Response to President Calderon

House Chamber, Washington, D.C.  May 20, 2010.  M. Speaker:

 I rise to take strong exception to the speech of the President of Mexico while in this chamber today. 

 The Mexican government has made it very clear for many years that it holds American sovereignty in contempt and President Calderon’s behavior as a guest of the Congress confirms and underscores this attitude.

 It is highly inappropriate for the President of Mexico to lecture Americans on American immigration policy, just as it would be for Americans to lecture Mexico on its laws.  

 It is obvious that President Calderon does not understand the nature of America or the purpose of our immigration law. 

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.

The largest group of immigrants now comes from Mexico.  A recent RAND study discovered that during most of the 20th Century, while our immigration laws were actually enforced, assimilation worked and made possible the swift attainment of the American dream for millions of immigrants seeking to escape conditions in Mexico.

That is the broader meaning of our nation’s motto, “E Pluribus Unum” – from many people, one people, the American people.

 But there is now an element in our political structure that seeks to undermine that concept of “E Pluribus Unum.”  It seeks to hyphenate Americans, to develop linguistic divisions, to assign rights and preferences based on race and ethnicity, and to elevate devotion to foreign ideologies and traditions, while at the same time denigrating American culture, American values and American founding principles. 

In order to do so, they know that they have to stop the process of assimilation.  In order to do that, they must undermine our immigration laws. 

 It is an outrage that a foreign head of state would appear in this chamber and actively seek to do so.  And it is a disgrace that he would be cheered on from the left wing of the White House and by many Democrats in this Congress.

 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.
 

Tele-townhall banner 

Latest News

Statement in Response to the Proposal of the National Park Service to Increase Entrance Fees, Including those Charged to Visitors at Yosemite National Park:

Last year, Yosemite Park management sought to drastically reduce the park's amenities that attract visitors and generate revenues. This year, it seeks to increase admission fees on those same visitors by 50 percent.

Angels Camp Third Annual Gold Rush Day

The history of Angels Camp is the history of California and the history of westward expansion.

Remarks in Opposition to Authorizing the Arming and Training of FSA (Free Syrian Army)

All of us recognize the threat posed to our nation by the Islamic State. The question before us is whether to arm and train supposedly vetted elements of the Free Syrian Army as a proxy ground force.

View more »

Search

Connect with Tom

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • News Feed

Upcoming Events

Staff Satellite Office Hours

Office staff members are available to assist constituents with problems or concerns at satellite office locations held throughout the district.  Anyone wishing to discuss an issue of federal concern is invited to attend one of these satellite office sessions and speak with a member of staff.  For more information, or to reach staff, please call the district office at 916-786-5560.
  
Upcoming Staff Satellite Office Hours for November:
 
Amador County
 
Jackson 
Tuesday, November 25th
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Conference Room D
County Administration Center
810 Court Street
 
Calaveras County
 
San Andreas 
Tuesday, November 25th
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Calaveras County Water Agency Conference Room
120 Toma Court
 
El Dorado County
 
Camino 
Thursday, November 13th
9:00 am - 11:00am
Camino Pollock Pines Chamber of Commerce
4123 Carson Road
 
El Dorado Hills 
Thursday, November 13th
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce
2085 Vine Street, #105
 
Fresno County
 
Auberry 
Thursday, November 13th
11:00am - 1:00pm
The Auberry Library
33049 Auberry Rd
 
Madera County

Oakhurst 
Wednesday, November 5th
10:00am - 12:00pm
Yosemite Visitor Bureau Conference Room
40637 Highway 41
 
Coarsegold 
Wednesday, November 5th
3:00pm - 5: 00pm
Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse
30250 Yosemite Springs Parkway
 
Mariposa County
 
Mariposa 
Wednesday, November 
19th
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Library Conference Room
4978 10th Street
 
Placer County
 
Auburn 
Wednesday, November 12th
9:00am - 11:00am
Auburn City Hall
Room #10
1225 Lincoln Way
 
Lincoln 
Wednesday, November 12th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall
600 6th Street
 
Rocklin 
Tuesday, November 25th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Rocklin City Hall
3980 Rocklin Rd
 
Tuolumne County
 
Sonora 
Tuesday, November 25th
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Small Business Center Conference Room
99 N Washington St
 
For further information on staff satellite office hours, please call 916-786-5560.