Question #1: What did George Washington and our founders think about immigration and controlling it and would they have agreed with the concept of extreme vetting-similar to what President Trump is putting in place?


David Barton:

“They were fairly open on immigration in one way. Let me say that back in the Declaration of Independence, one of the 27 grievances they had against King George III was that he was shutting down immigration. Immigration was also controlled. There was a process to it. Within that process … for example when you get to Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson talks about, what is the federal government’s role in immigration. He said the federal government’s role in immigration is to make sure that those that come to America are healthy and that they don’t have any diseases, etc. But immigration was set by the states not by the federal government because when you come to America, you don’t live in the United States, you live in Pennsylvania or you live in Texas. You live in Florida or you live in Oregon.

States are the ones that controlled so much immigration back in that period of time. What you were looking for was someone who wanted to fit into what the nation was. I hear Christians and pastors all the time say, ‘Well you know we have this thing in Leviticus that says be kind to the stranger among you because you were once strangers in Egypt’ and as my Hebrew Rabbi tells me, you Christians don’t have a clue what that word means. That word is “ger” in Hebrew. That means one who wants to come in and become one of you and conform you and live according to your rules and laws.

It’s not somebody that just shows up at your border and says, ‘I’m going to live here’. No, you have to say, I want to live according to your rules. I want to become one of you. I want to become a Jew, in other words. That’s a stranger, is someone who is not born a Jew but wants to become a Jew. Okay, well they weren’t born Americans but they want to become Americans. We have too many here that don’t want to become Americans. They want to come in here and continue their lifestyle and their culture and they want to make us into them. That’s what our immigration was based on was the biblical concept of “come in and be part of us”. I want to read you just a couple sentences out of the 1919 immigration book. It was written by the chief of naturalization. If you were coming to … this is the end of World War I.

After World War I, in Europe you had this huge influx of immigrants coming into America because of the war. In 1941, they brought the book back out and reprinted it and, again, the chief of naturalization … because at that time you’ve now got Hitler starting to move across Germany. We’re not in the war yet, but we’re having this influx of immigrants coming in out of Poland, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere. Here’s what it says. ‘You have to learn American History. You have to learn American government and culture, etc.’ Here’s what they say about becoming an American. This is the quote. This is the immigration policy after World War II. It says: ‘An American is a man who is greater in his soul than in his class, creed, political party or the section of which he lives. To be an American, a man must have an American soul and believe in the spiritual realities upon which America rests and that of which America was born. America was created to unite mankind with the passions which left and not by the passions which separate and debase. We came to America to get rid of the things that divide and make sure of the things that unite.’

There’s nowhere close to that in our immigration policy today. They’re trying to make a culture, an American culture out of this … the spiritual realities on which we were founded. I mean, we’re saying, ‘Hey, if you’re a Christian coming out of Syria, persecuted we don’t want you. But if you’re a Muslim coming out of Syria, yeah we’re going to take you.’ We took 53 Christians in last year after declaring that a genocide, only 53 Christians were allowed to enter the United States out of Syria, but we took tens of thousands of Syrian Muslims. It’s crazy. That’s what the founders would have said because that’s what our policy also was for the next 150 years after the founders.”