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We're a "nation of immigrants" and a "nation of laws"

Yet another massive/illegal immigration talking point, repeated almost like a mantra, is that we're a "nation of immigrants". That's sometimes followed by the actually correct claim that we're a "nation of laws". They fail to note that we're actually a country of citizens. Most Americans, of course, have immigrant ancestors but they are now citizens and not immigrants. See also immigration tradition fallacy and the discussion of "reconquista"-style comments from Barack Obama.

Last modified Jun 21, 2009
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Questions for Michelle Obama about immigration - 06/18/14

... used the trite talking point "nation of immigrants". Since someone can't be both a U.S. citizen and an immigrant to the U.S., isn't that phrase incorrect? Isn't citizenship one of the most fundamental American concepts, and isn't the accurate thing to say that we're a nation of citizens? 2. You said "[i]mmigrants start roughly one in four of our new businesses", and you appear to have gotten...

Rand Paul continues to mislead on immigration (amnesty,Bloomberg, Norquist) - 06/12/14

... Paul continues: Our nation is a nation of immigrants. Throughout history, our nation has been flooded with immigrants who have moved here with a flavor for the home country, yet they have assimilated into what we know today as America. That idea, and the American Dream, must be protected and preserved. Immigrants are drawn to the magnet of free market capitalism here in the United States. Our...

Aaron Schock's treacherous, out-of-touch immigration comments - 04/22/14

... never forget that we are all a nation of immigrants. At some point either we or our parents or grandparents came to America for opportunity: a chance to make a decent wage and the freedom to pursue happiness. It's been 30 years since Congress took any significant action to address our immigration laws. Some workers have been waiting 10 years for permanent status. That's long enough. With your...

Nancy Pelosi: just being here illegally "is not reason for deportation"; cheers George Bush on immigration - 12/16/13

... wrong. [...] PELOSI: ...We are a nation of immigrants. The constant reinvigoration (?) of America, of newcomers to our country, with their hopes, their determination, their optimism for a better future for their families. Well, these are– American attitudes. So every immigrant who comes makes America more American. And we have to respect that. President Bush did. President George W. Bush,...

Michael Barone's shallow, 2470-word logical fallacy ("A Nation Built for Immigrants", WSJ) - 09/22/13

... of the U.S. right: we aren't a nation of immigrants, we're a nation of citizens. Barone also says: America was peopled in very large part by surges of migration, immigrant and internal, which lasted only one or two generations and whose beginning and endings were mostly unpredicted. Some of these movements were prompted by economic incentives. But when large numbers of people uproot themselves,...

Catholic College Presidents promote bad, immoral immigration policy (ACCU letter to Congress) - 07/19/13

... "immigrant nation" part is wrong, see nation of immigrants. 10. The quote from Archbishop Jose Gomez is particularly sociopathic. The policies he supports would increase border deaths, not reduce them. See false compassion. Want to do something about this? The full list of signatories is at [1]. What I need you to do is to look up their Twitter handles and leave them in comments on this post....

Questions for Kelly Ayotte about comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty, New Hampshire) - 06/09/13

... Americans won't perform...") * nation of immigrants ("As a nation of immigrants...") * immigration line ("Before any of these 11 million could earn a green card, they would go to the back of the line...") * living in the shadows ("...we need to bring undocumented people out of the shadows to separate those seeking economic opportunity from those seeking to harm us (who must be deported).") *...

Obama undercuts the concept of citizenship ("My American Story", Immigration Nation, "nation of immigrants") - 05/09/13

... always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we've always been better off for it." First, the ancestors of Native Americans did come from somewhere else even if some of them think otherwise. The president of the U.S. is denying basic, irrefutable science. He'd probably openly deride someone who thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old, yet he's pretending that Native Americans were here...

Democratic Party 2012 platform on immigration: why it's wrong - 09/04/12

... following misleading talking points: nation of immigrants, system is broken, and living in the shadows. 7. Regarding "requires them to get right with the law", see another misleading talking point: amnesty require. 8. The claim that "[u]nlawful crossings are at a 40-year low" is misleading: border crossings are down not due to Obama's immigration policies, but due to the economic downturn. Note...

Paul Ryan is bad on immigration, find out how much (Mitt Romney VP pick) - 08/11/12

... Ryan uses the system is broken, nation of immigrants, and secure the border talking points; see the links. * Ryan says "[t]here are deeply held views on all sides of this issue, and rightly so." The immigration views of Gil Cedillo, Antonio Villaraigosa, American Civil Liberties Union, MALDEF, and so on aren't completely wrong; for instance, they and I might agree that we shouldn't install an...

Rob Portman on immigration and trade (possible Mitt Romney VP candidate) - 04/06/12

... stock boilerplate: "America is a nation of immigrants, and legal immigrants have enriched and continue to enrich the United States. But we are also a nation of laws, and those laws must be enforced." See that link. He then says that "amnesty" is the "wrong approach". For the likely way he's playing word games, see reform not amnesty. After a stock discussion that boils down to secure the border...

Obama misleads on immigration at Facebook; Zuckerberg and incompetent/corrupt GOP, Teaparty leaders help - 04/21/11

... matter is that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. Sometimes the laws haven’t been fair. Sometimes the laws have been restrictive to certain ethnic groups. There have been quotas. Sometimes our immigration policies have been arbitrary and have been determined by whether industry at a particular time was willing to bring in workers on the cheap. But what’s undeniable is...

Another Youtube/Obama scam: ask State of the Union questions - 01/26/11

... didn't call Obama on his use of nation of immigrants). Personal anecdotes about the DREAM Act are not at all difficult to find (see dozens on the PIIPP page), but a debate about the downsides is very difficult to find. There are two or more sides to every story, yet all Youtube could do is present one side without acknowledging the viewpoint of another side. 1/28/11 UPDATE: I fixed the bad year...

Obama thinks illegal aliens are Americans; forgets about massive unemployment; promotes massive immigration - 09/29/10

... used, as one might expect, the nation of immigrants canard. Of course, he also hastens to remind us - as they all do - that we're a nation of laws too. Then, he uses a variant of the safe legal orderly shibboleth ("we have to make sure our immigration system is orderly, and fair.") He then admits that allowing illegal immigration isn't fair to those in other countries waiting to come here...

Obama immigration speech, July 1, 2010 - 07/01/10

... always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants -- a nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America’s precepts. Indeed, it is this constant flow of immigrants that helped to make America what it is. The scientific breakthroughs of Albert Einstein, the inventions of Nikola Tesla, the great ventures of Andrew Carnegie’s U.S. Steel and Sergey Brin’s Google, Inc. -– all this was possible...

Obama asked stock question about immigration, gives stock, uneconomic reply (smears e-Verify; Orange County) - 03/18/09

... here's what I believe: We are a nation of immigrants, number one. Number two, we do have to have control of our borders (see secure the border). Number three, that people who have been here for a long time and put down roots here have to have some mechanism over time to get out of the shadows (see living in the shadows), because if they stay in the shadows, in the underground economy, then...

NCLR, LULAC, MALDEF, NALEO, SVREP send letter to John McCain about immigration - 09/02/08

John McCain is too corrupt to stand up to the far-left and those who support illegal immigration, prefering instead - like Bush - to court those who will never support him.

Barack Obama's Reconquista 101: "they didn't cross the border, the border crossed them", Indians aren't immigrants - 08/18/08

... of the event, said: "We are a nation of immigrants," Obama answers. "The only people can say that they aren't immigrants are the people sitting right here," the Presidential candidate says and points to the tribal leaders. "There are some families who have been here for 4 or 500 years. They didn't cross the border, the border crossed them." Certainly, he's somewhat factually correct:...

Barack Obama proud of attending immigration march (LULAC, Mexican government) - 07/08/08

Barack Obama's prepared remarks for his speech at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) convention include him taking pride in having marched in support of illegal immigration at the Chicago event on May 1, 2006. Unfortunately, no one has yet asked him why he'd be proud of marching at an event whose main organizers have links to the Mexican government.

Villaraigosa, Dellums, Nickels don't want ICE immigration raids of "responsible employers" - 06/20/08

... WHEREAS, the United States is a nation of immigrants, the overwhelming majority of whom are making an important and positive contribution to both our economy and our culture; and 2. WHEREAS, immigration reform is one of the most pressing issues facing The U.S. Conference of Mayors; and 3. WHEREAS, the federal government has not been able to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation; and...

Scott Aust/Rapid City Journal helps Obama hide behind kid to support illegal immigration - 06/01/08

Scott Aust of the Rapid City Journal offers "Mom proud of teen's moment with Obama" (link) about seventh-grader Steven Cady who asked Barack Obama about immigration in Rapid City, South Dakota yesterday. That article has the heartwarming backstory, with everyone thinking everything was just great.

Barack Obama immigration editorial misleads - 04/15/08

... done. We are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and we must reconcile those traditions. It's time to move beyond our broken politics and achieve real progress on immigration reform, not just for the sake of passing a bill, and not as a favor to immigrants, but so that we can finally address the concerns of the American people, and make real the hopes of all those who want nothing more...

Brian Williams/Tim Russert/MSNBC puffball Democratic debate (1/15/08 edition) - 01/16/08

Yet another Democratic debate was held yesterday on MSNBC, featuring Brian Williams and Tim Russert as moderators (transcript link). It was as ripped-from-the-Soviet-archives as we've come to expect from such debates, only this featured even more questions solely about process and horserace and even fewer about issues. It also featured three extremely lightweight questions about immigration, with...

Nick Miroff promotes 9500Liberty pro-illegal immigration documentary (Eric Byler) - 11/03/07

... also says that, because we're a nation of immigrants, we're "in no position to say that this is our country." Obviously, if we can't say who can come here, then we've not only got open borders we have no control over our country and in fact we no longer have a country. Bearing in mind that YT is pretty much at the AOL level when it comes to political debate, the comments left on the videos show...

Diane Sawyer/Good Morning America in Mexico on Columbus Day - 10/05/07

... expect it will basically be a "nation of immigrants" propaganda piece and she won't be featuring anything remotely approaching real reporting, such as Mexico's role in encouraging emigration in order to profit from the money that illegal aliens in the U.S.

Obama immigration interview: he'd make situation far worse (Kevin Johnson/UC Davis) - 09/25/07

... of law, and our history as a nation of immigrants. Note that everything after the first two sentences is basically a copy and paste from what "Obama" (or his staffer) "said" earlier in the "interview". More copying-and-pasting ensues in the response to the question about Hazleton, PA; that brackets this: [...supports "comprehensive reform"...] The anti-immigrant law passed by Mayor Barletta was...

Sleazy Robert Novak on "immigrant-bashing" and "anti-immigration" - 05/24/07

Robert Novak offers "Immigration trap for GOP candidates/Immigrant-bashing divides rather than unites Republicans": Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia were booed at their respective state party conventions Sunday for supporting a compromise immigration bill.

White House TWP illegal alien amnesty PowerPoint presentation - 03/29/07

... nation's values and our history as a nation of immigrants, the White House plan would make inequality – rather than opportunity – the centerpiece of our immigration system and deny basic rights to our hardest workers."

STRIVEing for amnesty: the Flake/Guitierrez "Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy" Act - 03/22/07

... American tradition of being a nation of immigrants and a land of opportunity for all... It provides an excellent framework for Congress and the president to begin work on the vital task of immigration reform... And, from this: Despite their optimism and good cheer, the group was not joined by the relevant subcommittee or committee chairs or ranking Republicans, nor any of the elected...

September 1 Chicago march - 02/26/07

... (meant to symbolize that we're a nation of immigrants) to Dennis Hastert's office in Batavia, Illinois. It took them four days, starting September 1, 2006 and finishing September 4, 2006. Only "around 3000" showed up for the final rally. AKA the "Immigrant Workers Justice Walk". report before: Immigrant march en route to Hastert's digs report after: Immigration activists spar at Phoenix rally...

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007: S9 - 01/17/07

Via this and this we learn that Harry Reid has introduced Senate Bill 9 (S.9, S9), the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007".

Schwarzenegger, Fabian Nunez, and Andres Martinez for President! - 01/15/07

Andres Martinez is the editor of the Los Angeles Times editorial board, and I believe he is the author of the unsigned editorial "Left out in '08: Arnold Schwarzenegger can't run for president because the founding fathers didn't want a foreign king." While there's no real burning need to allow naturalized citizens to serve as president, the LAT wants to tinker with the Constitution and make it...

Swift packing immigration raid conducted; send Bush a cookie! - 12/13/06

Yesterday ICE conducted the latest in a series of what are most likely show immigration raids, this time of Swift & Co.'s meatpacking plants in various cities. A roundup is here.

Immigrant march en route to Hastert's digs - 10/07/06

... (meant to symbolize that we're a nation of immigrants) to Hastert's office in Batavia. He won't be there. They expect 500 to partipate in the march, more to participate in events along the route, and 5,000 when they finish.

Democrats vs. assimilation - 10/06/06

Yesterday, Arnold Schwarzenegger issued yet another "controversial" statement, this one about Mexican immigrants assimilating. I had two initial thoughts: a) I'm not carrying Arnold's water anymore, and b) few could quibble with his pro-American comments that are similar to ones stated by leading academics.

Democrats offer "A New Direction for Latino Families" - 09/30/06

The Democrats have various plans for different races: "A New Direction for __African-American____ Families", "A New Direction for ____Asian-Pacific Islander-American__ Families", "A New Direction for ___European-American__ Families", er, scratch the last one. Their latest race-based plan is called "Compromiso Democrata con el Pueblo Latino: A New Direction for Latino Families".

Propaganda Watch: It's bad all over, don't be a racist, accept your fate - 09/26/06

A rather obscure form of pro-illegal immigration propaganda involves the claim that it's bad all over and encourages those complaining about the effects of massive legal and/or illegal immigration to stop being racist scapegoaters of immigrants and just accept their fate. In keeping with that obscurity, here it is from two obscure sources. England's "Cambs Times" offers a "satir

NYT's Rachel Swarns spews Dem talking points at BYU - 09/23/06

On Thursday, Rachel Swarns of the New York Times spoke about immigration in a lecture at Brigham Young University.

Pat Buchanan: 'State of Emergency' (a reply to his critics) - 08/20/06

Dear ____________: What an interesting discussion of

Hazleton sued by far-left illegal immigration supporters - 07/14/06

Hazelton PA has passed a local ordinance that tries to prevent illegal immigration flourishing in their city.