Monday, March 27, 2006

Immigration, part Deux

Continuing the Immigration debate seems important after the wave of protests that have occurred over the past several days. This this excellent commentary by Glenn Reynolds touches on some important aspects of this increasingly ugly dilemma. A few of the highlights:

Even if we tighten up the border with Mexico immensely, it won't stop terrorists from sneaking through if they want to...

President Bush likes to say that immigrants do the jobs Americans won't do. That's true, of course, but it's really more accurate to say that immigrants do the jobs Americans won't do at the wages businesses want to pay...

The immigration problem is hard because it pits two things we care about -- freedom of opportunity and control of our borders -- against one another. It's also made harder because people fear that immigrants -- without the pressures of earlier eras -- won't try very hard to assimilate.

For me, this paragraph is the key:

Where I hear resentment of illegal immigrants, it's not so much based on the idea of them taking American jobs. At the moment, at least, unemployment is very, very low so people aren't thinking that way as much as they might if there were a recession. Instead, the resentment is based on the idea that people who come here illegally feel entitled to demand that they be treated like Americans. It's the devaluing of citizenship, as much as the loss of jobs, that seems to upset most people at the moment (emphasis added).

I am of Cuban descent on my mother's side. I can trace my lineage back only a few decades to when my mother and her family fled Cuba. I am sympathetic to those that come here in search of freedom and prosperity, but it has to happen the right way. Otherwise our valuable beliefs will be subsumed in an America of mercenaries, loyal to the dollars they earn, but not the ideals that make it possible.


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