"This country belongs to everybody, not just to the American people."

-- Jose Galvez, a protester at a 2008 rally opposing immigration and identity theft arrests at an Iowa meat-packing plant, from an Iowa ABC-TV affiliate.

Far too many Americans lack fundamental knowledge of many facts concerning America's ongoing illegal immigration and illegal employment crisis. Endless, misleading headlines and a constant barrage of contrived cries of "injustice" from special-interest, open-borders groups opposed to enforcement have diminished accurate and rational conversation on the issue.

A pro-American look at some apparently inconvenient details is past due.

Let's start with the word "immigrant." Using a federal definition, an immigrant is someone "who enters the United States lawfully with the intention of permanent residence" -- or "an alien who has been granted lawful permanent residence." The word "alien" merely describes a non-citizen in our country.

Anyone present in the United States in violation of our immigration laws is correctly and legally described as an "illegal alien." Inconvenient detail: All illegal aliens are eligible for deportation, which is the penalty for illegal immigration.

Real immigrants have waited in line, completed the applications, gone through the fingerprinting and background checks, and paid the legal fees that are rightly involved in the legal immigration process. No insult hits as hard as watching while illegal aliens -- for whom non-beneficial American law means nothing -- are referred to as "immigrants." This is the true immigrant bashing.

At more than a million, the United States takes in more real, legal immigrants annually than does any other nation on the planet. We have nothing to apologize for on the matter of immigration -- unless it is the fact that we are taking in record numbers of immigrants while approximately 20 million Americans are out of work.

There is no universal civil right to live and work in the United States. Immigration laws and borders are not human rights violations. Traditional levels of immigration were set to allow about 250,000 immigrants into the United States each year if they could demonstrate that they would not become a "public charge" and would benefit the national interest.

Inconvenient detail: Immigration into the United States is not and never was intended to serve as a relief valve to benefit any other country.

Most illegal immigration into the republic that Ben Franklin challenged us to preserve comes from Latin America -- most of that from the sovereign nation of Mexico. That Third-World nation to our south cannot adequately educate, feed, employ or provide medical care to many of its 110 million citizens.

Polls show that as many as 70 percent of Mexicans would migrate to the United States if they could. Nobody can blame them for that logical desire. There are billions of people on the planet who are poorer than the poorest in Mexico. We cannot allow the entire world to migrate into the United States ... which is why we have immigration laws.

Mexico uses its military to attempt to secure its own southern border, has an efficient and enthusiastic interior immigration enforcement system and deports nearly as many illegal aliens each year as we do. Most are Hispanics migrating from Central America looking for a better life. No one in Mexico regards the attempt at self-preservation and application of immigration laws as somehow "extreme" or "mean-spirited."

Or "anti-immigrant."

We should all be asking why the United States should not be allowed the right to enact -- and enforce -- its own immigration laws.

Or why a 21st century legalization program for illegal aliens who escaped capture by our Border Patrol would somehow stop illegal immigration.

Which brings us to the resentful illegal aliens marching in American streets demanding legalization, citizenship and the right to vote.

Inconvenient detail: We already tried legalization.

In 1986, having assured the American people that the certain solution to the 20th century illegal immigration crisis was to legalize about 1 million victims of geography, the Reagan administration granted a "one-time-only" immigration amnesty.

The steadfast official promise was that "after reform, we will secure the borders, and begin to sanction the employers who are hiring the black-market labor. This is the path to return to the rule of law."

The 1986 amnesty ended up legalizing nearly 3 million illegals. Look around to see how the other promises were kept.

Last fiscal year, American Border Patrol agents report apprehending more than 500,000 illegal border crossers. The very optimistic estimate is that they are able to catch one of every four or five future "undocumented workers." Do the math.

Let's be crystal clear here: After a series of White House administrations that refused to secure our borders -- war on terror be damned -- it is the criminal employers who hire the artificially low-priced illicit laborers who are most to blame for the organized crime that is illegal immigration.

Twenty-four years after the "one-time" amnesty, these campaign-donating business leaders have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being prosecuted for the crime of employing unlawful foreign labor while their countrymen stand in unemployment lines.

What we have proved is that amnesty, by any name, does not stop illegal immigration. The untried but obvious solution is enforcement of our immigration laws.

Immigrants do not require legalization. The current mantra that "we can't enforce our immigration laws because we may separate families" should be regarded as the mindless howls of people without any coherent argument.

For some, "the system is broken" because we don't yet have officially open borders -- which is the actual goal.

For the majority of Americans who think this country actually does belong to them, the new American Dream is English as the official language, genuine border security -- which is the fundamental duty of the federal government -- and the equal application of the rule of law upon which our republic was founded.

"Comprehensive immigration reform" is merely transparently concocted Newspeak for a repeat of the failed 1986 amnesty.

We shouldn't be fooled again.

D.A. King of Marietta, Ga., is a nationally recognized authority on illegal immigration and president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society, a multiethnic coalition that advocates for the enforcement of immigration and employment laws. He is not a member of any political party. The society's Web site is Mr. King can be reached at