Immigration: At The Tipping Point

May 18, 2006

Political commentators — both right and left — who think the outrage over the immigration crisis is a conservative fringe phenomenon are sorely out of touch. That may have been true some time ago, but the sleeping giant of American goodwill and apathy has finally been jolted out of her sleep.

It’s hard to deny that the catalyzing events were the audacious protests of illegals throughout the country, waving Mexican flags, disrespecting the American flag and demanding, sometimes in Spanish, their “civil rights.” Perhaps Sen. Ted Kennedy’s pathetic pandering to this burgeoning new constituency contributed to the national wake-up call as well.

I recognize that certain eastern-corridor economic conservatives may have lofty motives in their undying advocacy for open borders. They continue to romanticize immigration as some innocuous boon to our economy with comparatively minor downsides. But they grossly underestimate the magnitude of the angst of mainstream conservatives over this issue and misjudge their motives. They betray their elitism by implying that those roiled about the issue are “anti-immigrant” or “impervious” to facts that only those in their perches of erudition can clearly see.

The overwhelming majority of people exercised about immigration are not remotely racist, prejudiced, bigoted or nativist. They are, however, unapologetic patriots, believers in the American ideal, the American identity and the American culture. They are not slaves to an exclusively capitalistic perspective, realizing that economic considerations — pro and con — are only one part of the equation.

It goes without saying that immigration is a multi-faceted problem because it touches on so many issues, including the rule of law, national security, national sovereignty, our national identity, the welfare state, demography, the economy, and politics.

I find it particularly offensive to watch talk shows that approach the immigration debate from an exclusively political perspective. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear the talking heads, instead of discussing the potential impact on the two political parties, actually considering what the ramifications for our nation might be if significant action isn’t taken?

Unfortunately, the frequency of elections in our system has the effect of causing politicians to put out short-term fires rather than devising long-term fixes for problems. They are under enormous pressure to just do something to address the problem before November to avoid being blamed for inaction.

But because of the outstanding work of people like Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, and the clarion calls of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in publicizing his work and other aspects of the problem, we are now seeing that one of the Senate’s proposed immigration reform bills could greatly exacerbate the problems. Even if Rector’s projections about the inflow of new immigrants over the next 20 years are substantially overstated, there is no question that way too many immigrants will come in during that period. And there is no question that this nation, given the current state of its laws and its refusal to encourage assimilation and promote a national identity, simply cannot absorb them.

With all due respect to the casual elite, we are talking about nothing less than the destruction of America as we know it. This will come about not so much by “foreigners,” but through our own complicity in devaluing the rule of law by neglecting immigration enforcement and the disgraceful abandonment of our national identity. This will prevent us from promoting the English language, our own sovereignty, our unique constitutional system and our traditional values.

Though we are the greatest nation in the history of the world, we often project anything but pride about that. We act as though we are ashamed of the American culture and Western civilization and must promote a destructive, euphemized multiculturalism, instead of an American blend of multiethnicity. We must celebrate our multiple ethnicities, but promote our common cultural identity. To do otherwise is national suicide. Not only will we become a hopelessly balkanized nation if trends continue, but we’ll bankrupt ourselves in the process.

Some say that in crafting a solution to the immigration problem we must effectively seal our borders before we can deal with the “illegals” who are already here. Others say we might as well not bother trying to close the border unless we deal with the legality issues because without strong legal deterrents to future illegal immigration, our efforts to seal the border will be in vain.

I believe we have to address both aspects of the problem, as they are manifestly interdependent. In the meantime, I hope that those mostly well-meaning elitists looking down their noses at the commoners who have finally been stirred to action on this issue will reconsider their underestimation of the scope and urgency of the problem and realize that it has finally reached the tipping point among the mainstream.