Further Immigration Thoughts

Well, immigration has become the buzz. Listening to Sensenbrenner this morning on CBS Face the Nation, I do have to correct one thing. Jim Sensenbrenner does not have a unibrow. In fact he doesnt have much in the way of brows at all. As I am not a eugenicist, I do not know what way that cuts. But I do know we can place Tom Tancredo at the top of the idiot list along with or even ahead of Sensenbrenner.

Jim says “The first thing we have to do to fix our broken system is to stop illiegal immigration”. Fair enough. There are two ways to do that. The most obvious, and the one that suits the caveman set who are afraid of the immigrants for reasons both justified and unjustified, is to build the fence, patrol the border and intercept all of the people coming across. Very expensive, looks bad, economically damaging.

Of course the other way, which no one seems to talk about much, is to raise the number of immigrants we allow to come here LEGALLY. Immigration is not an inherently illegal act, like say, murder or armed robbery. It is illegal only because a bunch of guys in suits on the east coast get together and say it is. The ancestors of many of those who are making these laws also just came to this country and they basically took whatever they wanted and called it theirs.

Furthermore the number of immigrants we allow to come here legally every year is some ridiculously, ludicrously low number like 10,000 or so. It is more complicated than that and that may not be the right number but the fact is that the number of people who can get in by “waiting in line” is a tiny fraction of those who want to come here. This means that if you want to immigrate legally, you may have to wait much longer than your lifespan to do so.

The law is a bad law. Bad laws are made to be broken and those who piss and moan about people breaking the LAW or jumping into line in front of those who are foolish enough to go the legal route are disingenuous and intellectually dishonest at best and hiding more sinister motives at worst.

The anti-immigrant forces do have some valid concerns. We do not want to allow more people into the country than can be assimilated properly. The right number is probably just that number than can be assimilated. What does assimilation mean? It means that if you do a hard crime, out you go. It means that we do not pander to the multilinguists. We should expect that immigrants rapidly learn English and American History and provide the means for them to do so. What defines America, or any national culture, is the set of expectations they employ. To the extent that immigrants come from cultures that accept official corruption, they must learn that here we expect officials not to be corrupt. When immigrants accept misogyny, they must learn that we do not accept it here. When immigrants come from cultures in which religious institutions play an official role, they must learn that that is contrary to expectations in America. And so on.

For better or worse, our continued growth and vitality as a nation depends on a fresh influx of immigrants. Pretending otherwise is couterproductive and mean.

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