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In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson set forth a legal argument that rebellion against British rule was not treason. After laying out the case that a just government is derived from the consent of the governed, he argued that it is the duty of the people to change the government “when a long train of abuses and usurpations … evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism.” To prove to the world that the king was a tyrant “unfit to be the ruler of a free people,” he listed dozens of actions undertaken by the British. Among them was that “he has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners.”

This July Fourth, as we celebrate the birth of our nation, we should reflect on Jefferson’s words. Immigration and naturalization has been an integral part of our nation since its founding, and those in government, elected and appointed, who would prohibit immigration or those seeking asylum, are tyrants not to be supported by a free people.

Barbara Heavey, Covington