The Immigration battle: Who will win?
Four different groups feel they have a canine in the immigration fight: (1) the Far Right that wants Mexicans to wash their cars, to hoe their crops and then go back to Mexico at night; (2) the Far Left that wants Mexicans to wash their cars, hoe their crops, and sign up for welfare so they can vote Democrat, forever; (3) folks in the Center who want their cars washed, their crops hoed and also want some idea about who is doing the washing and the hoeing and if they intend to learn English, and if they will sign up for the procession that leads to legal status or even American citizenship and (4) the illegal immigrants who come here to work, to send money back to Mexico and, possibly, to get in line to become legal immigrants.
Historically, sovereign nations base their immigration policies on their own needs. Accordingly, we have sometimes opted to put the most highly skilled and educated (mostly, Northern Europeans) at the head of the line. But, at other times, when we needed strong backs to build railroads, bridges and mine minerals, we opted for the “huddled masses” from Southern Europe and Ireland.
So, what is different about today’s immigration situation? Can’t we just set a quota for so many strong minds and set another quota for so many strong backs? Yes, except for two realities: (1) we have lost control over who is here and what they are doing and (2) our freedoms and ever-growing capitalist system have become an enormously powerful magnet for those “huddled masses yearning to be free.”
Currently, not even our computer-skilled society can cope with the huge numbers of people who want to come here. We are literally being overrun. This, by the way, is a terrible embarrassment for the Hate-America-Left who despise us for our wealth and who see our efforts to help the world’s less fortunate as American cultural and economic imperialism. Go figure. But see: David Horowitz’ The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.
That said, we could harness technology to regain control over our borders. But that depends on how much money we are willing to spend and on our willingness to adopt a national identification system. Ironically, corporate computer data banks know a lot more about us than our own government. Our cattle industry knows the location of almost every bull/cow/steer and even knows what he/she/it is eating.
Apparently, except for math and science, we have enough strong minds. And, if we don’t, we can “tele-rent” strong minds in South Asia and the Orient. Meanwhile, as Americans play golf, watch NASCAR races, attend the ballet or enrich their minds via “American Idol,” we want someone else to manicure the grass and haul off the beetle-killed trees.
So, America needs a guest-worker program that meets our needs while, at the same time, not falling into the trap of amnesty which, in previous attempts, has led to more and more illegal immigration.
Post-war West Germany created a highly effective guest-worker program that did not lead to amnesty for millions of Southern Europeans and Turks. Meanwhile, the VWs, Mercedes and BMWs got built and West Germany’s sugar beet fields got hoed. But West Germany established and maintained secure borders.
Americans are of several minds about the roaring tide of folks coming up from Mexico. Many conservatives see the family-values-oriented Hispanics as natural allies. But the xenophobic Far Right wants them gone.
Liberals see Hispanics as easy recruits for a Welfare State that promises to open the public treasury to immigrants in exchange for their votes. At the same time (except for getting their laundry done inexpensively), many feminists fear the pro-life Hispanic culture. See: Kate O’Beirne’s Women Who Make the World Worse.
Prediction: After much turmoil, the Center will prevail.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2006. William Hamilton.