By Joe Guzzardi
May 20, 2014
For a five-week period that began on May 15, Arlington Cemetery will hold a series of lectures and tours as part of its 150th Anniversary celebration. The national cemetery, the final resting place for more than 400,000 veterans and their families, opened its commemoration with a wreath-laying tribute at Army Pvt. William Christman’s gravesite, Arlington’s first military burial. On March 24, 1864, at age 20, Christman enlisted in the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry; he was buried 50 days later.
Since the Civil War, more than 1.2 million American military personnel have died protecting the nation’s safety and defending its honor. For nearly all of them, the White House and Congress’ agenda to promote illegal immigrant entitlements would be incomprehensible. The soldiers assuredly didn’t sacrifice their lives for the Dream Act, ENLIST, driver’s licenses and instate tuition for demanding aliens. If the dead were to miraculously return to life and read today’s headlines, they could be forgiven if they concluded that not deporting illegal immigrants is the nation’s top priority.
When it comes to giving the military the respect it’s earned, the White House has a disappointing if not shameful record. In October 2013, the government denied World War II veterans access to the National Mall’s open-air memorial. Many veterans had traveled long distances to pay their respects to their brothers-in-arms who died fighting against Imperial Japan and the Nazis. Although the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service cited the government shutdown as its reason for barring the vets, a few days later thousands of aliens and their advocates were allowed to angrily march for amnesty, clearly proving that the administration’s priorities lay with illegal immigrants, not American heroes.
The Obama administration delivered another slap in the face to veterans when in 2012 it issued work permits to illegal immigrant “childhood” arrivals, age 31 or younger. So far, more than 500,000 young aliens have received their federal Employment Authorization Documents even though during the last two years returned veterans have had unemployment rates as high as 11 percent. Because vets’ ages are comparable to the newly employment-authorized illegal immigrants, the two groups often compete head-to-head for scarce jobs.
Even retired military have become rabid illegal immigrant advocates. U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), a former Air Force officer who served in Iraq and Somalia, has spent his last several months in Congress pushing his ENLIST Act, a vehicle that would enable aliens to serve. As Denham disingenuously puts it, ENLIST would permit illegal immigrants to “serve in the nation they hope to become citizens of.” Denham’s House colleague and U.S Army veteran Mike Coffman (R-CO) offered a similar bill, the Military Enlistment Act. Both bills mock immigration law, and the enlistment oath in which the enlistee swears to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Illegal immigrants’ mere presence in the U.S. is a defiant, lawbreaking act that should not be rewarded with a green card and the privilege of military service.
This weekend, Americans will hear flowery speeches from President Obama, Congress and other high ranking government officials, all lauding U.S. history’s brave, fallen military. But when Congress gets back to work in Washington, legislators will resume their non-stop efforts to pass an amnesty that would, by the millions it will bring to U.S., destroy the historic American nation.
On Memorial Day, Americans should heed the warning George Washington delivered in his 1796 farewell address: “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]