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Immigration Daily

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Immigration Daily September 29, 2006
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Norman Rockwell And The Founding Fathers

The anti-immigrationists's favorite slogan is "What part of illegal don't you understand?" We believe this is more than just a slogan, this is a philosophical position on whether natural law can conflict with civil law or not and how such conflicts, if any, should be resolved.

At one extreme is the position of Thomas Hobbes who said, "nothing the sovereign representative can do to a subject, on what pretense soever can properly be called injustice or injury." This position argues that civil law is supreme and does not recognize any distinction between it and natural law. The anti-immigrationists are arguing this position. At the other extreme, are David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi who held that when there is a conflict between natural law as perceived by an individual, and civil law, the individual should not merely criticize that law and make an effort to have it reformed, but he is obliged to in fact actively disobey the unjust law. By this position, therefore, natural law is supreme and civil law must give way in case of conflicts. Between these two extremes is the position held by Thomas Aquinas and John Locke and of course, the Founding Fathers. In the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence "... But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security...". This position holds that natural law is supreme but that civil law should be followed as much as possible (aptly summarized by the Jeffersonian idea that while evils are sufferable, they should be suffered).

By upholding the Hobbesian position, the anti-immigrationists are in fact, going against the fundamental principles of the Declaration of Independence. In that sense, anti-immigration is fundamentally anti-American. The proper retort to "What part of illegal don't you understand?" is "What part of the Declaration of Independence don't you understand?" This point can even be grasped visually. Take a look at the quintessential American illustrator Norman Rockwell's "A Family Tree". Note particularly the pirate at the bottom of the family tree. Those who argue that their forebears immigrated legally forget that immigration restriction of the kind that we have today was largely absent for much of American history (e.g. for those who violated immigration law the statute of limitations allowed them to become citizens after a few years of illegal stay) and that their ancestors would be inadmissible by today's standards. It is likely that many of the anti-immigrationists's ancestors are criminals by today's definitions in immigration law. While we do not argue that all undocumented immigration would be supported by natural law, at a minimum it appears safe to say that the reuniting of biological families would follow from natural law. Those who cross the border unlawfully to be with their biological families are following natural law and their violation of civil immigration law cannot be penalized by the standards of the Founding Fathers. So, perhaps, the best retort to "What part of illegal don't you understand?" is "What part of American don't you understand?"

We welcome readers to share their opinion and ideas with us by writing to


Mark Ivener, Lincoln Stone, Greg Siskind

Mark Ivener, Lincoln Stone, and Greg Siskind will be speakers at the October 5th phone session of "Immigration For Investors: NIVs And IVs". The deadline to sign up is Tuesday, October 3rd. For more info, including speaker bios, detailed curriculum, and registration information, please see: (Fax version:


14 Important Points To Consider Before You Hire A Law Marketing Consultant
Trey Ryder shares some tips on how to select a law marketing consultant.


DOS Responds To Visa Denial Query
During a press briefing, Department of State spokeman, McCormack responded to the visa denial of Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan.


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Help Wanted: Immigration Paralegal
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Help Wanted: Immigration Attorney
Manhattan boutique law firm seeks per diem lawyer to prepare and represent high-profile clients at USCIS interviews (AOS, 751, Natz) at NYC, Garden City, Newark. Approx. 40 cases per year. Must know the law and local procedures, be experienced, and have good client rapport. Please send resume, two references, with fee rates to is a blind ad posting.

Credential Evaluation And Translation
As the nation's leader in foreign credential evaluations and translations, American Evaluation and Translation Service, Inc. (AETS) provides the most competitive rates in the industry $50 educational evaluations, as well as $200 'expert opinion' work experience and position evaluations completed by PhD university professors who have the "authority to grant college level credit for work experience and/or training." AETS offers a variety of turn-around times, including same-day service for educational, work experience, and position evaluations. For list of rates and times, see: AETS also provides certified translations in 100+ languages, with translators that are specialists in 80+ fields. For a copy of the Application for Credential Evaluation and Translation Services, please contact AETS at (786) 276-8190, visit, or email:

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Readers are welcome to share their comments, email: (300-words or fewer preferred). Many letters to the Editor refer to past correspondence, available in our archives.

Dear Editor:
I totally agree with C. Prego and Paul's letters to the Editor (09/28/06 ID) in that all legal immigrants, many of them high skilled and hard working, paying taxes for years, separated from their families and unable to take advantage of even basic benefits like in-state tuition for their dependents or Unemployment, are in the worst position. They are totally ignored and excluded from this whole debate, since they do not provide a large enough votebank for the greedy politicians. What the govt is doing now is to encourage illegality, because how many of these legals who have built their lives in this country for so many years will now go back? They will resort to going underground once their visas expire, or turn to fraudulent marriages, or find some other means. These bickering politicians are not only destroying families and careers, but also destroying America's future by encouraging illegality.


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Publisher:  Sam Udani    Legal Editor:  Michele Kim                        ISSN:   1930-062X