Response to United Federation of Teachers Open Borders Take on Who Is American

{Stephen L. D’Andrilli’s Response to “VPerspective” article of UFT Vice President, Richard Mantell, that appeared in the UFT United Federation of Teachers, May 4, 2017, New York Teacher issue. Note: This is the complete and unabridged version of Stephen’s response to the UFT article. The much shortened abridged version appeared in the UFT United Federation of Teachers, “Comments” Section of the June 1, 2017, New York Teacher issue, under the editor’s title, “Law determines an American.”}

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Response to United Federation of Teachers Open Borders Take on Who Is American
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New York – -( At the outset of his article, UFT Vice President, Richard Mantell, gives what professes to be a working dictionary definition of the word, ‘American’:

“According to Merriam-Webster, an American is “a native or inhabitant of any of the United States” (emphasis added). He then says: “Unfortunately, too many residents of this country do not define ‘American’ this way.”

The UFT Vice President argues for an “expansive view” of the word, ‘American,’ providing a poignant, candid, personal account to provide context for and to counter what he sees as a narrow notion of the term, resulting from bigotry. He concludes his article with this:

“I believe we have a responsibility as public school educators and as citizens of the United States to treat others as we want to be treated.” (emphasis added).

It is hard to fault the sentiment expressed. Still, calling for a “more expansive definition of ‘American,’” ostensibly one conveying the idea of tolerance, kindness, compassion and respect for the other, does nothing to allay suspicion—not, in our estimate, unjustified—toward those, here, who do not owe allegiance to our Nation, who have no desire to assimilate, or whose presence here is, otherwise, suspect.

Our Nation, as any other, is informed through a unique set of traditions, values, and history—core attributes that define and distinguish a Nation’s people and that many see, and not without reason, as being systematically eroded through encroaching multiculturalism, bilingualism, historical revisionism, and moral relativism, threading through and insinuating themselves in our educational system and in the greater society.

We need, then, to look at the connotation of ‘American’ with perspicuity, and consider, as well, the correct denotation of the term.

Consider, contrary to the definition of ‘American’ the UFT Vice President provides, the Merriam Webster 2017 edition defines the word, ‘American,’ in the first instance, as “a native or citizen of the United States’ (emphasis added). A ‘citizen’ is more than a mere inhabitant of the United States. The same dictionary defines ‘inhabitant’ simply as one that occupies a particular place regularly, routinely, or for a period of time.’ As between a “a citizen of a nation—a domain into which our educators fall, as Mr. Mantell notes—and “an inhabitant,” who happens simply to reside in a nation, lies a world of difference.

Hidden in the interstices of the essay and in myriad other similar essays that take an “expansive” view of what it means to be an ‘American,’ is the idea that it is sufficient to be deemed an American so long as one professes to hold to some loose notion of “Democratic” ideals. But, if that were indeed true, then, any person, residing anywhere on this Globe, has an intrinsic right to enter the United States and to demand all the rights, liberties and protections afforded law-abiding citizens under the Nation’s Bill of Rights. But is that true?

For Whom Does The Bill Of Rights Apply? Does It Apply To Everyone Happening To Reside In The U.S., Regardless Of The Circumstances Of Their Arrival, Or Does It Apply To Citizens Of The United States, Alone?

As it turns out aliens, whether residing in the United States lawfully or unlawfully, are not Americans. They are not entitled to the full panoply of rights and liberties under the bill of rights of the U.S. Constitution.

With all the syrupy essays written concerning the notion of what it means to be an American, the plain fact is that, under the laws of our Nation, only law-abiding American citizens are entitled to the full panoply of rights and liberties embodied in the Nation’s Bill of Rights. But, what, after all, is a ‘citizen?’

The Ninth Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary defines the term, ‘citizen,’ as ‘a person who, by either birth or naturalization, is a member of a political community, owing allegiance to the community and being entitled to enjoy all its civil rights and protections.’ This legal definition of ‘citizen,’ closely tracks the definition of the word, ‘people,’ as the term appears in various sections of the Bill of Rights and as the U.S. Supreme Court defines the word, ‘people,’ in case law.

