I’ve made many a comment about being proud to be the son of an immigrant.
My heritage is important, you see, but not as important as the rights and citizenship I enjoy as an American.
For instance, I’m not forcing my office, or city, or town, etc., to pay homage to the Hungarian Revolution, which is observed on Oct. 23, nor would I. It’s an important date, but it’s not an important American date.
The observance of that event, as illustrious as it was, was not a guarantee to me — or my immigrant mother and great-grandmother —when they became citizens of this country.
As a matter of fact, their citizenship wasn’t a guarantee either.
The current issue raised in the immigration debate is centered over birthright citizenship, and President Donald Trump has mentioned he wants to end it.
The idea, according to reports, of birthright citizenship dates back to the 17th century, and bestows citizenship of a country to anyone being born on its soil.
The concept of asylum has come up again as well, mainly because of the huge army of people marching toward the southern border.
Simply asking for asylum doesn’t necessarily mean automatic access to the country either, even though that seems to be the accepted definition.
While it would be easy for a debate to get lost in the minutiae of law and its interpretation, or whether or not the people in the caravan are really escaping fear and danger, the larger debate, to me, centers around answering what’s best for the country, as well as what’s best for the immigrants.
They probably need help of some kind, but is it up to the United States to bear that burden? Alone?
America certainly is blessed with abundance, and the freedoms we enjoy are to be envied. But the thing about national sovereignty is that we also get to decide what happens at our borders — including who comes in and how many.
My family understood that, and were blessed in that they made it through.
However, just because someone — or a whole lot of someones — makes a decision that they’re coming to America, are we honor-bound in some way to let them in, to take care of them, and provide them with the life they want?
Or, if a child was born in the country to someone as part of a group of asylum seekers, should that automatically grant citizenship?
As a country, there’s rules to follow, and balances to maintain. As a people, though, there’s following our hearts and caring for our fellow man.
We can provide for their needs, and do what we can for them, and if that includes citizenship, then as long as it follows the rules, so be it. But that’s our decision.
The outcome of the reverse, if we just throw open the borders, will be chaos.
Tony Farkas is publisher of the Madisonville Meteor.