Are We a 'Nation of Immigrants'
...as Claimed by the Pro-illegal Alien Crowd?
By Daneen G. Peterson, Ph.D.
How often have we heard the mantra "after all we are a nation of immigrants, aren't we?" The answer to that is a loud and inconvertible, NO! Most Americans today are native born and therefore not immigrants! What is left unsaid in that phrase, is the significant fact that our American ancestors founded this country as legal immigrants, which is the antithesis of the current invasion of illegal immigrants, supported by the open borders, pro-illegal alien crowd! The mantra "a nation of immigrants" is an inaccurate 'branding' of our current American culture and society. It is an incantation that contains substantial disinformation, some subtle, some blatant, which never seems to receive any scrutiny or debate. Therefore, let the discussion begin!
It is true that our forefathers and some founders were immigrants, which makes the statement of "we are a nation of immigrants" seem to apply, if only in a historical context. This historical fact provides the mantra with a 'ring-of-truth.' This explains why, when the pro-illegal alien crowd throws down the "we are a nation of immigrants" gauntlet, we accede to its premise! More accurately however, there is no doubt that today we are a nation consisting largely of native Americans NOT immigrants. However, because the "nation of immigrants" sound-bite implies an underlying assumption of a 'historical accuracy' it makes it difficult to attack the mantra as inaccurate, because 'on its face' it appears to be a 'truism!'
The problem is, that once we accept the mantra we are "a nation of immigrants" as a 'truism' we no longer examine or think about what those words actually say or mean. We don't even understand what impact such assertions have upon reality! Nor, as typical Americans, will we have the time to consider what a profound effect there is in accepting such an unchallenged sound-bite! What are the effects on our American culture, society and self-perceptions if we accept this mantra as spoken and implied?
Unfortunately, in this 'war of words' . . . those who control the semantics, in this case the pro-illegal alien crowd, guarantees that the choice of words and phrases used, will essentially control the debate. That is why the pro-crowd will NEVER use the word "illegal" in conjunction with "immigrants," so that when they refer to our country as a "nation of immigrants," they are able to obfuscate and blur what should be a perfectly clear view of very contrary facts!
In a very subtle but complex way, the 'pro' crowd is getting most Americans to submissively place themselves on par with those "immigrants" who are invading our "nation of immigrants!" By controlling the dialogue the pro-crowd has taken the issue out of our control, and placed it in the hands of those countries who are exporting their citizens. It is a form of psychological warfare, using propaganda as a support for illegal aliens, primarily from Hispanic and Latino countries, who are demographically overwhelming our country. It is propaganda meant to disarm Americans so that we will not resist the "human tsunami" of some 18-20 million illegal aliens that have already invaded and balkanized America, and continue to arrive at a rate of 10,000 per day. (1)(2)(3)(4) Unfortunately the pacification seems to be working, since most Americans, along with the media, have readily accepted the notion that 'we are a nation of immigrants' as being true and factual!
Insidiously, the 'pro' crowd has already begun to move away from the term 'immigration' by calling it 'migration,' or 'migrant' instead of 'immigrant' in order to imply that there is some irresistible force of nature that impels them to illegally invade America. This is said in contravention of 'fact and truth,' because we all know that the 'migration' exists because of America's disgraceful governmental policy of 'open borders' and non-enforcement of immigration law. All of which are done in order to appease the desires of avaricious and dishonest employers and to pander to the Hispanic voter. The pro-illegal alien crowd hopes that we will make another leap of faith by concluding and accepting the new propaganda of 'migrant' and 'migration,' rendering "We the People" impotent once again!
They believe we will continue to 'roll over' and accept any new terminology they stridently provide, because we have never challenged their 'nation of immigrants' mantra! The pro-illegal alien crowd believes it has found us willing dupes, in believing that their 'nation of immigrants' mantra is somehow equivalent to the [illegal] 'immigrants' they support! Of course we do not! But if we continue to be politely 'politically correct' and timid by not challenging such devious propaganda, we allow THEM to control the language AND the debate!
Joel Alvarado, policy analyst in Atlanta for MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) feels that "[w]ords can humanize or objectify those in the immigration debate, [they can] raise conflict or sow cooperation, alarm or pacify . . . If you call people illegal aliens, criminals, people who are violators of the law, it might sound reasonable or justifiable to create policies to make local police enforce immigration law or policies to deny [illegal immigrants] the right to drive and take their family to church. It [then] might seem all right to treat them in a way that is confrontational."(1) Ergo, MALDEF and the rest of the pro-illegal alien crowd want to keep us pacified and cooperative by cleverly placing "the nation of immigrants" on a par, with the [illegal] "immigrants they support!
