Ellis Island, 1910
You can’t make a nation out of people loyal to their old homelands, even if they carry iPhones. You can only make a nation out of citizens loyal to their new homeland, even if they carry everything they own in ragged handbags.
– Murphy’s Law of Citizenship
The photo shows immigrants crowding the immigrant reception center in New York Harbor in 1910. Note the U.S. Public Health Service physicians inspecting them for eye and other communicable diseases. I served in the USPHS for two years. I never wore boots, but things are different these days – some better, some worse.
Despite the influx of immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we managed to retain control of our borders. Immigrants were screened for communicable diseases and criminal records. The recent tsunami of children and teenagers from Central America – many unaccompanied by adults, and many inadequately screened – could not have occurred a century ago. Back then, the federal government could not have airlifted these immigrants to all 50 states – nor would it have wanted to.
The recent epidemic of enterovirus D68 in Central America was known to epidemiologists, but apparently not to politicians, who allowed the tsunami to occur. But the politicians did not pay the price – sick and paralyzed children did. Ebola patients are being imported. Poorly screened young people from the Central American D68 epidemic zone were spread throughout the nation. Why?
Now President Obama threatens to grant amnesty to nine million – or more – illegal immigrants. That is, he threatens to repeal major portions of current immigration law, which he has no Constitutional power to do. On the contrary, the Constitution requires that the president must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
President Obama blames Congress for failing to enact immigration “reform” that meets with his approval. But the role of Congress is not to follow the president’s instructions. The Legislative Branch is separate from, and equal to, the Executive Branch. The president’s job is to lead – that is, to convince Congress to pass a bill that he can sign. The president’s job is not to dictate.
First came ObamaCare, which barely passed Congress – but only because the administration lied to Congress and to the American people about what it contained and what it would cost.
Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage…Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass. [Emphasis added.]
– Prof. Jonathan Gruber, who was paid $392,000 to help write ObamaCare
Now comes amnesty, which President Obama will enact with a stroke of his pen, in defiance of the will of Congress – and in defiance of the Constitution. The administration lied to induce Congress to pass a bill Congress did not understand. Now the administration will enact by decree a program that Congress actively opposes.
We should have listened when candidate Obama promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” We should have asked, “Into what?” A Latin America-style tin-pot dictatorship, where the “president” rules by decree? Or a czarist Russia-style autocracy, where Congress holds debates but has no real power, merely giving the illusion of democracy, while the czar rules the ignorant peasants as he pleases?
The basic question remains: What should we do about immigration? This raises an even more basic question: What kind of country do we want?
Immigration activists press for freer immigration, because immigrants contribute so much to our nation. This is true. It is also true that food is essential for life. But this does not mean that excess food is healthful – the reverse is true. That something is good in moderation in no way proves that it is good in excess.
Newspapers like the Los Angeles Times now print Hispanic names as if the paper were written in Spanish. Thomas Jimenez is now written Tomás Jiménez. Activists note with approval that teachers no longer criticize students for using their native language in school. They praise “multiculturalism.”
But a civilization is defined by its culture. Multiethnic nations may survive; multicultural nations do not. Immigrants can listen to Spanish radio, watch Spanish TV, and read Spanish newspapers – one of which is partly owned by the Los Angeles Times. They often speak Spanish among themselves at work. There is less incentive to learn English.
Even worse, schools receive money for each student who does not learn English. As a perverse incentive, our government foolishly gives schools money for each student in bilingual classes. It is in the schools’ financial interest to keep students in such classes until they graduate from high school. But then what? These “bilingual” students may be deficient in both languages. They can’t get into college without remedial English classes. They can’t get good jobs with poor communication skills.
Ballots are printed in many languages. Why? Federal law requires new citizens to have a reading and speaking knowledge of English. Illegal immigrants are issued driver’s licenses, and receive special consideration if they are found driving without a license, so they can “get to work.” Why? Federal law prohibits them from working.
In the Southwest, schools, prisons, and public hospitals are overflowing to the point of collapse. And the solution is more immigration? Really? Perhaps some people are confusing Lady Liberty with the old lady who lived in the shoe − the one who had so many children she didn’t know what to do. That old lady was so busy trying to provide for her children’s basic needs that she had no time to think about liberty. Lady Liberty, on the contrary, was careful to have only as many children as she could care for properly. Immigration is beneficial, even necessary, but in moderation.
Many immigration activists deny the need to Americanize the children of immigrants. But I can’t blame them. Many Americans, especially in the education establishment, no longer Americanize our own children.
Activists propose that immigrants – presumably in unlimited numbers – be provided with better public schools, a more affordable college education, plus health care and jobs that offer a decent wage and benefits.
But who, exactly, will pay for all this? The Americans whose jobs were taken by union-busting immigrants willing to work for (or below) the minimum wage? Or the Americans whose jobs were outsourced to foreign countries where people work for even less? That is not a plan. That is a childish fantasy, which sounds reasonable only in an academic ivory tower, where your salary is paid by taxpayers, your job is guaranteed for life, mistakes have no real consequences, and everyone thinks like you do – that is, a liberal bubble.
Some immigrants, and even some native-born citizens, look on America as a sort of giant ATM. But can a nation survive, if many of its residents see it merely as a source of cash and benefits, rather than as a homeland to which they owe loyalty? I don’t think so.
Other immigrants, and even some native-born citizens, look on America as a pinata – excuse me, a piñata. The harder they hit it, the more goodies they get. Until, of course, the piñata is empty. But then whom will they hit? Hitting to get goodies can be habit-forming.
No, America is neither a giant ATM nor a huge piñata. America is our homeland. It is pointless to discuss homeland security with people who do not understand the concept of homeland, much less the concept of security.
Fortunately, the vast majority of immigrants do not live in liberal bubbles. They are forced to face reality. They know what homeland means. If you doubt this, check out the names of our troops killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Note the large number of Latino names.
This fact saddens me, but it also gives me hope. Cowardly politicians may posture, and impractical academics may theorize, but who really listens to such windbags? So long as many immigrants – and their sons and daughters – are willing to fight and, if necessary, to die for their new homeland, we can be cautiously optimistic about the future.
Lady Liberty is pretty lively for an old girl. And I definitely wouldn’t want to get her angry – she still packs quite a wallop. But like many older people, she sometimes takes naps. When she wakes up, she’ll know what to do:
1. Secure the borders. Control immigration. Screen immigrants for communicable diseases, criminal records, and terrorist connections.
2. Then consider amnesty for law-abiding immigrants already here.
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