In Mexico, Pres. Obama called us a bad name.
He was using his appearance in a foreign country to promise that he is determined early next year to "legalize" 12-20 million illegal aliens and put them on a path to U.S. citizenship.
He made it pretty clear that he has a lot more admiration for citizens of other countries who break our immigration laws than he does for his own fellow citizens who oppose a blanket amnesty. The New York Times reported that Mr. Obama said:
(There almost certainly will be) demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form or pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable.
-- Pres. Obama
Is it possible that Mr. Obama was using the term in its second definition? If so, he was saying that those of us who oppose amnesty are:
A leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times.
-- Merriam-Webster's 2nd definition of "demagogue"
Well, we at NumbersUSA truly believe that our leadership -- and that of a mobilized grassroots -- in keeping the 2006 amnesty off the House floor and in defeating the 2007 amnesty in the Senate was clearly championing the cause of the common people.
But that very positive definition seems to only be applicable "in ancient times."
No, I think when the word "demagogues" rolled off his tongue in this modern time, his erudite brain was operating in Merriam-Webster's first definition:
A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.
-- Merriam-Webster's 1st definition of "demagogue"
Mr. President, we need to talk.
If you think that our concerns about what an amnesty would do to America's most vulnerable workers and communities are based solely on prejudices and false claims, you obviously know nothing about us -- and perhaps very little about the complexities of the immigration issue.
While there may be many on our side of the issue who despise the millions of foreign workers who illegally take U.S. jobs, I believe most anti-amnesty Americans are like NumbersUSA in bearing no great ill will toward them. Our reasons for opposing amnesty are not based on our dislike of illegal aliens but on our concern for and good will toward our fellow Americans.
You indicated in Mexico that you believe the chief concern should be for fairness for the illegal aliens:
But ultimately, I think the American people want fairness. And we can create a system in which you have strong border security and an orderly process for people to come in. But we’re also giving an opportunity for those who are already in the United States to be able to achieve a pathway to citizenship so they don’t have to live in the shadows.
-- Pres. Obama
I really have not seen any sign that you understand our concern for the fairness to the millions of jobless Americans who have relatively the same education and skill levels as the illegal aliens and who would not be facing the foreclosure of their homes and other economic crises if your predecessors had stopped unscrupulous employers from hiring illegal workers.
Let me explain this to you or your people. NumbersUSA has sought a chance to do this all year, just like you have allowed the pro-amnesty and pro-foreign-worker groups to do. Even the open-border Pres. Bush allowed us to do that.
Mr. President, we are not demagogues. Our claims may be different than yours, but they are not false.
We are driven by many of the same high principles that you stated in your campaign for the Presidency: economic justice, environmental sustainability, concern for the well-being of people in the poorest countries of the world.
Let us explain why we think the "comprehensive immigration reform" that you have promised works against all three of those principles. And we will listen respectfully to your reactions.
The officials of your Administration have spent much time this last week calling for civil discussions of the hottest issues of the day.
Labeling us as demagogues does not promote civil discussion.
Your Administration's refusal to meet with us does not promote civil discussion.
When can we start?
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Aug 24th 2009 @ 1:28pm EDT