Open-Borders Immigration Would Destroy American Sovereignty and Exceptionalism
This is the essay upon which my speech at the Gray Republicans' May 8, 2019 event on the Crisis of Immigration at the Southern Border was based.
May 13, 2019
The video of the speech based on this essay can be viewed here.
The immigration crisis at the Mexican border cannot be overstated. On March 28, 2019, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen stated:
In the flurry of opinions about immigration, border walls, compassion for immigrants and their children, economics, and an influx of crime, there is a larger, more urgent, and civilization-changing crisis: the real probability that open-borders immigration would destroy American sovereignty and exceptionalism.
Open-borders advocates declare that America’s southern border with Mexico should be open to all. Farhad Manjoo wrote, in an opinion piece for The New York Times on January 16, 2019 titled “There’s Nothing Wrong With Open Borders: Why a brave Democrat should make the case for vastly expanding immigration”:
Manjoo refers to the immigration system’s “bottomless unfairness,” and uses false ad hominem attacks like “President Trump’s racist immigration rhetoric” and “the president’s xenophobic policies.” He writes:
Manjoo’s arguments couch unfettered immigration as an issue of compassion for those less fortunate who simply want to come to America to work and better themselves. Anyone opposing immigration becomes a racist, a xenophobe, and a cruel and selfish bigot. Shame on those xenophobes!
Thus, America’s sovereign rights to restrict open immigration become immoral, and border walls are immoral too, to use Nancy Pelosi’s term. But are immigration restrictions and border walls actually immoral? Let’s test that theory.
First, it must be said that if all the people in the world were saints, it would indeed make borders unnecessary. Religious people would describe that as the “Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.” However much we might like to see that world of saints, it hasn’t arrived yet. Murderers, criminals, and selfish people still roam the planet.
So, although it’s truly important to be compassionate, one must also exercise wisdom when it comes to allowing just anyone to enter one’s country and one’s home.
To me, the crux of the immigration argument rests on the words “sovereignty,” “home,” and “exceptionalism.”
Do all of us have the sovereign right to manage our own home and restrict other humans from coming in without permission? If you don’t agree, can all those who do agree come over to your home tomorrow and camp out in your living room? If you say no to that, are you being hypocritical? If you say yes, then all I can respond with is: “Really? Hundreds of us can move in to your house, and yard, and living room?”
One of the dictionary definitions of “sovereign” is “a sovereign or independent state, community, or political unit.” The smallest political unit one can find is the individual. In free countries, it is considered normal that every individual has the sovereign right to manage his or her life and home as he or she sees fit, as long as that individual is not harming others in the process.
This brings us to the question of America as a sovereign and exceptional nation.
Every nation’s government in the world may declare its sovereignty, but is every system of government exceptional? A government’s level of exceptionalism and subsequent rights of sovereignty are based on how that government honors the sacred sovereignty of its individual citizens. Totalitarian governments have no rights of sovereignty over their citizens or anyone else, because they deny individuals their sacred rights.
In Marxist nations, individuals have no intrinsic rights at all. The threat of death or imprisonment by government fiat are constants, with surveillance and spies everywhere. Trust is non-existent, and no one can repeat the classic American phrase, “Hey, it’s a free country!”
In North Korea and China, the individual is nothing. In totalitarian Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, the individual is nothing. Yes, one might survive under totalitarianism, but only if one follows all of the rules and lives a pallid, machine-like existence. Even then, one can never be sure if one will live another day without punishment. The list of totalitarian nations in history is huge, and includes scores of countries today that are still oppressing their citizens. How many millions of precious human beings have lived without experiencing the sacred freedoms that they had the right to enjoy?
In contrast, America was founded by incredible visionaries who also had a deep knowledge of history and totalitarianism. Thomas Jefferson was only thirty-three years old in 1776 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and the immortal sentence:
Fifteen years later, in 1791, the inalienable rights of humans were cemented and codified in the Bill of Rights, in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:
Forming a government based on strict checks and balances to prevent that same government from infringing on the sacred rights of its citizens was an enormous, unprecedented event in human history. The United States was not perfect when it was formed, but consider where it was in the long timeline of history. It was such an incredible, watershed event that millions upon millions of less-free humans have clamored to come to its shores. In the process, America has improved by continually following its founding spirit of inalienable rights for all humans.
