“We believe that immigrants, like women and like African-Americans before them, have rights in this country, and the time is ripe for a new civil rights moment.” —Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.)

I have a dream.

I have a dream that, one day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is going to rise from his grave, walk up to Sen. Ted Kennedy, and say “‘nonviolent,’ my ass” and then punch the senator right in the mouth.

“A new civil rights movement?” “Illegal aliens are “like African-Americans before them?” Is the senile senator from Massachusetts out of his pickled little mind? I’m a geeky white guy from South Carolina whose ancestors probably supported segregation, and I’m outraged over this idiotic insult.

Jim Crow was offensive and unforgivable because it stripped away basic rights from people entitled to them by their citizenship. Every citizen has the right to vote, but black citizens were denied it. Every citizen has the right to service from the public school system, but black citizens were denied it.

How could one American citizen do this to another? That was the source of the outrage.

If I understand Sen. Kennedy correctly, — never a sure thing, I confess — he says that not letting Manuel from Mexico enjoy the rights of American citizenship is the same as denying those rights from actual Americans who happened to be black. Which means either black Americans were never really entitled to the rights denied them; or that everyone on the planet has the right to be an American, and we citizens are not allowed to control our own borders.

Both ideas are idiotic; I’m just trying to figure out which one is the most offensive.

For two weeks now I’ve been reading news stories about the “immigrants’ rights” movement, a movement exemplified by citizens of foreign countries marching with foreign flags and screaming at me in a foreign language about how mad they are over how I run my country.

Well, not to be stupid, but exactly what “rights” do illegal alien noncitizens have here in the U.S.? I’ve scoured the Constitution from preamble to post-script and I can’t find any.

You’re an immigration criminal. You’re working illegally for an employer who broke the law by hiring you. Taxes aren’t being paid, but your kids are being born in taxpayer-funded public hospitals and attending taxpayers’ schools.

What are your “rights?” The right to dignity? I will happily stick you on a bus for home in a highly dignified manner. The right to respect? I will gladly call you “Sir” and “Ma’am” as I respectfully kick your illegal assets back to your home country.

Advocates for illegals insist that they have rights like “the right not to die of thirst in the desert” or “the right not to be killed by smugglers.”

OK, fine. Don’t want to thirst to death in the desert? Then stay out of the desert. Don’t walk across it trying to sneak into the United States. Don’t want to get stuffed into a spare tire holder and abandoned on the side of the road by a smugger? Then don’t hire him to smuggle you across the border. Voila!

But if you’re going to insist on sneaking across the border and evading law enforcement and working off the books as an illegal, then your “right” to die in the desert or get beaten by druggies is back in play. That’s how it’s supposed to be. That’s justice.

Injustice isn’t what happens when a criminal alien suffers the consequences of his illegal acts. The real injustice is what amnesty supporters like Sen. Kennedy want: giving illegals the same respect, rights and privileges that we give the many legal immigrants who visit our country each year. Millions come for visits and vacations, thousands come (legally) to work, and the vast majority obey the law. They are our guests. They deserve courtesy and respect.

Illegal immigrants aren’t guests, they’re gate crashers. They are, by definition, liars and cheaters. They deserve nothing, except the quickest possible trip back home.

I recently heard an illegal alien from Brazil announce his support for amnesty because “I don’t want to be illegal. Nobody does.”

This is a lie. Of course he wants to be illegal. That’s why he’s here. If he really didn’t want to be illegal, he’d be back in Brazil. Instant legality.

What he meant to say was “as much as I’d like to be legal, I’d like to NOT live in Brazil even more.” And having seen what the people of Brazil, Mexico, etc. have done with their countries, I understand his feeling.

What I don’t understand is, where did the people who turned their home countries into Third-World rat holes get the “civil right” to do the same to mine?