ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Sunday, May 27, 2007

On Immigration, I'll take a Noonan over a Buchanan

As I've said before, I'm pro-Immigration and don't think that we can deport the illegals that are already here. I agree with Peggy Noonan's approach in the following article of securing the border and then focusing on assimilating those ay tlready here. For, in truth, the main concern of the anti-illegal immigration crowd isn't really that people are coming here - it's that those coming here aren't assimilating like generations of immigrants before. Instead, they're being ghettoized by our multiculturalism.

Again, Immigration Reform is not difficult and the current bill is the worst of both worlds. Here's my "sensible" approach, in order of implementation:

  1. Seal the border.
  2. Increase the capabilities of the INS to assess & process immigration visas and to monitor immigrants that are currently here.
  3. Deport illegal immigrants that commit a violent crime.
  4. Announce that English is the official language and establish requirements for basic understanding of the language to enter.
  5. Create a guest worker program which has a clear path to citizenship with INS monitoring progress (in addition, make sure that guest workers receive the benefit of minimum wage laws, decreasing the desire by businesses for immigrant labor). Illegals currently here who do not have a criminal record can apply for Guest Worker status until citizenship can be processed.
  6. Once the INS has been improved, re-open immigration processing and increase the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
Immigration is a good thing - as long as those that enter our country adopt our culture, our values, and our vision of the future. Here's a cartoon from USAToday that reminds us of who we are and what the new Immigration Reform Bill says about us.

Now, on to Peggy Noonan's excellent columnin Opinion Journal on Friday. She provides an excellent perspective.
Slow Down and Absorb
Open borders? Mass deportations? How about some common sense instead?

Friday, May 25, 2007 12:01 a.m.

Why do people want to come here? Same reasons as a hundred years ago. For a job. For opportunity. To rise. To be in a place where one generation you can be a bathroom attendant at a Brooklyn store and the next your boy can be the star of "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour," with everyone in the neighborhood listening on the radio, or, today, "American Idol," with everyone watching and a million-dollar contract in the wings. To be in a place of weird magic where the lightning strikes. Boom: You got the job in the restaurant. Crack: Now you're the manager. Boom: You've got a mortgage, you have a home.

"Never confuse movement with action," said Ernest Hemingway. But America gives you both. What an awake place. And what a tortured and self-torturing one. Your own family will be embarrassed by you if you don't rise, if you fall, if you fail. And the country itself is never perfect enough for its countrymen; we're on a constant Puritan self-healing mission, a constant search-and destroy-mission for our nation's blemishes--racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, out damn spots.

I asked myself a question this week and realized the answer is "Only one." The question is: Have I ever known an immigrant to America who's lazy? I have lived on the East Coast all my life, mostly in New York, and immigrants both legal and illegal have been and are part of my daily life, from my childhood when they surrounded me to an adulthood in which they, well, surround me. And the only lazy one I knew was a young woman, 20, European, not mature enough to be fully herself, who actually wanted to be a good worker but found nightlife too alluring and hangovers too debilitating.

But she was the only one. And I think she went home.

Everyone else who comes here works hard, grindingly hard, and I admire them. But it's more than that, I love them and I'm rooting for them. When I see them in church (it is Filipino women who taught me the right posture for prayer; Central Americans helped teach me the Bible) I want to kiss their hands. I want to say, "Thank you." They have enriched my life, and our country's.

Naturally I hope the new immigration bill fails. It is less a bill than a big dirty ball of mischief, malfeasance and mendacity, with a touch of class malice, and it's being pushed by a White House that is at once cynical and inept. The bill's Capitol Hill supporters have a great vain popinjay's pride in their own higher compassion. They are inclusive and you're not, you cur, you gun-totin' truckdriver's-hat-wearin' yahoo. It's all so complex, and you'd understand this if you weren't sort of dumb.

But it's not so complex. The past quarter-century an unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants has crossed our borders. The flood is so great that no one--no one--can see or fully imagine all the many implications, all the country-changing facts of it. No one knows exactly what uncontrolled immigration is doing and will do to our country.

So what should we do?

We should stop, slow down and absorb. We should sit and settle. We should do what you do after eating an eight-course meal. We should digest what we've eaten.

We should close our borders. We should do whatever it takes to close them tight and solid. Will that take the Army? Then send the Army. Does it mean building a wall? Then build a wall, but the wall must have doors, which can be opened a little or a lot down the road once we know where we are. Should all legal immigration stop? No. We should make a list of what our nation needs, such as engineers and nurses, and then admit a lot of engineers and nurses. We should take in what we need to survive and flourish.