In United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265; 110 S. Ct. 1056, 1061 (1990), a seminal U.S. Supreme Court case, the high Court defined the word, ‘people,’ and established limits on the rights of those who do not fall into the category of “the people” of the United States. The high Court said, “‘the people’ protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.” The high Court added this poignant remark: “‘The Bill of Rights is a futile authority for the alien seeking admission for the first time to these shores. But once an alien lawfully enters and resides in this country he becomes invested with the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to all people within our borders’”) (citation omitted) (emphasis in the original). United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. at 271; 110 S. Ct. at 1064.

Yet, notwithstanding these U.S. Supreme Court findings, we see devious and insidious machinations afoot to extend sacred rights and liberties, afforded to American citizens, to everyone else, including to those persons residing in our Country unlawfully.

Globalist scholars often refer to “human rights treaties” and, in some instances, simply to their own notions of morality, to make the argument that this Nation’s Bill of Rights applies as much to foreigners as it does to U.S. citizens. But, treaties have not been, to date, and are not to be, shoehorned into the Bill of Rights, for the benefit of non-citizens; and there is no indication from the works of the framers of our Nation’s Constitution to suggest that the Nation’s rights, liberties, and protections have extraterritorial application to non-citizens—even to those who claim to profess adherence to our Nation’s traditions, values, mores, laws, and ideals.

Thus, as between the citizen, on the one hand, and the alien residing on our soil unlawfully, on the other, there exists a crucial distinction and vast divide; for, aliens, who reside on our soil unlawfully, are not Americans, whatever they may think about themselves and whatever others might think about them. And, those foreigners who reside outside our Country have no legal ground to demand rights and liberties and protections that are afforded to American citizens. Fortunately, this Nation—our Nation—is not, at the moment at least, suffering the slow, inexorable decay and dissolution of the Nation State and Nation State ethos and consciousness that the member States of the EU are undergoing, and undergoing at an increasingly rapid and alarming pace. Still, there are forces at work here and abroad attempting to emulate the EU—urging the U.S. to embrace a notion of multicultural trans-national “democratic liberalism”—an EU construct—that has absolutely nothing to do with our Nation’s unique and rich heritage, history, customs, values, and mores.

The economic and political pressures exerted on member Nation States of the EU have one goal: complete political, social, legal, and economic integration. That cannot happen where individual Nation States dare to hold onto their National identity and to the physical integrity of their Nations. There is, then, pushback to be sure. But, those who seek to hold onto their Nation’s unique identity are losing. The concept of National identity is anathema to EU conceit, and to the New World Order that the creators and implementers of the EU intend for all Western Nations, not least the U.S. We, American citizens, should reflect well on this.

What are the lessons to be learned from the madness of the EU experiment? What do they mean for this Nation if we are to prevent—if we are to hope, truly, to prevent—the dissolution of our National Identity, of our National Consciousness, of our National Pride—all of which emanate from our rich heritage, our profound uniqueness. It means that we must strengthen the concept of ‘American.’ We do that by tying that concept inextricably to the concept of ‘citizen.’

We thus find a necessary schism existing between those of us who are citizens and those of us who are not. This schism—this separation—must be maintained if our Country is to continue to exist with a core set of traditions, values, and mores—those intangible things that define us and that are never to be subject to disassembly  and outright destruction.

Thus, for those aliens who reside unlawfully in our Nation, we ought to treat them with a modicum of respect, surely, as befits one human being’s regard for another human being. But, aliens who reside here unlawfully, were they to remain here, are not entitled to, nor should they enjoy, the full panoply of rights and liberties and protections accorded to citizens of our Nation, under our Constitution, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. This is not conjecture, nor platitude. It is law.

There is much at stake here for the survival of our Country as an independent, sovereign Nation—a Nation with a core set of traditions, values, and history. How one perceives “Americans” can either strengthen or weaken the soul of our Nation. Mr. Mantell does not, apparently, recognize this. He proposes, at least tacitly, that all we need do or ought to do is look to and be sensitive to the fact of one’s presence in this Country and to one’s ostensible feelings toward this Country, forbearing from entertaining the circumstances of one’s presence in this Country, when we apply the label, “American,” to a person.

On balance, the essay, “what is an American?”, as posted in the UFT, says very little that is novel as it conveys essentially the same tiresome message seen in many articles with the identical title—a wistful, bald, simple and simplistic exhortation for tolerance among groups of people with “different languages,” “different complexions,” and “different faiths.”

