Respecting immigrant rights is patriotic

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is respect for immigrants’ rights patriotic?  Yes, indeed, and now this has been recognized by no less an authority than the Washington Supreme Court.  In its recent unanimous ruling in the case In re Discipline of McGrath, the Court included this powerful statement:

Except indigenous peoples, all of us who are privileged to enjoy this great nation do so either because we or our ancestors immigrated here or were brought here in bondage.  When our ancestors arrived, many could not speak English and toiled for little or no pay.  Diversity of origin was certainly the national circumstance when our founders made a declaration that "all men are created equal" and endowed "with certain unalienable Rights." (The Declaration of Independence para. 2)  Perhaps McGrath meant to appeal to the judge's sense of nationalism, but certainly not his sense of patriotism. 

In the McGrath case, the Court upheld a significant period of suspension from the practice of law for a lawyer, in part because he included derogatory anti-immigrant remarks in a letter to the judge.  In condemning his action in no uncertain terms, the Court reminded us all of an important history lesson:  This country was founded on respect for immigrants, and it owes much to the labor and courage of immigrants.  We should keep this in mind when considering the immigration issues facing our country today.

As an organization devoted to safeguarding the heritage of the Bill of Rights, the ACLU considers it our patriotic duty to defend the rights of people who have immigrated to our country.  We are working to overturn Arizona’s draconian law targeting immigrants that the US Supreme Court recently in large part struck down.  In a suit that’s moving forward this week, the ACLU is challenging the law’s “show me your papers” provision that was allowed to continue, and we continue to speak out against efforts to enact copycat measures in other states.  

We’re supporting young DREAMERs who were brought to the US by others but face the constant risk of deportation.   And here in Washington state, we and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project are challenging racial profiling of immigrants and others by Border Patrol agents.

Your supporting the ACLU’s immigrant rights work can help us win on these issues. And remember – doing so is patriotic!

Explore More: