by Albert Paschall,
Senior Commentator, Lincoln Institute
In 2006 President Bush ordered the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Task Force on New Americans. Personally chaired by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff the inter-agency organization is officially charged with "helping immigrants learn English, embrace the common core of American civic culture and fully become Americans. The Task Force works to develop a more cooperative federal approach to assimilation, one of the five pillars of the President's comprehensive immigration reform plan." This is part of the President's plan to keep people in America that he says do the jobs most of us won't do.
Seems Zolia Meyer did a lot of things that most Americans won't do. She ran for town council in 2004 in tiny Adelanto in San Bernardino County California. Of course if you run for elected office you usually vote and she did. In most local elections not too many Americans bother doing that either.
Born in Fidel Castro's Communist Cuba 41 years ago Meyer fled with her parents at the age of 9 months and ultimately ended up in California where she has lived ever since.
While designated by immigration officials as a legal resident Zolia never became a citizen. When that became clear she resigned from city council and began the naturalization process. She went on with raising her four children and attending two colleges simultaneously with the intention of becoming a forensic nurse. If that's not "assimilation that embraces the American civic culture" it's unlikely that the idea of assimilation will ever be defined. Her thanks for her efforts may be a one way ticket back to still Communist Cuba courtesy of the U.S. Government.
On June 18 as the Senate vigorously debated the President's immigration reform plan Meyer was hand cuffed by Immigration and Custom's Enforcement Agents (ICE) and threatened with deportation. Her crime? Voting.
According to ICE as a legal resident but non-citizen when Ms. Meyer voted in the 2004 election she committed a deportable offense and now must go before a judge and plead her case or be deported.
In 1985 the Federal Immigration Departments were given a pass by no less an American than President Ronald Reagan. His support 22 years ago for a bill that granted amnesty to an estimated 2.5 million illegal immigrants has led immigration management in this country to create a situation where the Department of Homeland Security now claims there are 12 million people living in this country illegally. Well that's 11,999,999 now that the notorious escapades and enormous threats to homeland security posed by Zolia Meyer are safely in check.
Zolia Meyer became the poster girl for the now dead immigration bill that the immigration bureaucrats so badly wanted to wipe their sorry slate clean. They searched and found a model non-citizen to deport. President Bush's claim to immigration reform is that the foreign born do the jobs "Americans just won't do." He's right. Very few will run for local office and too few vote. Zolia Meyer is being singled out for being a good citizen. Someday the hope is that the President might pardon her grievous offenses.
When you watch the fireworks light up the night sky in your community this week celebrating the concept that: "we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights… that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." make sure your citizenship documents are in your pocket. Remembering the words of Zolia Meyer: "you think you're free; you're really not."
The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.