Veterans for Secure Borders

The Legion's Opposition To Illegal Immigration

Article by Ron Engel, The American Legion Magazine, April 2004 (Reprinted in Atlantic News, Thursday, April 1, 2004)

The American Legion is unalterably opposed to illegal immigration and the apparent lack of enforcement of immigration laws by federal government agencies. Immigration is a critical issue to national security, as evidenced by the terrorists admitted into this country, who went on to commit the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

American Legion positions on immigration date back to the organization's roots. In 1919, Legionnaires opened their arms to a wave of immigrants from foreign lands. The organization worked with the government in providing meaningful naturalization ceremonies and instructed immigrants on the English language, assisting their adjustment to the American way of life.

At the same time, the Legion also envisioned a time when this country would have to withdraw the welcome mat, due to increasing numbers of new immigrants and the difficulty of assimilating into U.S. society. The Legion passed resolutions asking Congress for limited quotas, calling for strict enforcement of immigration and customs laws and the removal of illegal aliens.

An estimated 8 million to 11 million illegals live and work among us today, from coast to coast and border to border.

Generally, they perform work where labor shortages exist. So what's the problem?

They broke the law to get here.

The American Legion cannot condone the breaking of this country's immigration laws when the preamble to its own Constitution says members "promote law and order." Immigration laws were established to regulate the admission of non-citizens into this country. Violation of immigration laws is a violation of the Legion's rules of conduct.

Acceptance of these undocumented aliens is an invitation for others to illegally enter the country. Previous amnesty programs [immigration] have proved ineffective at curtailing the invasion and, according to some immigration-reform groups, only served to fuel a greater influx of illegals.

The American Legion's position is outlined in Resolution 307, passed by delegates to the 84th National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in 2002. It reads: "The American Legion opposes all legislation that would result in the granting of amnesty and legal residency, in any form or by any name, to millions of illegal immigrants currently in the United States." This includes illegals working in this country who would be pardoned under "guest worker" legislation proposed by President Bush in January.

The amnesty issue is only one of the Legion's immigration positions. Others include:

Support strict enforcement of employer sanctions as called for in current labor and immigration law.

Oppose efforts that would allow illegal aliens to receive instate tuition rates, federal or other government education grants and/or financial assistance to attend a college or university in the United States.

Restrict the eligibility of illegal aliens to receive publicly funded assistance.

Provide the U.S. Border Patrol with the necessary resources for effective security.

Require all legal aliens to carry technologically secure identification documents that are verifiable by any employer or benefit agency through a central database. The American Legion opposes the acceptance of the matricular consular card as a legal form of identification.

Ron Engel is deputy director of the American Legion's Americanism and Children & Youth Division. His article is reprinted here with the permission of the American Legion Magazine, copyright April 2004.

FOR MORE INFO ..... Contact Americanism and Children & Youth Division, The American Legion, P.O. Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206.

Reprinted with permission.

Visit the American Legion website.