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On Becoming American: Reasserting Citizenship in the Immigration Debate

Recorded on June 1, 2005

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The United States is now engaged in an important debate over immigration and the particulars of immigration policy. Much of that debate, though, has ignored the centrality of American citizenship in navigating the waters of immigration reform. Liberals speak of expanding diversity and encouraging multiculturalism, emphasizing pluribus but no unum. Many conservatives reduce immigration just to law and order, or see the issue solely through the lenses of labor economics. The better way to proceed is to first clarify and reestablish the principles and meaning of citizenship, and then consider what that might naturally imply for immigration policy.

Businessman, philanthropist, federal prosecutor, and social commentator, Bill Simon is Co-Chairman of William E. Simon and Sons L.L.C., and of the William E. Simon Foundation and Cynthia L. and William E. Simon, Jr. Foundations. Simon was the California Republican Gubernatorial Nominee in 2002.