On a superficial level this is all well and good. But on a deeper level, there exist social, economic, political, philosophical, historical, and legal considerations that must not be disregarded in any serious estimate of what it truly means to be an American. Once discerned and duly factored in, these multifaceted considerations cast a pall over the simple, affected, genial wish fulfillment exercise that Mr. Mantell, the UFT Vice President, engages in.

  • 8 thoughts on “Response to United Federation of Teachers Open Borders Take on Who Is American

    1. This is as old as the communist movement. The workers of the world know no borders, and must unite to throw off their chains, etc. When it was shown that capitalism provided better for workers, the claim shifted that Marxism was more moral of a system, a description that was more fluid and easier to snow people with.

    2. This is the same false argument the judges on the 9th said about the travel ban.That illegals and foreigners have the same rights as USA citizens. They don’t! Anybody that don’t know American is slang for the USA is blind to reality. I’ve been told you must be a American in Canada and Mexico.

    3. As a retired educator, I have major issues with the union calling itself the United Federation of Teachers. I cannot recall a single time this entity assisted in any circumstances in my school or even in my school district over my 30 year career. They wanted money from teachers, but provided nothing productive or supportive for teachers in general. However, they were and still are very vocal about “taking care of school children”, particularly pressing the cause of the child of “undocumented immigrants.” Because of the efforts of this union and other entities, the American taxpayer is footing the bill to educate and often feed these children, the ones Hiz Highness Obama called Dreamers. Teachers can’t provide adequate time to the education of the children of American citizens because of class size; with the addition of non-citizens (and most speak no English) that class time is further strained. While I don’t fault the children, it is clear to me that the protections and sanctuary promoted by the UFT and similar organizations for their parents creates real issues in the classroom. These illegals are not citizens of the USA; they are not entitle to the rights, protections, and privileges afforded to actual citizens. Yes the UFT would have us believe that they should be, and often at the expense of the citizens themselves. These illegal immigrants often qualify for federal, state, and local support programs, all of which are financed by taxes paid by citizens. In the school system, this includes breakfast and lunch programs offered free or at a substantially reduced cost to the children of these illegals, programs for which most children of US citizens do not qualify. These children ultimately graduate from our high schools and often attend colleges and universities, at which they frequently receive preferential entry and subsidized tuition. This has got to end! Citizens of the US come first! The rights, protections, and privileges guaranteed in the Constitution do not extend to illegals, I don’t care how long they have “resided” in the nation.

      1. Great and valid points. Those teacher’s “unions’ are masters at the thinly veiled robbery at which they excel. I’d like to see a mandate that every school district make their books open, so all the folks residing in that district can see, in plain numbers, the cost per student per year gross, the portion of that cost coming from various government sources, the numbers of legal resident children AND the illegal invaders’ children, broken out as separate figures. Also, the numbers of each category taking the free lunches, requiring additonal special tutoring time, and their participation on other freeloading activities. Time the locals fotting the bill know the “bargain” they are getting. Maybe THEN they won’t be so eager to swallow the Union-Ade they are being served..

        I do have one minor quibble, though… you made the claim that teachers are limited by the large class sizes. bunk. When I was in grade school, our class size was 55 students. Yes, GIGTY FIVE students per classroom, which had only ONE teacher, no aides or assistants. And we LEARNED…. by the end of 8th grade, we had what is far superior to what most high school graduates have today. Discipline wasnot an issue, either. We all knew the limits, once crossed we’d “get it” in various ways, but always the ultimate threat was that, by the time I got home, Mom knew what had happened and I was at HER mercy. SHE understood that my disrupting in class took away from the learning of all the other students. And she made sure I understood that stealing from them was not acceptible.

        Any teacher conducting business like that today would be sidelined, and before long, looking for another line of work. “Its for the children”…. NOTTTTTT!!! Its all about the unions.

    4. Oranges and apples are not the same. That said neither is Amerika and USA. America is a continent not a country. USA is a country. North America, South America, and Middle America are all part of continental America.

      1. America is a nick name for the United States of America. No other country on either of the two involved continents have ever used or claimed that nick name. World over when people talk about America, they know that they are talking about the United States of America. When people all over the world say, ” The Americans are coming. The Americans will help. ” They are talking about the citizens of the United States of America, not the people of the North or South American continents.

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