Illegal Immigration, Burns, and Steinbeck

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
Portrait of Robert Burns

Without aiming to slight, the poet Robert Burns wrote about guilt, fear, and links between “mice and men,” a theme picked up by Steinbeck in his book by that name. In “To a Mouse,” Burns bemoans the mouse’s lost house, fallen to his plow, and how good intentions often go awry. Time to think about that.

At the end, Burns writes: “But little Mouse, you are not alone, in proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes of mice and men go often awry, and leave us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!

Years ago, we would visit a Maine camp, always finding “signs” of winter visitors, and clean up. We never worried too much about the inconvenience. We shrugged.

But one year, chipmunks, mice, and squirrels settled in, breached the basement, and took up residence, no sense of leaving, messy homesteaders. We shooed them out.

On arrival, most realized this was not cool, and hightailed it. We cleaned, and caught those slow to relocate. Their home, where they belonged, was outside of our home.

That year, looking around, we found the invasion not so harmless. Having shrugged before, this year they ate food of all kinds and gnawed at things – like candles, potholders, cutting boards – not even food.

They chewed through electric wires, putting the house itself at risk, stored acorns and created nests in the generator, and hid cups’ worth of birdseed in beds and sheets.

In short, our historic tolerance of these cute little invaders encouraged them to see our home as theirs and gave them false ownership, entitlement, and impunity. We looked away, and they came in.

Now you will say, “Ah, I see where he is going, he is about the comparison of the invading mice and the onslaught of illegal aliens homesteading where unlawful.”

You are right, of course, that is the point – good intentions often go awry. While some invite the illegal alien invasion, crass calculators, seeing millions of future votes, they use the empathy of others – sanctuary idea – to cover for their aims, casting these illegals as “having to be taken care of.”

Cutting to the chase, there is no truth to that. If that were true – that America must disavow our citizens, laws, borders, and sovereignty for empathy, and open America to the world, there would be no America.

America – the interior, who we are as an idea and people – would become a lawless, ungovernable mess, overrun and violent, like places from which these line jumpers and lawbreakers come, ugly.

That we cannot allow. That is why we need to reassert our sovereignty, and who gets into the country. We need to recall, by law, what entitles the request for asylum.

Asylum is not granted – nor the right to wait inside the country for adjudication or never show up – based on hardship, longing for a “better life,” or any other reason.

Asylum is granted only, and hearing is possible only, for a person presenting a credible indication they are targeted for social, political, religious, or personal reasons. It is not a catchall, way to get into housing, schools, hospitals, or America.

We have lost the historic understanding of asylum, the idea that it is a one-by-one evaluation, only applied to someone escaping directly their country of persecution, not applying from a third country – like Mexico – for America’s “streets of gold.”

The whole idea of applying for asylum involves remaining outside the country, not being granted instant, untraceable entry, shipped to Maine or New York, a free ride.

That has no place if we believe in our laws. It is inconsistent with how the border, sovereignty, citizenship, and asylum are protected. Free entry is an abuse of asylum.

To be clear:  Invasions permitted anywhere in the animal or human kingdom grow. Crimes not punished proliferate. Laws not enforced vanish. Security disappears.

As a nation, we must revalue freedom, security, and law, respect “One Nation Under God,” and not become a flowthrough teabag or magnet for the world’s crime.

Does this mean, that to keep order, stability, security, and election integrity, we must be heartless? Abandon mercy for those “with a well-founded fear of persecution?” Reduce legal immigration because illegal is wrong? No, of course not.

We simply need to enforce our laws and keep what belongs inside here, and outside there. Burns, Steinbeck, and we as a People believe in kindness, but part of kindness is accountability, honesty, rules, laws, setting expectations, and preserving the beacon as a beacon – or the beacon goes out. Time to think about that.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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