The Answer to Our Immigration Problem
The left intends to pummel American society into granting, out of pity, the right of anyone to come to America to live. Compassion for those less fortunate is both the treasure and the Achilles heel of historic Americanism. Those who come to America illegally are, in many instances, pitiable people, risking much in order to make a better life for their families.
That in no way makes illegal immigration moral or wise, but it does mean that those who care about these people ought to look at something beyond submersion in the American underclass. The real question we ought to ask is this: why are so many millions trying to get into America? Before answering that question, we ought to look at who is coming here.
Our nation, uniquely, has always had an immigration problem. In the middle of the 19th century, an entire political party, the No-Nothings, was built around the need to keep out immigrants who were threatening American culture. These immigrants were fleeing to America from Germany – some were Jews, some were Catholics, but all were refugees of a sort.
In the subsequent decades, Irish, Italians, Russians, Poles, Greeks, and many other Europeans came to America desperately poor, but within a generation or two, they became the best of citizens, enriching our nation in every way. Immigrants from Japan and China also came here with little or nothing but soon became very productive Americans.
Today we face no tide of immigrants from Italy or Ireland or Poland or Japan or Greece. We have never had an immigration problem with Canada, a nation with whom we share one of the longest borders in the world. People, all things being relatively equal, will stay put, speaking the language of their childhood, enjoying their native culture, staying close to family and friends.
The reason we have no immigration problem from Europe anymore is because in important ways Europe became more like America. Religious tolerance, representative democracy, ordered liberty, and most of all, the rule of law prevail through nearly all of Europe.
The American “immigration problem” of Hispanics is really a problem of misrule by many nations in Latin America. Endemic government corruption, widespread gangsterism, and Marxist thuggery have kept lands that ought to be happy and prosperous into prisons from which millions of captive natives wish to flee.
The solution, then, is not for poor and desperate people to sneak into America and create a shadow life as illegals, and it is not to open America’s doors to let these people into our country. The solution is to put pressure on the governments and political leaders running these unhappy lands to adopt the values of America and create nations where natives wish to stay.
The unspoken response of the left to this argument is that Latin America is poor because of the vestiges of colonialism, Yankee exploitation, and other dreary cant denouncing the affluence and freedom of some nations as resting on the exploitation of others. Like so much of leftism, misery and resentment are the very essence of this argument.
The left no more wants Mexico and Haiti and other sources of “wretched masses yearning to breathe free” to be transformed into lands like America or Italy or Ireland than the left hopes that black Americans will become proficient in English, acquire valuable job skills, and live in stable two-parent families. The left feasts on misery.
What will end the pain of those who creep across our borders is not to change America, but to change the government, the politics, and the moral culture of those lands from which our illegal immigrants flee. The very worst thing, of course, is to so flood America with illegal immigrants that this land of hope instead becomes another appendage in the empire of despair – yet that is what the left surely wants.
If those nations from which so many millions in our hemisphere now flee became like Ireland and Italy, then Americans would be better off, too, in just the same way as the success of Canada helps America (and vice versa). This is, of course, the dream of our Founding Fathers. They hoped that the model of America would guide other nations to move toward liberty, the rule of law, religious toleration, and representative democracy. Their dream is also the answer to our immigration problem.