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Saturday, July 05, 2008

US Citizenship

Last night as we walked to see the July 4th fireworks, an old friend of mine told me she was trying to become a U.S. citizen after about 30 years of marriage to a citizen and several decades of paying taxes in California, raising a child, etc. I was surprised to hear that she made a check out for $650 to the Homeland Security Department as part of the process. Also she will take an oath stating she will bear arms to defend our country against enemies.

Are we really sure we want to let foreigners call themselves U.S. citizens with such a low "allegiance" threshold? Shouldn't they have to pay a larger share to "Homeland Security?" It takes a lot of money to protect the US from the bad fruits that want to infiltrate our country to pick our strawberries and mow our lawns, not to mention expanded enterprises such as building a fence around Mexico, maintaining a no-fly list numbering in the tens of thousands, and monitoring our phone calls to Europe. Why shouldn't the new citizens bear an extra level of responsibility for paying these bills?

And does the oath really provide enough proof that these wanna-be Americans will actually spray bullets and drop cluster bombs when we tell them to? In this era of high tech gaming, couldn't we put them through a few simulations and THEN decide if they can join our team? And these days don't we also want to know that they would be willing to waterboard enemy combatants we capture?

While we're beefing up our new citizen requirements, we might as well levy a small tax on them to modernize the old Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. Surely we could get a sculptor to replace the book on her arm with an anti-aircraft missile launcher or some new Pentagon gizmo. Who reads books these days? Couldn't we replace the pedestal with something more security-oriented and hip? It's inscription is so 19th century......

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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