I noted while reading the Feb. 8 feature about a local “unauthorized immigrant” family that the article’s subject, Blanca Vasquez, makes a statement that I often read in regard to America’s immigration debate.

In making the argument that she and her family ought to be allowed to stay illegally in the United States, Ms. Vasquez stated that, “This country was started with immigrants. And they didn’t need permission to come here.”

America was not in fact “started with immigrants.” What was to become the future United States of America was in fact founded by settlers, who, as former National Review editor John O’Sullivan once wisely noted, “are very different from immigrants in that they establish a new polity rather than arrive in an existing one.”

Since the founding, Mr. O’Sullivan continues, the United States has been peopled by the descendants of these settlers, and as such, Americans are “under no moral obligation to accept anyone who wishes to immigrate on the spurious grounds that everyone is essentially an immigrant.

As he writes: “Americans own America, so to speak, and may admit or refuse entry to outsiders on whatever grounds they think fit.”

With millions of native- born Americans unemployed or underemployed and an entitlement state burdened with trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, it is imperative that the foremost goal of America’s immigration policies is to protect her native-born citizens.

All of us — descendants of the first settlers and assimilated immigrants alike — must move beyond trite “nation of immigrants” cliches and work together to put the interests of our countrymen first.

Andrew M. Mauldin

Daniel Ellis Drive

James Island