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The Imperative To Defend National Borders (Op-Ed)

Image Credit: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service via Picryl / Public Domain & RawPixel / Public Domain

Submitted by Michael DiMatteo –

The chief reason for the dissolution of the Roman Empire, most specifically the dissolution of the Latin Roman Empire1was unfettered invasion brought about by a crumbling economy, sickness/plague, as well as the unwillingness of the native population to reign in emperors who became bloated with power and consumed with greed.

The Roman Legions which served the empire so well abandoned their posts in the East due to non-payment, allowing droves of Germanic tribesmen to flood the once great empire faster than they could be integrated, the City of Light itself sacked and destroyed in 411 A.D.2

For centuries the Romans conquered and integrated other societies and other cultures into the Empire. They also allowed entry into the Empire, either on an individual basis (limited immigration), or with other nations requesting to become part of the Empire, mainly for safety’s sake.

Roman culture then dictated the best parts of the culture be assimilated into the Roman one, giving Rome a great diversity of thought as well as skills, unlike 15th century China who closed their doors to the outside world believing they were exponentially superior to the world around them.3

This phenomenon is referred to as cultural diffusion, the way best cultural practices are spread throughout humanity, becoming integrated into other cultures. It is a practice as old as humankind itself.

As the Mongols did after them, all the Romans required from the conquered was loyalty to Rome, an obeyance of Roman law integrated with their own, and the payment of taxes. They did not insist on destroying the conquered nations way of life or culture. Rather, they used and incorporated the best of who the conquered were and made it their own.

It was only when the conquered became cheeky and wished to challenge Roman law or taxation did the Romans take umbrage, said umbrage resulting in a punishing event likely to end such insolence. In short, the Romans invited diversity, provided said diversity was useful and conducive to the Roman way of life, not the other way around.

Defined boundaries and the right to defend those boundaries is nothing new in the annals of human history. Even the continent of Africa before the Age of Imperialism, tribes had their boundaries. They were loose but they existed, defined by culture and language.

It is the sovereign right of any collective people to define their borders and the method by which those borders are breached to better integrate those who wish to enter the society. Anything else is tantamount to a takeover.

Again, we refer to the history of Rome for our example. Once the borders of the Western (Latin) empire were breached, what was once Roman culture ceased to exist, replaced by the various Germanic cultures.4

All of this is to say we, in these United States, as constituted, have the absolute right to not only defend our borders, but restrict illegal immigration so as to institute an orderly immigration process that benefits not only those who wish to come here, but also to safeguard those citizens already residing in this nation. It is the sovereign right of any nation to do so.

Yes, we are a nation of immigrants…legal immigrants…and as such, our history is one of welcoming others who wish to reside within our borders, follow our laws and customs, and participate in this Constitutional Republic. However, it must be done in an orderly fashion, legally and with quotas to better assess and integrate others into our national heritage.

All one need do is see the struggles of the major cities as they deal with the influx of illegal immigrants. It is not a Texas problem but a national problem if we are going to be the United States. As we’re seeing, what affects Texas is affecting all of us, and no amount of philosophical meandering or moral handwringing is going to change that fact. Simply stated, we don’t have the money or the resources to take in the planet’s population.

Chicago and New York are finding that out in spades.

These cities, among others, are imploring the federal government to provide aid, money, and resources to help them cope with the large influx of illegal immigrants,5 their own state and local resources running dry. Constitutionally, this is not a federal problem other than ensuring the border itself, both north and south, are closed and prospective immigrants processed in an orderly fashion, dictated by quota agreed to by Congress.

When states invite illegal immigrants via publicizing sanctuary status, it is up to them to provide adequate resources from their own coffers. Anything else blurs the line between federal and state power, increasing federal government control over states, expressly against the 10th Amendment, maybe the most forgotten amendment we have.

Further, as Governor Abbott pointed out correctly, Article 4 section 4 of the Constitution mandates “…and shall protect each of them against invasion,” which is exactly what is happening when thousands of illegal immigrants from all over the world flood the southern border, overwhelming the border patrol and the resources available.

One of the main functions of the federal government is to prevent such a scenario from occurring. Here are the words of James Madison regarding Article 4 from Federalist #43, written on January 23, 1788:

“A protection against invasion is due from every society to the parts composing it. The latitude of the expression here used, seems to secure each state not only against foreign hostility, but against ambitious or vindictive enterprizes of its more powerful neighbours. The history both of antient and modern confederacies, proves that the weaker members of the Union ought not to be insensible to the policy of this article.”

Mr. Madison is certainly speaking of what we might consider a traditional invasion by foreign armies, and the federal government is to secure the states from that. However, when unfettered, non-regulated access or entry into a nation by foreign nationals occurs, such as what is happening at the southern border, that, too, can be considered an invasion.

When Alaric sat on the throne of Rome in 411, did Roman citizens see him and his invading hordes as “citizens of the world” or foreign invaders? Certainly, the Visigoth settlers, the Ostrogoths, as well as the Lombards, those who entered into Rome in overwhelming numbers were not seen as migrants simply seeking a better life.

