On Veterans Day: The American Legion Joins Patriotic Americans for Immigration Reform

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

November 11, 2011

The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans’ organization. Chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a group made up of dedicated veterans, the Legion has become synonymous with patriotic activities including community parades and its famous amateur American Legion baseball teams.

Another of its outreach programs, Heroes to Hometowns, connects local Legionnaires with recovering wounded warriors and their families. The Legion raises millions of dollars through donations at the local, state and national levels to help veterans and their families and to provide college scholarship opportunities. Today, the Legion has over 2.4 million members.

In recent years, the Legion has become an outspoken advocate and a strong ally for patriotic immigration reform, perhaps the ultimate patriotic mission. In the introduction to its handbook, A Strategy to Address Illegal Immigration in the United States, the Legion outlined its objective:

“The American Legion members have served in the U.S. Armed Forces throughout the world so that Americans can be safe at home. They know Third World countries. They have seen poverty, political instability, disease and war. The sacrifices they have made give them a perspective on national security issues that many Americans do not have. Today, they see the threat that open borders present to their homeland.”

During the last year, the Legion has taken a strong position against amnesty for illegal aliens. National Commander Jimmie Foster, who served in the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army, recently said about President Obama’s prosecutorial discretion policy that:

"Not only does this constitute an amnesty not authorized by the   U.S. Congress but it represents a horrible misuse of government assets. That does neither the illegal immigrant nor our nation any good."

Foster is particularly upset by the Obama administration’s plan to examine alien claims for prosecutorial discretion on a “case by case” basis.

Asked Foster:

"Where are we getting the resources for all this protection of illegal immigrants? If there is sufficient  government funding currently allocated for a case-by-case analysis of those here illegally, it stands to reason some of those funds could be shifted to address the backlog of veterans claims which has been called a top priority of the past two administrations.

“At a time when there are 842,687 claims pending before the Department of Veteran Affairs, 502,599 of which have been pending over four months, why would we dedicate federal resources to analyze the claims of people who are here illegally? Shouldn't our men and women who risked their lives in defense of this country have priority over those who openly flouted our immigration laws?”

To fully understand the folly of the federal government’s illegal alien pandering, think hard about Foster’s last question: “Shouldn't our men and women who risked their lives in defense of this country have priority over those who openly flouted our immigration laws?”

In the handbook’s concluding paragraphs, the Legion proposes that, “as appropriate,” military resources be employed to assist in stopping the flow of illegal aliens into American and all of the resources of the United States be utilized to enforce the security of our country’s borders. The American Legion pledges to work toward a solution to the “challenges faced by the United States” created by illegal immigration.

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