Just what is the objective? I haven’t heard the answer. I do agree that it is literally impossible to deport the reported 11 million illegal immigrants who are already here. That should be addressed, but not on a first-in-line basis. Do we have a worker shortage in this country? Are we so fully employed at whatever level as we were in the late 1800s and early 1900s (workers needed to man and women the mills and mines and textile farming and laundry and home service industries)? Ultimately, in the late 1920s we restricted immigration and even banned some from some countries (Italy).
The arguments I hear and read are centered around individual hardship cases, or about those fleeing economic chaos often associated with dictatorships or out-of-control, failed socialist or communist countries. The world abounds with these situations. Should we take them all in? I haven’t heard any discussions of what the objectives for a better and more prosperous and safe America are.
It’s fine to talk feelings and sympathize with those less fortunate, particularly those not born in or raised in America or a free western culture valued society. Should we take in everyone? Is the Statue of Liberty poem, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus – “‘Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me'” – to be taken literally? Should we be open to all? A noble goal for 1886, but is it for now? Haven’t we already done that?
I can accept that as a goal and an ideal. But where is the plan for it? When those people came (my and your ancestors), they came not for the comfort of a welfare safety network, but as individuals seeking their own individual goals and ambitions. They didn’t expect a safety net. There were none, or few, in the countries they left or in the country they were going to. They talked survival.
What are we talking now? Is this a practical approach? As mentioned, we changed our approach in the 1920s establishing quotas by nation determined partly upon the skills and needs of our country but interspersed with subjective “refugee” status relating to our then political allies or enemies and more often related to wars (Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korean Police Action, Vietnam War, and now the Middle Eastern Wars).
This process over the years has created an immensely diverse population, largely integrated over time. Those coming to seek a living or fortune, or those refugees who have no recourse to return, have been the most easily assimilated, adopting not only the language but the culture and more importantly the culture of individual freedom coupled with responsibility. They did not come to establish countries within a country.
According to the Migratory Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit Washington, D.C. think tank, as of 2013, 13 percent of our population are immigrants, rising to 25 percent counting children in the first and second generation. We granted amnesty to illegal immigration in 1986, but since then 11 million more have come illegally.
Democrats don’t appear to care. They are backing President Obama’s executive order almost without exception. Republicans, who have the facts right, don’t have a coherent plan. A plan anyway is not the same as an objective. No political leader seems to be offering that.
That objective should be what’s best for America as a whole, not what’s best for a political party or an ethnic group. Who does America need to come here and for what reasons? Who strengthens America and its fundamental founding principles of liberty and individual responsibility? We do have needs for skilled and unskilled labor. We do have a responsibility to make certain those coming accept our innate values, particularly our language. And, yes, we do have a moral responsibility to rescue some.
However, we need to purge the Democrat Party idea of an open border.
Somethin’ on My Mind is an opinion column written by Bill Northrop. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gabber publishers, staff or advertisers.