U.S. citizenship rules should be updated to exclude Islamic radicals, such as the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, says potential 2016 candidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“It is common sense to say we’re going to prioritize [among immigrants], and if you say you want to be American… we’re going to prioritize you over someone who doesn’t want to be American,” he said at an March 16 event hosted by the American Action Forum.
“The Islamic State I believe is pretty unambiguous… they are terroristic thugs,” he said. “It would be absolutely reasonable” to exclude former members of the Islamic State, Jindal said.
Senior leaders of the brotherhood movement should also be excluded, he added. “There’s a reason we view them with suspicion, because, again, I think that their leadership at the very least has embraced policies… that are antithetical to ours and antithetical to our values,” the governor said.
Lower-ranking members of the brotherhood, Jindal added, could be admitted if they had only joined minor affiliated groups, such as social welfare groups, he said.
Jindal’s call for an update of citizenship rules is likely to be loudly opposed by progressives, who oppose the idea of a shared American culture and say Americans don’t have the right to exclude foreigners from the United States.
In November 2014, for example, President Barack Obama told his supporters that “there have been periods where the folks who were already here suddenly say, ‘Well, I don’t want those folks,’ even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans.”
Jindal’s support for pro-American policies is likely to temporarily bridge the deep dispute over immigration that has split the GOP’s voting base and its major donors.
For example, Jindal’s host, Fred Malek is a hotel investor and GOP donor who has called for increased use of immigrant workers. In February, his group announced it would run advertising campaigns praising GOP legislators who did not oppose funding for Obama’s November amnesty that is intended to provide work-permits, tax-rebates,Social Security numbers to five million illegals.
Citizenship requirements have been updated many times since the Republic was founded, and each update has cited new enemies without removing old enemies, such as loyalists to King George III.
Long-standing citizenship rules exclude many once-current enemies, such as members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and members of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist movement.
The rules also require applicants to “hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereign, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.”
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 to revive and update fundamentalist Islam in a world where Muslims countries are poor, divided, backward and militarily weak. “Allah is our objective; the Koran is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish,” reads the group’s slogan.
So far, the brotherhood has built an international network of many overlapping groups, including many in the United States, but has failed to grab and keep power in any Arab country.
In 2010 and 2011, Muslim Brotherhood networks help win power in Egypt, with some diplomatic aid from Obama. Then the brotherhood worked with Islamic fundamentalist groups, dubbed Salafis, to impose an Islamic-style constitution that imposed apartheid-like rules on women, Christians and Jews, and also subordinated popular democracy to Islamic theocratic vetoes.
The resulting conflict paralyzed Egypt’s economy and the brotherhood government was deposed in 2012 by a military coup.
The brotherhood’s foreign affiliates also include terror groups, such as Hamas in Gaza, plus militias in Syria and political parties in many Muslim countries, such as Ennahda in Tunisia.
Jindal couples his call for exclusion of Muslim radicals with repeated praise for religious freedom in the United States.
“Historically, we have been a majority Christian country, built on Judeo-Christian values, but we don’t say you have to be Christian or Jewish, we don’t discriminate against people who aren’t Christian,” he said. “That’s a great thing… I don’t want to see that change,” he added.
“We believe in freedom, we believe in everybody having freedom,” said Jindal, who converted to Catholicism after being raised Hindu by his immigrant parents.
Migrants should recognize that “you don’t have the right to come here and impose beliefs that infringes on the right of other people, and so, you can’t come to our country say ‘I’m going to have religious liberty rights, but you’re not allowed to have those rights, you’re not allowed to publish those cartoons.’” In America, he said, “if you don’t like those cartoons… don’t read the paper.”
Amid freedom and variety the U.S should have a common culture that integrates immigrants into American values, Jindal said. Elitists in the media and in universities ”don’t like this idea of a melting pot,” he said.
“An immigration system can either make our country stronger or weaker,” Jindal said. “I don’t think there is anything wrong at all in saying we’re going to allow people in our country who want to be American, and if you don’t want to be an American, there are other places you can go.”