Orderly immigration and assimilation made America great. Born in Belgium, my mother became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Grossvater Wemhoff left Prussia for America in the 1860s, and became a citizen. Both of my wife’s parents were born in Eastern Europe and became citizens. E pluribus unum.

Until recently, in order to immigrate, one had to be free of communicable disease; otherwise, you were sent back, or put into quarantine (think the opening scenes of Godfather II). If you had a criminal record, you did not get into America. If you misbehaved after immigrating but before becoming a citizen, you were deported. There were quotas in order to protect our culture from being overwhelmed, to keep out “bad apples,” and to foster assimilation. To be naturalized, one had to pass a test and take an oath to defend America. These were, and are, prudent and just measures to protect Americans and our culture.

Legally, and morally (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I-II, Q.105, A.3), no nation is required to accept anyone or everyone who knocks on its door.

Starting with Bush, immigration enforcement was relaxed. Obama went further and — with the UN Commission on Refugees — actively recruited illegal aliens, cramming them down into all 50 states. Obama gave illegals the benefits that only citizens rightly deserve (and that we pay for). Obama removed the fear of deportation, even for illegals who are violent felons.

These changes were not driven by concern for us American citizens. No, they were done out of hatred for, and intolerance of, traditional America, in order to achieve “fundamental change.” The “haters” are not Donald Trump and Americans like me. We seek only justice, restoration of our bleeding borders, and reasonable immigration and assimilation.

The real haters are those who, cloaking their actions in false “charity,” seek to re-engineer our culture through uncontrolled immigration — tantamount to invasion. A nation without borders is not a nation. Americans are the most generous people on earth, but our goodness is being exploited by Hard Left globalists with an agenda. We would be naïve dupes to think otherwise.

By hiding violent criminals or terrorists, we act stupidly. We side with the real haters against our own people. Logic, common sense, true charity, and patriotism dictate a higher duty of care to our fellow Americans.

By declaring Oak Park a “sanctuary” for illegals and evil-doers, we break with American values and culture. We once again look the fool. Only this time, we also will place ourselves and our families into the clear and present dangers of disease, violent crime, terrorism, and cultural erosion.

Most compellingly, where sanctuary cities have been tried, people overwhelmingly reject them. See http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/09/04/igs-poll-californians-oppose-sanctuary-city-flexibility/

When illegal aliens harm Oak Parkers, will we rationalize our neighbors’ sufferings as the necessary price of our clinging to our false feelings of smug moral superiority — even in the face of inconvenient truths — about “sanctuaries”?

A proponent of orderly immigration and assimilation, Joseph A. Wemhoff is a 34-year resident of Oak Park.

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