Thomas Sowell — Immigration Gambles Parts I and II

T SowellBritain’s late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said it all when she wrote that the world has “never ceased to be dangerous,” but the West has “ceased to be vigilant.”

Nothing better illustrates her point than the fact that the West has imported vast numbers of people who hate our guts and would love to slit our throats. Political correctness has replaced self-preservation. The Boston Marathon killer who set a bomb down right next to an eight-year-old child is only the latest in an on-going series of such people.

Senator Patrick Leahy has warned us not to use the Boston Marathon terrorists as an argument against the immigration legislation he advocates. But if we are not to base our laws on facts about realities, what are we to base them on? Fashionable theories and pious rhetoric?

While we cannot condemn all members of any group for what other members of their group have done, that does not mean that we must ignore the fact that the costs and dangers created by some groups are much greater than those created by other groups.

Most members of most groups may be basically decent people. But if 85 percent of group A are decent and 95 percent of group B are decent, this means that there is three times as large a proportion of undesirable people in group A as in group B. Should we willfully ignore that when considering immigration laws?

It is already known that a significant percentage of the immigrants from some countries go on welfare, while practically none from some other countries do. Some children from some countries are eager students in school and, even when they come here knowing little or no English, they go on to master the language better than many native-born Americans.

But other children from other countries drag down educational standards and create many other problems in school, as well as forming gangs that ruin whole neighborhoods with their vandalism and violence, and cost many lives.

Are we to shut our eyes to such differences and just lump all immigrants together, as if we are talking about abstract people in an abstract world?

Perhaps the most important fact about the immigration bill introduced in the Senate is that its advocates are trying to rush it through to passage before there is time for serious questions to be explored and debated, so as to get serious answers.

Anyone who suggests that we should compare welfare rates, crime rates, high school dropout rates and drunk driving arrest rates among immigrants from different countries, before we set immigration quotas, is likely to be stigmatized as a bad person.

Above all, we need to look at immigration laws in terms of how they affect the American people and the American culture that gives us a prosperity that has long been among the highest in the world.

Americans, after all, are not a separate race but people from many racial and ethnic backgrounds. Yet most Americans have a higher standard of living than other people of the same racial or ethnic background in their respective ancestral home countries. That is even more true for black Americans than for white Americans.

Clearly, whatever we have in this country that makes life here better than in the countries from which most Americans originated is something worth preserving. A hundred years ago, preserving the American way of life was much easier than today, because most of the people who came here then did so to become Americans, learn our language and adopt our way of life.

Today, virtually every group has its own “leaders” promoting its separate identity and different way of life, backed up by zealots for multiculturalism and bilingualism in the general population. The magic word “diversity” is repeated endlessly and insistently to banish concerns about the Balkanization of America — and banish examples provided by the tragic history of the Balkans.

We are importing many foreigners who stay foreign, if not hostile. Blithely turning them into citizens by fiat, rather than because they have committed to the American way of life, is an irreversible decision that can easily turn out to be a dangerous gamble with the future of the whole society.

What happened in Boston shows just one of those dangers.

Whose interests are immigration laws supposed to serve — and whose interests do current immigration reform proposals actually serve?

In order to have any immigration policy serve any purpose, the border must first be secured. Otherwise American immigration policy exists only on paper, and is mocked by what happens on the ground, as masses of people cross the border illegally, in disregard of whatever policies are embodied in our laws.

Moreover, all the people who cross the border from Mexico are not Mexican. They can easily include Middle East terrorists. The fact that this obvious threat has been blithely ignored for years, in order to get political leverage for “comprehensive” immigration reform, suggests that importing more potential voters for the Democrats has a higher priority in some quarters than safeguarding the country.

“Comprehensive” immigration reform — as distinguished from securing the border before doing anything else — serves the interests of politicians of both parties.

A “comprehensive” immigration bill means that they can vote for something that mollifies those Americans who are concerned about the uncontrolled influx of foreigners, while winning support from those who want more foreigners admitted and made citizens. Starting the amnesty track immediately, while promising border security in the future, means that an irreversible benefit is conferred up front, while only time will tell whether the promise of border security will be kept — as it has not been thus far.

Ask yourself why people who have been living illegally in this country for years cannot wait a couple of more years until the border is secured before the question of their legal status can be studied and debated in Congress and among the public at large.

Ask yourself why the American people must continue to be played for suckers by such games as letting foreign pregnant women drop in to have their babies here, who automatically become American citizens, opening the door for other members of their families to come in later. These are called “anchor babies.”

Crossing the border from Mexico is by no means the only way such women unilaterally confer American citizenship on their children. There are profitable organized programs to bring in affluent pregnant women from overseas to live in little communities set up for them before and after the birth of their anchor babies. The principle that anyone born on American soil was automatically an American citizen made sense in centuries past, when getting here across an ocean in ships was very different from booking a round trip flight from Shanghai or Manila, much less walking across the border from Tijuana.

If nothing else, putting a legal end to the “anchor baby” racket might suggest to the American public that they were regarded in Congress as something more than expendable suckers who can be mollified with rhetoric.

Waiting until the border has already been secured before an immigration policy is decided upon would also allow time to discuss the pros and cons of various ways of enforcing whatever that policy might turn out to be. But many politicians much prefer to rush complex legislation through Congress before the public knows what is in it or what is at stake. “We the people” are to be by-passed.

Time to deliberate would also be time to raise questions as to why local government officials in “sanctuary” cities who openly thwart or defy federal immigration laws should be allowed to get away with such illegal acts, while private employers are forced to become enforcers of such laws, under heavy penalties for not investigating the legal status of those they hire.

Government officials at all levels take an oath to uphold the laws, but somebody who owns a restaurant or hardware store has not applied for the job of border enforcement — and the 13th Amendment forbids involuntary servitude. Or are we already too far along on the road to serfdom for that to matter any more?

“Comprehensive” immigration reform serves the interests of politicians who like to be on both sides of a controversial issue, and it serves the interests of those foreigners who want to game the system in the United States, at the expense of the American people. But it does not serve the interests of American society.

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About geneb527

Retired, but still spending an inordinant amount of time thinking about all things big and small. I am proud to be a strong constitutional conservative. I am also proud to have been married over 56 years to my wonderful wife, Louise. I continue to be amazed that she has put up with me for such a long time, but have been happy that she decided to do so. "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not," warned Thomas Jefferson.
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