Naturalized Citizens Can't Be Trusted, Writes Naturalized Citizen

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Immigration reform is inching closer to reality, and conservatives standing in (thus far) fruitless opposition are careening ever further from it. That means that as the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" Senate bill worms its way towards passage, the anti-immigrant histrionics and nativism are going to spike and eventually crescendo. The June 3 Washington Times delivers one of those spikes in the form of an op-ed railing against dual-citizenship, naturalization, and immigrants in general.

"There is a common belief that if an immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, then he has become an American. It is a naive belief," writes Ian de Silva, whose degree of expertise in sociological matters can be gleaned from his author bio, reproduced here in full: "Ian de Silva is an engineer who has interests in politics and history." His first and best example of the unreliable character of the naturalized citizen is accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: "The Boston case exemplifies the sheer naivete of everything that liberals typically gush about immigrants -- they're peace-loving people who become loyal citizens." Usually nativist cranks take some care to disguise the reductive "one bad immigrant means all immigrants are bad" argument that undergirds their xenophobia. De Silva obviously couldn't be bothered.

But it's a curious argument for De Silva, of all people, to make given that later in the piece he reveals that he too is a naturalized American citizen:

I speak on this issue from personal experience. As a naturalized American, I relinquished my native citizenship when I became an American by adhering strictly to the oath of naturalization. It is not your naturalization certificate that makes you an American -- the certificate only makes you a U.S. citizen. Rather, what makes you an American is your unconditional belief this is your country.

Perhaps we should take De Silva at his word that he's a peace-loving and loyal citizen, but just a few paragraphs earlier he called such foolishness "sheer naiveté," and promised to teach us a lesson about the "liberal shibboleth about the loyalty of immigrants." What's an overly credulous liberal who doesn't assume murderous intentions of the foreign-born to do?

A quick poke around the internet turned up De Silva's archive of columns for Human Events. He tends to stay within a theme. In his September 13, 2012 column, headlined "Why Obama Is A Third World President," De Silva observed: "While some critics may hurl any accusation at Obama without any rhyme or reason, my assertion that he is a Third World thinker is based on my unapologetic patriotism for America and my own immigrant experience." Back in 2006, writing about "The Campaign To Third Worldize [sic] The U.S.," De Silva laid it all out:

Why would I, a Third World immigrant myself, who arrived more than 20 years ago as an impecunious and lone young man but made a life for myself in this great country, take this pejorative view of mass Third World immigration?  The simple answer: I do not want to see in America -- my adopted homeland -- the very conditions, cultural and political, that I escaped from in the first place.

De Silva's argument is literally that the U.S. can't risk letting more people like him into the country. It's absurdly xenophobic and not particularly well thought-out, but we're only going to see more and more of this dreck as the chance of comprehensive immigration reform gets better.

Posted In
Immigration, Immigration Reform
Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
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