A Country of Illegals

My grandmother, Lillie Mae Wilkett Pruitt, a mixed-blood Cherokee

You may want to argue with me on this, but I think more than 99 percent of Americans are here illegally. This is based on the 2010 census, which found less than one percent of Americans are full-blood Native Americans. Technically, I believe they are the only ones who have the undisputed right to be here.

I had to laugh recently when Mitt Romney suggested all illegal citizens should self-deport. By my definition, Mr. Romney, along with hundreds of millions of Americans, would have to go.

I can already hear the objections. You think you’re not an illegal because you were born in the U.S. or because your ancestors came here legally. But that’s because there’s a huge dirty secret in U.S. immigration law.

Immigration law assumes that if your control a country, you have the right to control who enters, and who gets to stay permanently. But if you apply this concept historically, it’s the Native Americans, who were here first, who should have had the right to control immigration. So, to be here legally, you would have to have the permission of these people who were in control of the country until just a few hundred years ago.

To my knowledge, nobody has an entry visa from a Native American tribe. Not the Pilgrims, not the founding fathers, nor none of the flood of immigrants who have come to our shores. If they came here without the permission of the people who owned the country, they came here illegally.

Might doesn’t make right. Just because Europeans had superior weapons, that didn’t give them the right to trample on the rights of the Native Americans to control who got to be here.

But that’s what happened, of course. In fact, I believe the genocide of Native Americans was the most shameful act in American history. In Dee Brown’s classic book, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, there is a long list of tribes which have not one surviving member.

But I digress. That’s another blog entirely.

Most Americans were born here. They’re 100 percent certain there’s nothing morally or ethically wrong with their being here. I disagree, even though I’m in that group.

Look at it this way. Suppose you want something somebody else owns but they won’t let you have it. So you start thinking about just taking it by force, stealing it. If you went to a cop and asked if that would be all right, he’d surely say no, that’s not right. But if you asked a thief the same question, he’d probably be good with it.

And that’s what happened. Many Americans, including myself, are descended from people who stole the country from Native Americans. In my eyes, the thieves didn’t have, and still don’t have, the moral standing to decide who gets to live here. Only Native Americans should have possessed that privilege.

The well was poisoned right from the start, but I’d bet nearly all Americans have drank the Kool-Aid made from the poisoned water and think it tastes just fine. It doesn’t. It stinks of an old hypocrisy that now seems to be completely acceptable.

Then you have the mixed-bloods. Like about 5 million Americans, I’m one of them, part Cherokee. Talk about cognitive dissonance. One group of my ancestors slaughtered and exiled another group of my ancestors.

But if any group except for full-blood Native Americans have the right to be here, the mixed-bloods have the best claim. At least some of their ancestors have been here for thousands of years. No person who doesn’t have Native American blood can make that claim.

Ten percent of White Americans and 5 percent of Black Americans have some quantum of Native American blood. Even if you include them as legit, about 88 percent of the population has none.

What’s the upshot of all this? I know nothing will really change. I don’t expect anybody to go back to where their ancestors came from over the angst and guilt of this. But it would be nice to acknowledge that the right of most Americans to be here is shaky at best.

And the next time you want to get on your high horse about the estimated 10 million people in the U.S. who have been declared to be here illegally, you might want to think about this.

Maybe you shouldn’t be here either.

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One response to “A Country of Illegals

  1. I LOVE this. It is such a huge problem. On the one hand, it takes a lot of money and time to get naturalized while many from other countries are going through the proper process. On the other hand, so many are not paying taxes and don’t have social security numbers, but they use hospitals and the school system without contributing.

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