cost and an associated status if we are to maintain the value in being one in America. No guest cards. No trial programs.


The vast majority of Americans today became citizens as a birthright simply by having been smart enough to choose the right parents. For some strange reason, it does not matter whether the parents themselves are citizens. Under our current system, you are just as legal either way.


The political and social indoctrination program in America is fostered by our public school system, which is highly regulated and stylized. We don’t view the Pledge of Allegiance as propaganda – although theoretically it could qualify as such – because we accept and believe it to be fundamental to as a unified people.


The nature of our schools curriculum itself lends the lessons of citizenship. It is up to the parents of citizens to reinforce them and to drive it home. In the example of the illegal immigrant with a new child, this is a problem.


Knowing our historical lessons, the price others have paid, and the extent of our freedoms and rights are all part of teaching the appreciation that is a necessary step in citizenship.


The incentives to achieve “de facto” citizenship in Maryland are manifest. Jobs, education, relative safety, and emergency room healthcare are but a few.


A worsening global economic state will continue to make us a desirable destination for refugees. Once in country here, pressures at the state level will offer further reasons for those illegals currently concentrated in places like Arizona and Virginia to head for Maryland.


Our drivers’ license lacks the test of citizenship, at least for now. This makes the advent of the “anchor baby” all that more feasible as a tactic. The anchor baby becomes the excuse to not process other family members and return them to their countries of origin, if for example they are discovered to be illegal and without a green card or a visa if arrested.


Conferring citizenship without the education and lessons is a disservice for those taking the legal but difficult steps of the process.


But is this citizenship the reason for the enormous influx of illegals from Mexico and Central and South America? They originate from there because we are connected by a land-bridge. Do they love our Constitution and freedoms that much and seek to become legal citizens? A love of democracy? No!


The above is a fallacy, and maybe is our fantasy. The truth is that many – if not most – illegals find relative economic prosperity here and send money home. When they stay in America, citizenship is not their goal.


To complicate the matter, our citizenship process is broken, and terribly cumbersome. There is no political will now to improve the situation, especially during an election year.


Perhaps if there were a path, there would be more interest. Until then, our legislators are under pressure to offer services on a humanitarian basis, which is bankrupting us. Illegals form pressure groups and circumvent the system.


We lack the political will for a solution that covers all aspects of the enforcement of our immigration laws, a humanitarian answer to those already here, and a way to stop the bleeding at the borders. And the fact is that we do need a workable program for those wanting to work in America without becoming citizens.  But on our terms!


Without addressing these real problems, now getting much worse, we loose out in the value of our own citizenship via the dilution of the brand of being American.


One right we have as legal citizens is the right to be apathetic. Truly, in some countries one can be sent to jail for not voting! Just do nothing and still complain.


Another right we have as legal citizens is the right to speak out, to petition, to contact our legislators and elected representatives and to organize as groups with common interests about common problems.


I prefer the latter.


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