There are some really fabulous posts popping up all over the blogosphere on these subject today, presumably in response to the Mayday rally in support of illegal migrants. I’m going to collect links to them here as I prowl and then add my own observations. Check back for updates!
Smash posts a comment from a naturalized American citizen in reaction to the rallies and the potential for backlash.
Joe Katzman of Winds of Change has a typically excellent post on the three problems to solve in resolving the immigration issue. Be sure to check out the very interesting comments thread and most especially Bart Hall’s two intriguing comments.
Alfonso Trujillo of Hispanic Pundit, generally pro-immigration, provides a guide to the sane arguments against immigration. He also has a good post on the likelihood of a backlash as a result of the rallies. The Rasmussen Report overnight tracking poll results do not reflect any change in attitude as a result of the rallies. Honestly, I think most Americans have already made up their minds on this issue, there’s a consensus, and our elected representatives hate the consensus. Big problem. More on that later.
David Yeagley, Comanche Indian, notes:
Obviously, Americans have been ambivolent about whether they want the Mexicans around or not. Business has taken advantage of the cheap labor, but the cost of caring for the illegal hordes has been devastating to many communities. Americans have paid a big price for this ‘invited’ invasion.
But, for those who have ‘called the police,’ there has been but a feeble response. There has been little or no authority on the matter. It has been like trying to stomp out one or two roaches, when the cabinets are full of them, and the nest is under the back door. American people have no professional pest control service to call, and not even a can of bug killer. We have only the soles of our shoes.
Well, Mexican people are not roaches, obviously. The hordes of tresspassers are just people, but people with an attitude. They are simply determined to get what they want. They have no nerve or courage to stand up to their own stinking, rotten government in Ciudad de Mexico, and they know everything is free and better in America anyway. It’s a whole lot easier to just cross the border. Immediately, they justify themselves in total, irrational arrogance. They crossed the border, and they think that gives them the right to demand rights! Their attitude is simply “Give me the goodies! I’m here. I made the effort to be here!” That’s all. There is no other articulation. All the grandiose politicization of their position is the work of highly organized, professional anti-American forces. The Mexican hordes know little of that sort of maneouver. They only know that they can come here, and get better treatment. If they can make it across the border, they are simply better off. They demand to be better off. Liberal anti-Americans (and Democrats) are there to teach them how to demand it.
He has other, harsher things to say, both in the linked post and in his article on Frontpage.
Disclosure: I’m a fifth-generation or more American on all sides. I consider myself a realist about immigration i.e. I neither romanticize it nor do I demonize it. I do think that we need to rationalize our policy on immigration.
On Joe’s three points I am very concerned about security, somewhat less concerned about illegality, and even less concerned about assimilation.
First, let me talk about assimilation. We have never had laws in this country that compelled assimilation. We did have laws that, for good or ill, ensured that the ethnicity and racial makeup of immigrants tended to recapitulate the ethnicity and racial makeup of the resident population. And we did have a national consensus that immigrants would assimilate and institutions whose primary mission was ensuring that end: the public schools. Now that the public schools have become centers of political activism and at best neutral towards inculcating a pro-American attitude in students the public schools are now the main barrier to assimilation. I’m not sure how you correct that without eliminating the public employees unions and, since the public employees unions are the main prop of today’s Democratic Party, that will be impossible.
I believe that American culture is so vibrant and effective that it is irresistible and, once the barriers are removed, assimilation is inevitable. You will be assimilated!
Assimilation to American culture is a good bit of what the war that we’re in right now is about. Our enemies very obviously believe that without strenuous measures to opposed it the Islamic world will tend to assimilate Western culture (and American culture in particular). Check your handy online copy of Qutub’s Milestones. Who are we to disagree?
For those who are concerned about the primacy of English: the only way to ensure that is through constitutional amendment. Depending on the wording of the amendment, its implementation, and its enforcement that will bring problems of its own. I’m not concerned that new immigrants won’t speak English. I’m concerned that their children won’t speak any language that’s recognizeable outside their neighborhood and won’t be literate in either English or Spanish.
Now, security. This is not the 19th or even the 20th century. With the power of today’s weaponry and the hatred that perhaps even only a small number of people have for us we need to take different measures than we did in the past. That’s the fack, Jack. If “wall” is a euphemism for extraordinary border security, I’m for it. Better start guarding the guards as well. The pressures towards corruption will be irresistible. Audits all around!
Like it or not there is a national consensus on immigration (from the Rasmussen reports link cited above): 66% of the American people support an enforcement first policy, 70% support strict employer penalties. There’s also strong support for a border wall. It’s not a consensus yet but it seems to be growing. It’s a consensus somewhat to the right of where I’m completely comfortable but it’s a consensus. It’s equally clear that our elected representatives aren’t in line with that consensus and, to a large degree, on the other side.
But, because of the realities of our current electoral system with nearly all Congressional districts safe districts, the dominance of regular party candidates, and the effective preclusion of third parties gaining strength in many parts of the country, I don’t think there’s any real likelihood of a “throw the rascals out” movement.
To my mind this divide between public sentiment and the position staked out by our elected representatives is damaging to our system on its face. As I see it what needs to happen is this: our elected representatives need to exert substantially greater effort than they are now to explaining why they take the position they’re taking and attempt to persuade their constituents. They should persuade or be persuaded.