In 1865, only seventy-four years after the Bill of Rights were codified, over 360,000 Union soldiers, including 40,000 black soldiers, had died in the Civil War that freed the slaves. Most of the white men and boys who died to free the slaves had never owned a slave, and may have never even met a slave. But they died with valor, dignity, and honor, to help move the standard of freedom forward for all human beings.
If Lincoln had not been assassinated, the reconstruction of the South might have gone very differently, with full civil rights for African-Americans coming much sooner than they did. But finally those civil rights did come, where men and women were judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, whether Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or any other race.
With full racial equality as well as full rights for women, America has reached a point where citizens can elect and reelect a black President and regard his skin color as completely irrelevant. Women are now running for President as well, and no intelligent person cares at all about their gender, unless it is to admire them.
In 2019, young Thomas Jefferson’s words have been fulfilled. This is momentous, and has allowed America to live up to the spirit of its founding. America is absolutely exceptional because it was birthed from the noble idea that all humans are equal and must be free and it is exceptional because hundreds of thousands of its citizens have given their lives to bring that noble idea to fruition. It is also exceptional because it truly does stand as a beacon of hope and freedom for millions of people around the world.
All American can now say, “Hey, it’s a free country!” Totalitarian Leftists may never admit that fact, but it’s true nonetheless. Every citizen in America is free and enjoys the same opportunities as every other American.
It is an historic tragedy that the Totalitarian Left has miseducated American young people to such a degree that they cannot perceive the value of what the Founding Fathers constructed with the U.S. Constitution. Leftists and Islamic activists have joined together in their specious propaganda attacks on America and the Constitution, pushing an agenda to remove or subvert the key elements in the Constitution that make America free. One of their weapons is an open-borders policy with the promise of “free stuff for all.” Many hungry and suffering illegal immigrants will gladly vote for anyone who promises to take care of them forever.
We are a proud nation of immigrants. Throughout our short history of two and a half centuries, legal immigrants arrived with a fascination and respect for what Dennis Prager calls “the American Trinity”: “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one), “Liberty,” and “In God We Trust.” America became a melting pot in which people of any culture and race could pass the US Citizenship Test and gratefully say, “I’m an American!”
Coming to America with the goal of assimilating into American culture and becoming a proud and grateful American has been an immigration phenomenon that has indeed helped make America great.
Thus, immigration is not a problem for most Americans.
The key to successful immigration is extremely simple. As an exceptional nation of free people, it is the right of all Americans to insist that strangers should not come in uninvited. Strangers have no intrinsic right to come to America. As humans, they have the inalienable right to be free, but they don’t have the right to force down the doors of the communal home that we have formed with our tears, our blood, and our sacred honor.
Most especially, they don’t have the right to come to America and insist that they be cared for with millions of dollars of our money, even though they have no desire to adopt our founding vision and become proud, hard-working, and grateful Americans. It is our right and our responsibility to preserve our country’s social, political, cultural, and economic health—to ensure that America survives for hundreds of years more as a country that still embodies exceptional and universal principles of freedom.
Opening our borders to everyone, without restrictions, would utterly overwhelm America. Immigrants would become an invading horde who would no longer be required to learn our history, our values, our language, and the principles of US Citizenship. Their votes would belong to the party that gave them free stuff, and would provide that party with enormous power to modify the Constitution at will.
Within a few decades, America might be unrecognizable, and it’s very possible that the inalienable freedoms that we cherish now would be gone, replaced by a Socialist and totalitarian system of government. Shortly after that development, America would be dead-broke and poor, just like Venezuela, and millions of people would want to leave. Where would they go?
As reported by Rachel Campos-Duffy for Fox News in the January 14, 2018 opinion piece, “Who is Sean Penn to lecture Trump about compassion?” a recent Venezuelan immigrant stood up with an American flag in one hand and a Venezuelan flag in the other and said:
We owe it to the Americans who shed their blood to create our free country, and we owe it to the millions of people around the world who still yearn for freedom, many who will come to America legally and gratefully, to preserve the priceless and exceptional American Experiment for centuries to come.
We should feel compassion for those outside our borders, but it is our first, sovereign responsibility to make sure our own American home remains secure, healthy, and free.
Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”