At the 94th national convention of the American Legion last August, the organization passed a resolution stating that the Legion "support the strict enforcement of immigration laws already in existence" and "[t]hat government benefits of any kind should not be granted to any alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa." The American Legion is standing behind that resoultion now by opposing new amnesty proposals.
American Legion Commander James E. Koutz described Pres. Obama's plan to offer 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States with an amnesty a "bad sequel."
"Whether it's called 'Pathway to Citizenship' or some other euphemism, it's still amnesty," Koutz said. "It didn't work when President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and it will be even more disastrous if we repeat that mistake again."
When the 1986 amnesty was passed, the American Legion opposed it back then as well.
"As far as The American Legion is concerned, amnesty is a deal-breaker for us but there are some measures currently being proposed that we like," Koutz said. "These include tightening security at the borders, crackdowns on those who hire illegal workers and stricter visa procedures.
"The American Legion is not opposed to immigration; we are a nation that was built by immigrants. But we also believe in adherence to the law. What kind of message does it send to those who worked hard to become legal immigrants if we offer the same status to those who disrespected the process? 'American citizen' is a special title that should not be bestowed upon people who broke the law to get it."
Updated: Mon, Feb 25th 2013 @ 10:55am EST