Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) doesn’t quite tell Mexican President Felipe Calderon to “butt out,” but his somewhat more diplomatic message carries the same meaning. McClintock rebutted Calderon’s criticism of the Arizona immigration-enforcement law yesterday afternoon in this five-minute speech from the House floor. He quotes Teddy Roosevelt extensively on the need for both controlled immigration and assimilation, and the American tradition of welcoming those who want to become Americans to this nation. In order to make sure we have room for all those desiring to assimilate, we need to enforce our laws and strengthen our border security to ensure that we control that flow of people into the US:
Note that McClintock highlights Mexico’s own onerous immigration laws and border enforcement, which by any measure are far more draconian than anything seen in the US. Perhaps Calderon will invite McClintock to address Mexico’s parliament and discuss their treatment of border jumpers and immigration seekers. Until he does, though, Calderon would do better to mind his own business — and Democrats who cheered him should be pressed to explain their tolerance enthusiasm for hypocrites who come to our House to inaccurately and unfairly criticize the enforcement of our laws.
Update: McClintock’s site has the full transcription, but here are a couple of the best parts:
Unlike Mexico’s immigration law — which is brutally exclusionary — the purpose of America’s law is not to keep people out. It is to assure that as people come to the United States, they do so with the intention of becoming Americans and of raising their children as Americans.
Unlike Mexico, our nation embraces immigration and what makes that possible is assimilation.
A century ago President Teddy Roosevelt put it this way. He said:
“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
That is how we have built one great nation from the people of all the nations of the world. …
Arizona has not adopted a new immigration law. All it has done is to enforce existing law that President Obama refuses to enforce. It is hardly a radical policy to suggest that if an officer on a routine traffic stop encounters a driver with no driver’s license, no passport, and who doesn’t speak English, that maybe that individual might be here illegally.
And to those who say we must reform our immigration laws – I reply that we don’t need to reform them – we need to enforce them. Just as every other government does. Just as Mexico does.
Above all, this is a debate of, by and for the American people. If President Calderon wishes to participate in that debate, I invite him to obey our immigration laws, apply for citizenship, do what 600,000 LEGAL immigrants to our nation are doing right now, learn our history and our customs, and become an American. And then he will have every right to participate in that debate.
Until then, I would politely invite him to have the courtesy while a guest of this Congress to abide by the fundamental rules of diplomacy between civilized nations not to meddle in each other’s domestic debates.