If the population of the United States migrated to one of the African nations in numbers currently migrating to the U.S. there would be international uproar, calls for mass deportations, and an instigation of war…rightfully so, even more so if said migration was unfettered, unchecked, and resembling a flood as is currently occurring at our southern border.

It so happens most nations other than Western have rather strict requirements for entry, punishing illegal entry in much harsher fashion.6

Hear the words of James Madison, again from Federalist 43:

“May it not happen in fine that the minority of CITIZENS [his caps, not mine] may become a majority of PERSONS, by the accession of alien residents, of a casual concourse of adventurers, or of those whom the Constitution of the State has not admitted to the rights of suffrage? I take no notice of an unhappy species of population abounding in some of the States, who during the calm of regular government are sunk below the level of men; but who in the tempestuous scenes of civil violence may emerge into the human character, and give a superiority of strength to any party with which they may associate themselves.”

While Madison’s notion of what amounts to an insurrection fueled by “alien residents” can be construed to be a threat against the state in which it occurs, changing the fundamental make-up of the state, the idea is the federal government has the responsibility to protect said borders from such an occurrence. In fact, it is a constitutional directive found in Article 4 section 4. If the federal government refuses or willfully chooses not to, then it must be the states’ prerogative, much like what Texas is engaged with now.

The final piece of the puzzle here is the problem created by the United Nations, a body which has steadily marched to overstep its mandate. Since its creation, but more so since 1967, the U.N. has attempted to impose its ideology and ideas on sovereign nations: The notion of refugee status and the mandatory acceptance of those escaping to a safer locale.

The doctrine is an outgrowth of post-World War II refugee status, created in 1951, originally designed for those refugees who were victims of the Second World War. In 1967 it was expanded in what was referred to as the 1967 Protocol, removing geographical and time-based limitations. Essentially, the 1967 Protocol extended refugee status, and the protections granted, to anyone worldwide.

That begs the question what defines a refugee?

According to the United Nations, a refugee is “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of [their] nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail [themself] of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of [their] former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

In essence, one who fears for their life due to persecution, not economic status, the latter making up the bulk of the illegal immigrants currently seeking refuge in the United States. Sadly, these individuals are being counseled by immigrant rights advocates to declare themselves persecuted to gain admittance, taking advantage of the “catch and release” policies by the current administration, disappearing into the interior of the nation with a court date some four years or more in the future and almost certainly never to return for that date.

The current situation is much more than a humanitarian issue; it strikes at the very heart of the existence of the United States as a sovereign nation, a nation built on immigration…legal immigration to ensure assimilation into the culture as well as exercising our right to act as a sovereign nation.

What is happening now is not sustainable for the future, and will result in more hardship, expense, and higher taxation imposed by both state and federal government as it seeks to expand its already greatly expanded overreach.

Should Americans continue to tolerate the continued flood of illegal immigrants into the United States, the consequences both financially as well as culturally will be devastating. No nation is a bottomless well of resources, and while a sense of morality and sympathy gives rise to providing for illegal entrants, what of those Americans here already, who’ve built their lives here? When do they get some of the billions of dollars of resources provided to those here illegally?

There must come a point where a nation says “enough” and re-allocates resources to help its own citizens, not those clambering at the door to gain entry. We must take care of our own, re-directing that notion of compassion along with federal and state dollars to help those Americans most in need. Do less than that and one wonders what the benefit of citizenship really is.

The question is not if Americans are for or against immigration. That was never the question for most Americans have no problem with immigration, despite the spin and word salad generated by the mainstream media. The problem is illegal immigration, entering the nation without permission, and for all intents and purposes, acting as the Germanic tribes once did along the eastern border of the Roman Empire, storming into Latin Rome unfettered, changing the course of the empire forever.

The overriding question for American citizens is if they’re willing to surrender their sovereignty for notions of benevolence that may very well be our undoing.


1 Historically, it was the West that fell, the region including what is today Germany and what we refer to today as Western Europe. It was differentiated from its eastern counterpart by language, the West being Latin, the East being Greek.

2 It should be noted I refuse to use C.E and B.C.E., the modern definitions of A.D. and B.C. as the former are simply politically correct denotations of long standing and long accepted practice of which I refuse to participate. 3 It would be difficult to argue the Chinese position during that period as Europe had yet to flower and everywhere else was simply behind Chinese technology.

3 It would be difficult to argue the Chinese position during that period as Europe had yet to flower and everywhere else was simply behind Chinese technology.

4 Interesting to note the Visigoths attempted to “become Roman,” adopting Roman dress, Roman mannerisms, etc. In his outstanding work, The Fall of Rome and the end of Civilization, Bryan-Ward Perkins gives a detailed account of Western Rome’s occupation after the fall.

5 Some estimates have the number at 22 million over the last three years.

6 Saudi Arabia punishes illegal entry by imprisonment and deportation. Russian bans re-entry for 10 years if caught, and Hungary may punish an illegal entrant by imprisonment of up to 8 years.

About the Author: Michael DiMatteo is a retired history/political science teacher living in East Tennessee. He was also a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction in 2010 in the state of Illinois as well as a member of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  He is currently an author and writer with three published books and writes a twice weekly Substack. He can be found at:

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