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American Legion policy bulletin on illegal immigration

The nation’s largest veterans organization released this week a policy bulletin that takes a firm stand against illegal immigration and calls on its members to hold elected officials accountable for implementing and enforcing U.S. immigration law.

The 30-page bulletin is officially titled, “The American Legion Policy on Immigration: A Strategy to Address Illegal Immigration in the United States.”

“The American Legion members have served in the U.S. Armed Forces throughout the world so that Americans can be safe at home,” the organization’s website explains. “This gives them a unique perspective to the threat that open borders present to their homeland.”

“America is a nation built by immigrants and the American Legion recognizes and celebrates that,” said National Commander David K. Rehbein in a press release. “We do take strong issue, however, with illegal immigration. It’s a matter of national security. The 9/11 hijackers and three of the men who plotted to kill innocent Americans at Ft. Dix were perfect examples of terrorists exploiting our weak immigration laws and our lack of enforcement. This booklet is a good reminder that America has a serious problem that needs to be addressed.”

The booklet itself makes the Legion’s position clear in a statement that stands alone on the first page.

“The American Legion is opposed to any person or persons being in this country illegally, regardless of race, sex, creed, color or national origin,” the bulletin states. “We believe the current laws governing immigration should be enforced impartially and equally.”

Originally founded in 1919 on an idea proposed by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (the president of the same name’s eldest son), the Legion has now grown to a membership of more than 2.6 million wartime veterans organized in more than 14,000 posts nationwide.

The policy bulletin explains, “Legionnaires subscribe to a creed, ‘To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order and to foster and perpetuate a 100 percent Americanism.’ These words are recited in unison at Legion meetings and represent a continuing contract of service to benefit America and it is this commitment by Legionnaires that is the fuel for action on illegal immigration and other national security concerns facing this country.”

The Legion hopes the policy booklet will educate the American public on how “the security, economy and social fabric of the United States of America is seriously threatened by individuals who are illegally in this country.”

“Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime,” the booklet states. “The poor, minorities, children and individuals with little education are particularly vulnerable. It causes an enormous drain on public services, depresses wages of American workers, and contributes to population growth that, in turn, contributes to school overcrowding and housing shortages. Directly and indirectly, U.S. taxpayers are paying for illegal immigration.”

In financial terms, the booklet cites a report by the Center for Immigration Studies that claims the average illegal alien household in 2003 paid approximately $4,200 in federal taxes while, on average, created $7,000 in costs at the federal level.

In response to what it sees as a contributing factor to crime, terrorism, unemployment and depressed wages, the Legion proposes the following five-point strategy urging the federal government to enact the following steps:

1. Secure the borders and other points of entry in the United States, including construction of a physical barrier and sufficient Border Patrol presence.

2. Eliminate the jobs magnet and social services benefits that draw illegal immigrants to the U.S. by enforcing laws sanctioning employers who hire illegal aliens, implementing employment eligibility verification and eliminating government benefits for illegal aliens.

3. Eliminate amnesty laws that permit illegal aliens to break the law and remain in the U.S.

4. Reduce the U.S. illegal alien population by attrition through workplace enforcement, interagency and interstate cooperation, rejection of driver’s license plans, mandating English as national language and establishing parameters for noncriminal deportations.

5. Screen and track foreign visitors legally entering the United States. The plan further calls for reforms to current legal immigration policy, including alteration of the non-immigrant visa program that allows some nations’ citizens entrance to the U.S. without a visa application, elimination of the visa lottery that randomly approves visas from countries with low immigration rates and expanding visa allowances for seasonal and temporary workers.

John Raughter, a spokesperson for the Legion, told WND that many people think only of the economic issues surrounding illegal immigration, but for Legion members who have fought to protect America, the issue is a matter of continuing the fight for our country’s freedom.

“We want to raise public awareness that illegal immigration is a national security issue,” Raughter said. “The American Legion wants to remind people that included in the Fort Dix Six conspirators and 9-11 attackers were men in the country illegally.”

An electronic version of the 30-page booklet is available for download at the American Legion website. Hard copies may be requested by calling (317) 630-1212 or mailing The American Legion, National Americanism Commission, 700 N. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.


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