As we end illegal immigration, we should set ourselves to the Americanization of the immigrants we have. They haven't only joined a place of riches, it's a place of meaning. We must teach them what it is they've joined and why it is good and what is expected of them and what is owed. We stopped Americanizing ourselves 40 years ago. We've got to start telling the story of our country again.

As to the eight or 10 or 12 or 14 million illegals who are here--how interesting that our government doesn't know the number--we should do nothing dramatic or fraught or unlike us. We should debate what to do, at length. Debate isn't bad. There's a lot to say. We can all join in. We should do nothing extreme, only things that are commonsensical.

Here is the truth: America has never deported millions of people, and America will never deport millions of people. It's not what we do. It's not who we are. It's not who we want to be. The American people would never accept evening news pictures of sobbing immigrants being torn from their homes and put on a bus. We wouldn't accept it because we have hearts, and as much as we try to see history in the abstract, we know history comes down to the particular, to the sobbing child in the bus. We don't round up and remove. Nor should we, tomorrow, on one of our whims, grant full legal status and a Cadillac car. We take it a day at a time. We wait and see what's happening. We do the small discrete things a nation can do to make the overall situation better. For instance: "You commit a violent crime? You are so out of here." And, "Here, let me help you learn English."

Let's take time and find out if the immigrants who are here see their wages click up and new benefits kick in as the endless pool stops expanding. It would be good to see them gain. Let's find out if it's true that Americans won't stoop to any of the jobs illegals do. I don't think it is. Years ago I worked in a florist shop removing the thorns from roses. It was painful work and I was happy to do it, and I am very American. I was a badly paid waitress in the Holiday Inn on Route 3 in New Jersey.

The young will do a great deal, and not only the young. The dislike for Americans evinced by the Americans-won't-do-hard-work crowd is, simply, astonishing, and shameful. It says more about the soft and ignorant lives they lived in Kennebunkport and Greenwich than it does about the American people.

Digest, absorb, teach. Settle in, settle down, protect our country.

Happy Memorial Day.
Indeed... And when compared to the nativism and apparently open racism of this Pat Buchanan column, I'll take Noonan's approach any day. Buchanan is more concerned about the skin color of immigrants than their hopes, aspirations, and belief in the future. I could care less where people come from, as long as they share our common values and the belief in the uniqueness of America. It's our inability and unwillingness to assimilate that has caused our problems, not that people are coming here.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (3)
Anonymous said...

oysqePeggy Noonan's article on immigration is brilliant and probably represents the majority opinion in this country. "Slow Down and Absorb" should be required reading by all of our elected officials in Washington. It is a sane amd rational approach to an extremely serious problem.
The current Senate bill is stupid and nothing more then six hundred pages of crap written by attorneys.

Anonymous said...

The current bill shows why the biggest lie in the world is " I'm from the government, I'm here to help you."
On Immigration reform: (primarily Mexican)
1. The Basic premise is open the door so that it works both ways. If the border was open we could issue ID cards at the border and keep track of who was here and where they were. We could also collect taxes from them.
2. This of course means allowing Americans full access to the Mexican labor market. Where does President Fox get off by criticising our immigration policies but he would not allow me to immigrate to and work in Mexico? I, of course, am allowed to spent tourist dollars.
3. Of course put their kids in school. Get real, do we want a bunch of illiterates running around? We grow enough of our own.
4. Develop a program to Americanize the immigrants that want to stay. Most of these immigrants will make good Americans if you give them a chance. Our country and culture faces a far greater threat from the entrenched, anti American, educational, media and political establishments then it does from illegal immigrants.
5. Again, get real, we are not going to deport 12 million immigrants. We meet great opposition to keeping just several hundred avowed enemies locked up. If you seriously think that we are going to do something about 12 million you are using an illegal substance.
6. Put the onus on employers? Great idea. Congress comes up with something to do but has neither the backbone or the money to do it and so makes someone else responsible. And "we grant power to such fools as these."
7. The only options are: a. continue the current non plan. b. some form of open door. c. a police state complete with national ID cards. d. The current Senate bill should not be dignified by calling it a plan!

St Wendeler said...

Good points, Anon... I frankly think that the key is that we don't assimilate immigrants anymore. Most people (besides the Buchananites) would like immigrants to this country to have a stake here as well, so some path to citizenship is required.

If we don't come up with a sensible solution to this problem, we are likely to have a huge problem in the coming years - probably not as bad as the French have it in Paris, but unassimilated and alienated "youths" are not good for a society.