Jorge Ramos, an anchor for the Spanish language Univision network, and author of several books on the Latin American Diaspora, has "praised the words of President Bush has used to describe illegal immigrants [as "undocumented"]. "He decided not to call them illegal aliens but to call them good-hearted people. He was trying to convey to the right wing of the Republican Party, to emphasize that they're here to work.” (5)
Doris Meissner, a former US Immigration Commissioner, now an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington says "words mobilize support for, or opposition to, policies. In short, “those who control the language control the issue" (underlined for emphasis). (5)
In sum, the mantra "we are a nation of immigrants" is simply putting "lipstick on the pig" as Tom Tancredo has famously iterated. It is just another way to cover up, disguise, and gloss over the true story of the massive illegal immigration that is crushing our country. Sadly, it is being done with the duplicitous help of the media, politicians, and others, including our president, who have deliberately and maliciously obscured the real facts and truth about the millions upon millions of illegal aliens overwhelming America!
As a nation of native Americans of legal immigrant ancestry, we can find similar parallels between the current situation and the American Indians who were here when we displaced them, with our overwhelming numbers. Mexico in particular, and other countries of the same race and language, are seeking to displace our sovereign nation's native, English speaking citizens, with Spanish speaking Hispanics and Latinos, just as we did the American Indians. They are NOT here to acculturate and assimilate as evidenced by the balkanization we see all across America!
Dr. David A. Yeagley, an American Indian and direct descendant of the Comanche warrior Bad Eagle says it best:
America today is making the same mistake we Indians made nearly four centuries ago. America is letting in too many foreigners. And we Indians could end up losing this country all over again. It may come as surprise to many white people who have been brainwashed by the media to see Indians as the ultimate liberals, but there are few groups in America today who take a dimmer view of mass immigration than the American Indian.
The Comanches were one of the most intolerant of all Indian peoples. We had no use for anyone else, white, Mexican or Indian. When we came thundering down on the southwest plains, we took the land we wanted and ran everyone else off. We created the life we wanted, at the expense of other people. The white man did the same. Only he did it on a grander scale.
In many ways, Indians see the white man as a kind of adopted son - naive, reckless and destructive, at times -- but nevertheless cut from the same warrior cloth as we were. We do not see black, Mexicans, Asians, Arabs and others in this light. These peoples may have their own virtues and traditions, but they have no history with us. They are strangers. If they want to rule us, they must conquer us the way the white man did - on the battlefield, by force of arms. That is the only honorable way for a warrior.
The white man seems to have lost his spirit. We see that he is giving this country away to [illegal alien] others, and this fills our hearts with fear. For we are part of the land he is giving away . . . The white man must regain his warrior soul and take back his land! In that fight, I will stand by his side and offer whatever strength I have to ensure his victory!" (6)
For us native-born Americans, to accept the premise that we are a "nation of immigrants," is to invite a future of constant conquest by successive waves of needy and covetous émigrés, from nations around the world. By not challenging the mantra "we are a nation immigrants" it implies our acceptance to being rendered a historical footnote in our own country!
As a nation, it seems we've already left behind our proud history, becoming more and more impotent, day by day. We seem to be sitting quietly on the sidelines, while our American culture and language are being ripped from our control! Why have we allowed the governments of foreign nations to execute a de facto war by encouraging millions of their citizens to illegally enter America? It is an 'act of war' that has reduced our country to nothing but a lawless territory, with little or no sovereignty left! It is absurd for America to continue to live under wave after wave of invading 'armies' of illegal aliens who will, by their sheer numbers, take over our society, culture and language! Perhaps it is time for "We the People" to rise up and take back our country!
Note: All bracketed [ ] notations, within the quotes, are added for emphasis or clarification.
Note: For an excellent source on The National Council of La Raza (The Race), LULAC, MALDEF, MEChA, and the ACLU, et al go to: http://www.discoverthenetwork.com/viewGroups.asp?catId=6
~ References ~
1. Robert Justich and Betty Ng, CFA, The Underground Labor Force Is Rising To The Surface, steinreport.com, January 23, 2005,
2. Jim McTague, Going Underground: The shadow economy is about to top $1 trillion - at a great cost to many, Barrons'sOnline.com, January 3, 2005,
3. Jeffrey S. Passel, Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population, The Pew Hispanic Center, March 21, 2005,
4. Fred Ebel, Illegal immigration invasion numbers, November 17, 2004, Desert Invasion - U.S.,
5. Teresa Borden, War of Words: Are they 'undocumented workers' or 'illegal aliens'? The answer plays a huge part in the increasingly intense debate over immigration, March 23, 2005, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
6. David A. Yeagley, An American Indian View of Immigration, October 15, 2002, vdare.com,
My sincere thanks to Ron Brown who brought the above issue to the fore, positing his position which stirred a debate between us. He then encouraged me to use his concepts, thoughts and phrases, even in 'bits and pieces' combined with my own to make the point at issue, which I did! Thank you Ron Brown!
~ About the Author ~
Dr. Peterson was a professor at both Temple and Jefferson Universities in Philadelphia, PA where she taught behavioral science research methodology and statistics. After leaving academia, Dr. Peterson created and directed the first Department of Research and Program Evaluation for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America's National Office in Philadelphia. She currently researches and writes on the issue of illegal immigration and its effects upon American culture, language and community. Dr. Peterson may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Peterson Archive on The Federal Observer