Immigrant (noun): "a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence"
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary
On Independence Day 2012, President Obama oversaw a naturalization ceremony at the White House for members of the U.S. military. While celebrating the new citizens who followed the rule of law to obtain their new status, Obama also pushed amnesty for illegal aliens who refuse to follow the law, an unnecessary and awkward divergence that resulted in CNN noting that the ceremony was "brimming with political undertones". Even more problematic is that President Obama inaccurately claimed that immigrants signed the Declaration of Independence:
Immigrants signed their names to our Declaration and helped win our independence. Immigrants helped lay the railroads and build our cities, calloused hand by calloused hand. Immigrants took up arms to preserve our union, to defeat fascism, and to win a Cold War. Immigrants and their descendants helped pioneer new industries and fuel our Information Age, from Google to the iPhone. So the story of immigrants in America isn't a story of "them", it's a story of "us". It's who we are.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence were not "immigrants". Nearly all were born in British colonies, in North America, making them British subjects. They later founded the United States, making them "founders" or "settlers". President Obama seems to believe it is possible for a person to be an immigrant to a country not yet formed, or at least to simultaneously create a country and immigrate to it. But such a theory requires a distorted view of history and a twisted definition of the word "immigrant".
Of the 56 delegates, eight were, in fact, born overseas, but they had moved from Scotland or Ireland into the British colonies of North America. In other words, they relocated from one part of the British Empire to another. They were not immigrants. There were a number of immigrants in colonial America, Germans being the most numerous. But none of them signed the Declaration of Independence.
After attempting to redefine the word "immigrant" and our nation's history, the president pushed amnesty — while equating the American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the extension of voting rights with a proposal to let foreigners get away with violating U.S. law:
It has taken these men and women — these Americans — years, even decades, to realize their dream. And this, too, reminds us of a lesson of the Fourth. On that July day, our Founders declared their independence. But they only declared it; it would take another seven years to win the war. Fifteen years to forge a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Nearly 90 years, and a great Civil War, to abolish slavery. Nearly 150 years for women to win the right to vote. Nearly 190 years to enshrine voting rights. And even now, we're still perfecting our union, still extending the promise of America.
That includes making sure the American dream endures for all those — like these men and women — who are willing to work hard, play by the rules and meet their responsibilities. For just as we remain a nation of laws, we have to remain a nation of immigrants. And that's why, as another step forward, we're lifting the shadow of deportation from serving — from deserving young people who were brought to this country as children. It's why we still need a DREAM Act — to keep talented young people who want to contribute to our society and serve our country. It's why we need — why America's success demands — comprehensive immigration reform.
Why celebrate the commitment of these new Americans to spend the time, money, and effort to properly become U.S. citizens if the country is going to dole out the same status to any illegal alien whose only commitment has been to evading law enforcement? For the president to equate illegal aliens with newly naturalized citizens is deplorable.
As a side note, the DREAM Act has nothing to do with "talented young people". It could, if written to benefit only talented young people. But the failed legislative proposal (and Obama's DREAM decree) requires only that illegal aliens up to age 30 prove that they acquired their GED. While getting one's GED is a good thing, it is not necessarily an indication of talent, defined by Merriam-Webster as "a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude". Obama also repeated the lie that his DREAM decree benefits illegal aliens "brought here by their parents". There is no such requirement in his decree. A list of the myths spread by DREAM Act supporters is compiled in a recent CIS blog.
Finally, the argument that legal immigration has benefitted the United States in no logical way flows to the idea that "America's success demands" that we grant citizenship to millions of foreigners who are here in violation of federal law. It is a ridiculous claim not grounded in anything but politics and part of an effort to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration.