Friday, November 30, 2007

More Immigration Wisdom from Theodore Roosevelt

WTF, por favor, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

I had been poking around on Sitemeter, which keeps track of the number of visits to my blog page, and I discovered something a little unexpected. The most often visited blog entry was one I posted just over a year ago (one year and one day, to be exact), quoting Teddy Roosevelt regarding his views on American immigration.

I (finally) decided to look this up on to confirm that this really was one of his quotes, and was delighted to discover that it is indeed true. While poking around on, I also came across a whole batch of quotes from Mr. Roosevelt on the subject of immigration, and while I will spare you an outright cut-and-paste of the whole thing (which is a really great read, by the way), I will most happily share a couple of the highlights.

This is from a letter written in 1919:

In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else ... But this predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American.

and from a 1918 speech:

This is a nation - not a polyglot boarding house. There is not room in the country for any 50-50 American, nor can there be but one loyalty - to the Stars and Stripes.

He puts it so well. To those who desire to come to this country to make a better life for yourself and your family I would say: if you want to work hard, learn the language, and abide by the rules that are in place - indeed to become an American and not just live in America, then you should - and shall - be welcomed with open arms. If you want to just come here and sponge off the system at the expense of hardworking, tax-paying citizens; if you do not desire to adopt the language and abide by the laws of this country; if you desire to be here physically, but leave your loyalties elsewhere, then don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

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