The Cynical Use of Citizenship

By Dan Cadman on September 21, 2015

On September 17, the administration celebrated Constitution Day by administering the naturalization oath to more than 36,000 newly minted citizens in 200 events throughout all 50 states. The president used the occasion to kick off the new Stand Stronger Citizenship Awareness Campaign.

I would like to say I found this heartwarming evidence of 36,000 people fulfilling their aspirations to share in the American Dream. I didn't. Instead, I found myself thinking, "On Constitution Day of all days? You're kidding! How cynical can you get?"

The officials of this White House have consistently used, abused, misused, and ignored the Constitution in every way possible. They've treated it like a puppy treats a squeaky chew toy — and I among others have found myself wondering how much more of the rough treatment it can take before it shreds, leaving the republican principles of our democracy in tatters and destroying the checks and balances on power that were so carefully negotiated and crafted in 1787 by the nation's founders at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) says that Hispanics are queuing up in droves to naturalize in reaction to Republican presidential candidates' stances on immigration, particularly those of Donald Trump. (Gutierrez is not one to bank your money on; his world view is so skewed in favor of open borders that he reacted to the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco at the hands of an illegal alien by calling it "a little thing".)

I disagree. Neither is it about assimilation and fulfilling immigrants' aspirations. Whatever they choose to call this naturalization initiative, it's the same cynical power play we've seen used by Democratic administrations previously in run-ups to presidential elections — stuff the voter rolls with new, presumably Democratic-leaning, citizens in time to cast their ballots.

Last time it was called Citizenship USA, a scandal-plagued naturalization mill with few internal controls that churned out 1.2 million new citizens, including thousands of convicted criminals and other ineligible applicants.

Our Republican-majority Congress is by and large a toothless housecat thanks to its ineffectual leadership, but if I were them I would begin looking into exactly how the government is going about its naturalization vetting and adjudicating now. Care to take any bets on the kinds of production and approval pressures being exerted on the examiners handling this program? Those are the kinds of things that lead to cut corners, shabby vetting, and inappropriate grants of the country's most precious gift: its citizenship.