Well, actually, it is a matter of birth, at least, in the sense of natural-born citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment makes that all too clear, which is why the issue of “anchor babies” has been part of the immigration debate for the last several years. Those opposed to that reading of the Constitution might like what Barack Obama had to say about it in his widely-anticipated speech on immigration today (click the picture to watch):
“Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith,” President Obama declared at a speech he gave on immigration.
Obama also blamed “resentment” to new immigrants to poor economic conditions.
“Now, we can’t forget that this process of immigration and eventual inclusion has often been painful. Each new wave of immigrants has generated fear and resentment towards newcomers, particularly in times of economic upheaval,” Obama said.
We know what Obama meant in this passage — a similarity to those who have expressed the notion that they were Americans before ever setting foot in the US, thanks to their love of liberty. However, the people expressing that concept came to the US through legal immigration, and didn’t presume to break our laws in order to express their desire to live in freedom. They understood that the aspirational concept of being American and the legal status of American citizenship (or even residency) are two completely different things.
Besides, if being an American is a matter of faith, then the religion in question is devotion to the rule of law. We have created the laws by which we live through representative democracy within a framework set by our Constitution. Breaking the law to get into the country isn’t an expression of faith; using Obama’s construct, it’s actually heresy.
Obama and his open-borders allies attempt to blur the difference between illegal and legal immigration. Almost no one of consequence opposes the latter. Everyone of the “faith” of Americanism should insist on enforcing the laws against the former. Unfortunately, this President — and many of those who have come before him — have proven rather faithless in this task.