Amnesty as a 'Civil Right'

Amnesty "is a matter of civil and human rights," Eric Holder claims. If that's the case, then amnesty opponents are a bunch of Bull Connors.

Holder stated in remarks in an April 24 speech to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund MALDEF) Awards Gala that "creating a mechanism for [illegal aliens] to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows... is a matter of civil and human rights."

Let's just tear down the fence and hand out EBT cards at the border, and bring the American experiment to an end.

We used to celebrate Rosa Parks, an American citizen, for defying segregation and demanding equal treatment as an American citizen. Now, Holder drapes non-citizens in the mantle of civil rights, even though they are driving down American wages -- especially those of low-skilled blacks.

Three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently wrote to the Congressional Black Caucus, warning that amnesty "will likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wages when they do obtain employment."

The commission cited economist Gordon Hanson, whose research showed that immigration "accounts for about 40 percent of the 18 percentage point decline in black employment rates" between the years 1960-2000.

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, blasted Holder, saying that his remarks represent "a bizarre understanding of -- if not an insult to -- the history of the civil rights movement in this country."

In his speech, the attorney general claimed, "[I]t is long past time to reform our immigration system in a way that is fair; that guarantees that all are playing by the same rules..."

That's an odd way to describe an immigration bill that would reward people who cheated the system, who refuse to play "by the same rules," and who evidently believe they are entitled to do so. In fact, the amnesty bill is premised on the notion that one set of immigrants should be given preferential treatment simply because they crossed our border illegally or remained on an expired visa illegally.

The Civil Rights movement was based on the principle that all citizens should have access to the rights and benefits of citizenship, regardless of skin color. Amnesty is based on the principle that certain favored classes should be rewarded with citizenship for violating immigration laws and disrespecting our sovereignty. So there are a few morally and legally relevant differences, but we shouldn't let those stand in the way of a frivolous analogy.

Now that civil rights have been evoked, we should deduce that opposition to amnesty must be sinister.

Just ask Sen. Marco Rubio, who wrote in his book American Son, "I begin to wonder if some of the people who speak so disparagingly about immigrants would be just as worked up if most of them were coming from Canada." Of course, the attorney general would hesitate to bestow "civil rights" titles upon the majority of Canadians, but you get the picture.

It can't possibly be that an expanded welfare state, decreasing test scores, lower wages, and a variety of social pathologies are genuine concerns related to immigration.

What brought us to this lowly state, where we are contemplating economic and cultural self-immolation? Inept compassion, nihilistic political pandering, Western self-doubt, and multicultural dogma -- perhaps these are part of the explanation.

Aside from disregarding the interests of American workers and turning the concept of justice on its head, Holder's recent remarks show a very disturbing set of priorities. For instance, Holder's Justice Department is ordering that a German home-schooling family be deported. This is after the family was granted political asylum here because home schooling is illegal in Germany. If that same family were from south of the border, dependent on the welfare state and depressing American wages, with some refusing to learn the English language, they would be civil rights heroes.

John T. Bennett (MA, University of Chicago, Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences '07; J.D., Emory University School of Law '12)is a former Army officer with tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Djibouti. His writing has appeared in, World Net Daily, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.

If you experience technical problems, please write to