American Elephants

Our Immigration Dilemma: Unsolved and Unsolveable. by The Elephant's Child

The Senate today passed the Hoeven-Corker amendment to the Immigration Bill. Pity. It manages to weaken what small amounts of security were already in the bill. I don’t understand why people who came here illegally are more important than American citizens or those who have applied through standard legal channels to immigrate, and are politely waiting their turns.

It’s not “amnesty” they tell us. There are “barriers” on the “path to citizenship” that they have to pass before they can get a work permit, or necessary papers, or look forward to getting a green card.  The barriers have no teeth, can be waived, or cancelled, The aim is to get them amnesty as quickly as possible. Then we get the next flow of illegal immigrants who will want amnesty in their turn.

At every turn, it has been made easier for officials to simply waive security requirements, the Secretary of HHS can simply decide that whatever fencing is built is enough. Or ignore the requirements for learning English, reduce fines, eliminate tests.  We have over 4 million people who have applied for visas, waited for years for their turn, and the illegals get immediate work permits, amnesty, and not much in the way of those steps they had to take to become legal.

Victor Davis Hanson has written extensively about immigration, particularly in his 2003 book Mexifornia. Hanson has lived among Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, all of his life in California’s Central Valley.

Our immigration dilemma is a simple but apparently unsolvable calculus; Americans want the work they won’t do to be done cheaply by foreigners who, they wrongly assume, will inevitably transform themselves into Americans. In turn, the downtrodden Mexicans who come here and their elite advocates in America romanticize Mexico, a nation that brought them the misery they fled, while too often deprecating the place that alone gave them sanctuary. Everyone sees this — at least in the abstract — and can probably agree on the appropriate remedy: far less illegal immigration and a more measured policy of legal immigration, along with a stronger mandate for assimilation. But caught in a paralysis of timidity and dishonesty, we still cannot enact the necessary plans for a workable solution. To do so after all, entails confronting a truth that is painful and might displease thousands who have grown comfortable with the present chaos. Who wants to be called an isolationist or a nativist by the corporate Right, and a racist or a bigot by the multicultural Left?

A ten-year-old statement, and nothing has changed, nothing at all, except it’s all worse.


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