Unit 19 Officers

Americanism

The Third Pillar: Americanism

The U.S. Constitution should be amended to add the following: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." The Legion joins all of the states and an overwhelming majority of citizens in declaring that the American flag deserves legal protection from acts of public and intentional acts of physical desecration. In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court declared flag desecration to be a "right" protected by the First Amendment. The Legion disagreed at the time, and now reaffirms its position that flag desecration is a form of conduct – not speech – that can and should be regulated by law.

All 50 state legislatures have petitioned Congress for a constitutional amendment that would give power to Congress to prohibit such conduct. Such an amendment has passed the House of Representatives six times but has fallen short of the two-thirds majority required to pass the Senate (despite polls showing that about 80 percent of Americans support flag protection). The end of the 111th Congress marked only the second time in more than 16 years when there was no floor vote on a flag protection amendment. As a symbol of our nation, the U.S. Flag belongs to the people, who should be given the power to protect it. The Legion's position on its protection is inviolate.

Illegal immigration stands as one of the most serious problems facing America, with millions of illegal immigrants inside our borders, and billions of dollars spent providing them with social services, education and jobs. The American Legion supports legal and manageable immigration. The Legion adamantly opposes illegal immigration, any kind of amnesty for those who enter America illegally, and ineffective measures to prevent illegal border crossings - particularly during a time of war against terrorism and drug trafficking.

The Legion's strategy to combat illegal immigration calls for strong border security, including physical barriers and high-tech surveillance methods; the elimination of economic and social-service benefits for illegal immigrants; employer sanctions against those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants; and the enforcement of existing immigration laws. The Legion also supports new laws that deny drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, establish parameters for deporting non-criminals, and the designation of English as the official language of the United States. The Legion's position on immigration seeks to eliminate the visa lottery program, create new visa categories for agricultural workers (to replace those working illegally), and authorize the tracking of foreign visitors, including college students, members of the media and the diplomatic corps.

The Legion's strategy to combat illegal immigration calls for strong border security, including physical barriers and high-tech surveillance methods; the elimination of economic and social-service benefits for illegal immigrants; employer sanctions against those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants; and the enforcement of existing immigration laws. The Legion also supports new laws that deny drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, establish parameters for deporting non-criminals, and the designation of English as the official language of the United States. The Legion's position on immigration seeks to eliminate the visa lottery program, create new visa categories for agricultural workers (to replace those working illegally), and authorize the tracking of foreign visitors, including college students, members of the media and the diplomatic corps.

It is important to note that, under provisions of its federal charter, the Legion is prohibited from supporting, opposing or providing aid to any political party, or any candidate for public office.

The American Legion vigorously opposes attempts to strip the Boy Scouts of public support, sponsorship and facility space, due to the organization's membership or leadership criteria. The Scouts teach important skills, build character, and provide a healthy and wholesome outlet for young Americans. The organization should not be punished or persecuted for using the term "God" in its oath, or for setting leadership restrictions based on a moral code that the majority of Americans endorse.

Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by students and teachers in our nation's schools should be a regular part of school activities and events. In support of keeping "under God" in the Pledge, The American Legion affirms that pledging allegiance to the U.S. Flag is the voluntary offering of a patriotic oath to the nation; no one should be denied this opportunity. The removal of these words will set a precedent that questions the propriety of numerous references to a supreme being in historical documents, on currency, and on many government buildings (including the U.S. Supreme Court).

The American Legion is dedicated to combating the secular cleansing of our American heritage, performed through lawsuits that attack the Boy Scouts, the public display of the Ten Commandments and other symbols of America's religious history. The authority given by Congress to the courts to impose damages, or attorney fees, in establishment-clause cases is being used by legal activists to compel municipalities, state and federal agencies, and private groups to cast off all religious association.

Often, these proceedings are based on the pursuit of tax-funded attorney fees. The Legion supports legislation to expressly preclude courts from awarding attorney fees in lawsuits brought to remove or destroy religious symbols.

N.E.F.

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