The current surge of people entering this country illegally has gotten so far out of control in the last few weeks that it can no longer be ignored.
As we decide how we want to address this situation, we cannot be short-sighted and focus only on how to solve the problems we are facing today. Instead, we need to get back to basics and allow our fundamental principles to guide us. That is the only way we’ll be able to find solutions that will serve this country well into the future.
Demonstrator Alex Ferguson holds a sign reading 'No Vacancy, Try The White House' during a protest near the entrance to the US Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, California on July 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck
I know I say it a lot, but it’s true and it bears repeating: All men are created equal. We have to remember that American citizens are not naturally superior and we do not live on magical land that naturally produces freedom. The comfortable lives that we live in the United States are the exception in this world, not the rule. If we run this country the way impoverished countries around the world run theirs, we will get the results those other countries have always gotten.
The reason why the United States has been so successful is that we figured out what characteristics of government are necessary to protect freedom and we implemented them. At some point you’ve probably heard our success referred to as “American Exceptionalism.” Well, the source of that American Exceptionalism is our dedication to individual liberty and our commitment to defending the characteristics of government that protect it. As soon as we give those up, we cease to be exceptional.
As I mentioned in my radio segment this weekend (which you can hear every Saturday on TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show), the Founders told us very emphatically that there are a handful of principles that are a requirement for a free society:
Our government must maintain the separation of powers and the rule of law; otherwise the peaceful way of life that we are used to will be a thing of the past. Yet during this one crisis on the border, we are watching President Barack Obama destroy both of those principles.
Obama has made it very clear that he is more than willing to violate the separation of powers and deal with this situation without Congress; but there is a reason that Congress was given the power to create our policies while the president is given the power to execute those policies.
That’s because, as Thomas Jefferson explained, when you concentrate too much power in one area of government it always leads to bad consequences for citizens like you and me:
“What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating of all cares and power into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or the aristocracies of the Venetian senate.”
Separation of powers isn’t the only principle that is under attack in the current crisis. President Obama is taking down the rule of law as well.
Even if you approve of what they are doing, these immigrants are breaking the law when they enter this country without going through the proper process. Despite that reality, not nearly enough effort is being made to stop them from breaking our laws. Even less is being done to send them back home when we do catch them.
Regardless of how you feel about illegal immigration, there are only two options we have for addressing this situation: We can enforce the laws as they are now or we can change the laws. The one approach we cannot survive as a nation is to simply ignore the laws. Once our laws can simply be ignored because the president doesn’t like them, all of our laws are meaningless. In that case, we will no longer live under the rule of law; we will live under the arbitrary rule of one man - the president.
President Barack Obama speaks about the economy, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, at Cheesman Park in Denver. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Immigrants have made the United States a better place in so many ways over the years. The fact is that they came here because this country is different. They came because there is greater opportunity here for regular citizens than in other countries. For any of the current group of illegal immigrants who do end up staying here, we have to do everything we possibly can to make sure that they know exactly what it is that makes us different and creates those opportunities they came here looking for. If we start to run our country like their home countries, it won’t be long until the United States has the exact same problems they came here to get away from.
We have to get out of this mindset that what happens around the world can’t happen here. There is nothing inherently special about the people of the United States or this part of the world; it’s the principles we are committed to that makes us exceptional. If we ever give up those principles, we’re going to find out just how true it is that all men are created equal.
The bright side to all of this is that we can regain our freedom and our prosperity in this country if we choose to. The Founders taught us exactly what characteristics of government we need to be maintained to make it happen.
Chad Kent is an author and speaker with a unique style that makes the Constitution simple and fun. Listen to Chad every Saturday during The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze Radio and visit his web site at www.ChadKentSpeaks.com.
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