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Are illegal immigrants worse than the British loyalists who fought against the American Revolution?

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Retired right-wing radio blabber Neal Boortz said this the other day about the notion of granting illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and all the rights that go with it:

Founders never intended that all people vote…and certainly not people who brazenly broke our laws to get here.

Charles Blow responds to Boortz’s argument with THIS:

As Elizabeth F. Cohen, the author of “Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics” and an associate professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, argued in The Washington Post in February:

“During the 18th century, there were no illegal immigrants in the United States, but there was a large group of people who posed a far more noxious threat than those who overstayed a visa or crossed a border without an inspection. They were British loyalists — men who had taken up arms against the American revolutionaries and risked their lives to undermine the very foundation of our union.”

Cohen pointed out that although the loyalists fought against the union, many sought citizenship after the war. They were about 20 percent of the population. The Supreme Court would later decide that they were eligible for citizenship.

As Cohen put it: “This and later decisions showed how, over time, the country exercised reason and consent to create citizenship — even allowing the original sin of fighting against the formation of the nation to be forgiven.”

If that “sin” can be forgiven, why is it that modern conservatives find it so hard to imagine forgiving people who illegally crossed a border or who overstayed a visa? There are many differences been yesterday’s loyalists and today’s “illegals,” but an obvious one is, quite literally, only skin deep.

According to the Pew Research Center, “Mexicans account for almost 60 percent of the unauthorized immigrants in the United States,” and many others are Hispanics from other countries.

After years of hostility — both rhetorical and legislative — toward Hispanics that has pushed them away from the Republicans and into the arms of the Democrats, many hard-line conservatives are now playing the only card they have left: opposition to so-called amnesty, at all costs.

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