Community Engagement Committee - Fairfax County, VA
Immigration and What it means to be an American

Immigration reform is an enormously complex technical, legal, and economic issue. It is truly difficult to understate the magnitude of effort required to both craft and enact a fair and viable long-term solution to illegal immigration. While it goes without saying, it must be noted that this has never been accomplished in our modern history. Though it has been tried.

So why should we, as Americans, care? Why expend the enormous capital required to solve what is so polarizing, so expensive, and what may be unsolvable?

The answer goes right to the heart of what it means to be an American, and why we believe in what being an American means.

Unlike the notion of citizenship known to virtually every other part of the world, being American is an idea. And that idea is built around simple, fundamental notions. That we believe that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that those rights are to be served and protected by a government formed under our consent. That, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, we are responsible for “a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

This very notion is challenged by the vexing question of what to do with illegal immigrants in our midst. The latest data provided by Pew states that there arenearly 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. No one really can say for certain who these people are, which makes it difficult to ascertain how well they fit our definition of what it means to be American. How “American” are they? We can’t really know for certain, but, in popular discourse at least, there are two common stereotypes.

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Posted on November 21st, 2013

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