I’ve been a little out of touch with current events for the last few days but I understand that President Bush plans to give us “The Talk” tonight. Not that talk. The talk about immigration and border security. Long overdue, I must say.
This morning on the news I heard one person being interviewed who said that there’s no emergency situation at the U. S. border. I guess I agree. Five years ago securing the border might reasonably have been considered an emergency. After very little more than lip-service for five years I’m not sure what the correct word is but “emergency” doesn’t seem to cover it.
Just to make my own opinion perfectly clear one more time: I’m really pretty unconcerned about immigration, legal or illegal. There have never been any laws here which required immigrants to assimilate but IMO the vitality and power of American culture virtually assures that, especially if the barriers to assimilation are removed. Barriers to assimilation include housing segregation, teaching languages other than English as the primary language in the public schools, social acceptability of languages other than English, and the formation of communities with a “critical mass” of immigrants from the same countries of origin. Hey, the Supreme Court of the United States believes in critical mass, who am I to argue?
But I am concerned about securing our borders and other points of entry into the country so I’m interested in hearing if the president has finally decided to tak the issue seriously or whether he’ll continue to try to assuage the American people without actually doing anything about it.
I think the concern about immigration, generally, has been brewing for a long time (since 1965 when the old quota system was abolished). Median income hasn’t been rising much in the last 30 years. Although the rate of immigration was high during the 90’s there wasn’t as much concern about it because real median wages were rising for the first time in a long time. That hasn’t be true since the 90’s.
But I genuinely think that the issue of border security has come to a head perhaps as part of the rising general level of anxiety, perhaps due to enhanced concerns about security. Consider the statistics on U. S. civilian casualties during war:
|World War I||200|
|World War II||11,200|
|Viet Nam War||?|
|War on Terror||>3,000|