The Truths We Dare Not Speak About Illegal Immigration
In the last 48 hours almost everything that can be said about illegal immigration has been said. But I am more interested in a few truths that are never quite spoken.
1) Why the Sense of Exemption? Why and how exactly do the supporters of illegal immigration justify massive disobedience of federal law? I suspect the answer is predicated in large part on the source of illegal immigration — that if it were a question of a half-million entering illegal Rwandans or Balkan peoples each year, the issue would have remained strictly a matter of legality.
I posed a hypothetical once to a Mexican consular official in a public debate, framing the request by inquiring whether he thought there would be anything wrong, say, with freighters coming ashore on the California coast, and unloading 1-2,000 Chinese nationals on average each day — few of whom would be legal, English-speaking, or with high-school diplomas.
He seemed shocked, outraged even — more so, when I added that Chinese-language facilities would be soon mandated within public services, and a sort of Chinese cultural appreciation movement would be embedded within the schools to help encourage and invigorate illegal Chinese immigrants in their own personal odysseys within California.
My own puzzlement lasted mere seconds, since the consul quickly cited Mexico’s historical affinity with, and indeed (emotional, linguistic, legal?) claims upon, the southwestern United States. Presto -- here arose the unspoken assumption of the advocates of open borders (or at least of those who feel that illegal aliens should be exempt from federal immigration statutes): historical grievances have made enforcement of the law rather debatable, given that sovereignty, national borders, and the notion of a definable America altogether are “problematic.”
2) The Great Paradox. Also not mentioned is another contradiction that goes to the very heart of illegal immigration, multiculturalism, and assimilation: millions risk their lives to opt for a different paradigm (whether that is primarily economic, cultural, political, or social, as the particular case may be) that entails a sort of rejection of Mexico and acceptance of its antithesis in America.
In other words, millions (as in the case of immigration everywhere) are willing to cast aside cultural, linguistic, ethnic, familial, and tribal ties for something quite different across the border. That said, why then would not both immigrant and the host facilitate and amplify that choice by insisting on English, assimilation, and immersion within the mutually preferred host culture?
Americans are increasingly confused by the tone of the debate, in which self-appointed spokesmen for illegal aliens and indeed, on occasion, illegal aliens themselves seem so critical of policies embraced by 70% of the American populace of all classes and races that they so eagerly wish to join. In cases of the May Day parades, why would alien demonstrators appear so critical of the country (or at least its law) that they so desperately wish to stay in, and so fond and romantic about the country that they so desperately wish to leave? It all makes little or no sense, other than the emotional anger at the paradox of wanting to be in a lawful America without being lawful. Even if the Mexican flag is a symbol of ethnic solidarity, in the manner of the Italian flag for a few East Coast communities, it nevertheless conveys the message of romance for a nation that by all accounts has treated its own quite poorly. And when we get to the purported racialist charges against supporters of closed borders, it all becomes Orwellian, given that Mexico’s ruling elite is as about as racist a government as one can imagine — a Spanish heritage aristocracy glad to see its own indigenous peoples fleeing northward while charging their receptive host with racism.
3) The Distortions of Affirmative Action. I do not understand how mere transit across the border enables the illegal alien to plug into the industry of affirmative action. And, yes, that happens sometimes in the first, more often in the second generation. Someone born, raised, and living in Mexico can cross illegally into the U.S., have a child, and, ipso facto, that child is entitled to a sort of historical reparation or, perhaps, is seen as a beneficiary of “diversity” programs.
All this is predicated on the unspoken assumption that by virtue of Mexican ancestry the current alien has encountered more discrimination or adversity in a few years of the new millennium than say the Arab- or Punjabi- or Armenian-American immigrant of long duration. This is as absurd as it is an ignored consideration.
Article printed from Works and Days: https://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson
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