Friday, February 17

Talking About Immigration

A reader, posted some comments and had a question for me on the subject of immigration.
I think it is 1924 and the door should be shut for a respite (20-30 yrs) with H(1b) a possible exception (250,000-300,000 per Yr).

I wrote because I noted you wrote on 8/8/05 that this is a nation of diversity, and I would like to disagree. In order for America to remain a nation it must [be] a nation of AMERICANS of diverse heritage, but they must be here to be Americans, first, last and always.

As I am sure you have heard Teddy Roosevelt had some comments on hyphenated Americans when we had this problem of uncontrolled immigration the last time.
While I am sure we disagree on many things, I would suspect we agree more than you realize. To be honest, I am still finding it difficult to articulate on the subject of immigration in a way that balances my Christian worldview, and the truly American compassion towards the world, and the also very America value of law and justice.

Let me respond in order. You said, "think it is 1924 and the door should be shut for a respite (20-30 yrs)." I disagree! I don't see why? I assume that when you say the door should be shut for a respite, that you are referring the door to legal immigration. Considering today's immigration problem, your suggestion won't fix anything. Our current border security and cultural problem does not lie within legal immigration, but the thousands of illegal immigrants.

When I speak of diversity, I agree with you--we need to be a nation of shared common values and culture. I am first and foremost an American, with a rich heritage and past that has fueled my vision for a better future. It is the way of the immigrant--never forgetting his, while keeping his vision on the future. When I speak of diversity, I speak of the fact that we are not an ethnic nation with a common genetic lineage or history. From early American settlers and pioneers, to the Irish, Puerto Ricans, Dutch, and all the other ethnic groups that have emigrated to the United States, they have come for the most part seeking liberty, economic opportunity and a better future.

What about those immigrants who come here seeking temporary refuge from dictators? Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Nicaragua, and El Salvador are an example. I know many Cuban's that never intended to stay in Miami as long as they have--they also never intended for Castro to stay alive as long as he has, but that is a whole different article. Bush has been speaking about temporary worker visas for those who are seeking to work, but not necessarily wanting to become Americans. Should we welcome these? Is there a place for them in the free and open labor markets? I'm not an expert on this subject, but it doesn't seem like a bad idea. Again, I am not 100% sure.

I will tell you that the whole problem of hyphenation is not one that immigrants ask for. When I have used the term "Cuban-American," I have used it only because that's a ethnic heritage identifier. I admit--it does not accurately communicate my identity: a US born, English speaking American citizen and proud of it!

I will tell you who is to blame for hyphenated identity: left wing, socialist so-called "civil-rights" organizations. Organizations like La Raza, student groups like M.E.C.H.A. and all the other special interest groups that simply "use" immigrant groups and the underclass to gain collective bargaining and political power. It is these "intellectuals" who come up with labels and titles, and prescribe solutions to everyone's problems, and sacrifice integration and assimilation at the feet of political correctness. Look at California, and you can see a real-life results of this sort of social experimentation.

Now, we are stuck in this huge mess with to many un-assimilated immigrants and to many illegal immigrants. There are many thing we could have done right, and many thing that should have never happened. Now, America must carefully consider real and compassionate solutions that will prevent future problems, while taking steps to address past mistakes. First and foremost is securing the border 100%. Build a fence, a wall, if necessary. I am sorry to all my Hispanic friends, but this is not a cultural issue--it is an issue of national security.

Second, stop the political correctness. Require basic English skills to get a drivers license, to gain residency status, and specially to gain citizenship (with perhaps some exceptions where appropriate). Make learning English worth it to immigrants. Charge "translation fees" to those who require "Spanish" legal documents. Engage in a united and collective messaging to immigrants communicating the importance and value of learning English.

I could go on and on with ideas and thoughts, but I hope this gives you an idea. I know this post leaves many issues related to illegal immigration unanswered, but that's fine. We don't have to figure it all out in one post. For now, just a reminder: these are real human beings with intrinsic value and worth before the All Mighty Creator. Families. Women and children. Mothers and fathers.

Tags: , Politics, border, Illegal immigration, Current Affairs, Security.