December 9, 2005


The American Way: What does it mean that your first act on entering a country is breaking its laws? (Peggy Noonan, December 8, 2005, Opinion Journal)

I recently found out through one of her daughters that my grandmother spent her first night in America on a park bench in downtown Manhattan. She had made her way from Ireland to Ellis Island, and a cousin was to meet the ship. It was about 1920. The cousin didn't show. So Mary Dorian, age roughly 20, all alone, with no connections and no relatives interested enough to remember her arrival in the new world, spent her first night in America alone on a bench, in the dark, in a strange country. Later she found her way to Brooklyn and became a bathroom attendant at the big Abraham & Straus department store on Fulton Street. (It's now a Macy's. I buy Christmas gifts there.)

Two generations after my grandmother arrived, I was in the Oval Office of the American president saying, "I think you oughta." And amazingly enough he was listening.

In two generations. Two.

What a country.

That despite our grandparents trying to keep the dang Catholics out of the country....

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 9, 2005 9:57 AM

I expect NRO to have the "deport them all and build a fence" mentality but if Noonan is taking this tack the anti-immigration forces might be growing.

Posted by: AWW at December 9, 2005 10:11 AM

Everyone wants to be the last immigrant.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 9, 2005 10:30 AM


As the Other Brother alwayus says: the place has been going to heck in a handcart since 1623.

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 10:39 AM


Who's more likely to be anti-Mexican than a single white female urbanite?

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 10:39 AM

We are no longer a sovereign nation because of immigration. That sort of thing tends to get even single white female urbanites exercised.

Posted by: Paul Cella at December 9, 2005 10:52 AM

Ms Noonan writes:

What does it mean that your first act on entering a country--your first act on that soil--is the breaking of that country's laws? What does it suggest to you when that country does nothing about your lawbreaking because it cannot, or chooses not to? [Will you be more] respecting of the rule of law in your new home, or less?

But that's not exactly the case.

Mexican illegals, who make up the vast majority of illegals, have to dodge the Border Patrol, and the illegals are well aware that if they fail to do so, they'll be sent back home the very next day (in most cases).

Many Mexicans also face physical hardships and dangers, trekking ill-prepared through blazing and vast deserts. Some die there.

Further, ALL illegals, including those who simply overstay student or tourist visas, are aware that if they're discovered, they won't be allowed to stay.

So, although they've broken the law to get or stay here, they are aware that they're merely dodging Johnny Law, and don't believe that America is totally apathetic about enforcing the law.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2005 10:58 AM

What does it mean when the most powerful country in the world does not even follow the same laws, foreign and domestic, it violently seeks to impose on everyone else?

Posted by: Grug at December 9, 2005 11:20 AM

Break it down for us, Grug.

As is, your comment is unintelligible.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2005 11:26 AM


It simply means that our laws are superior to international law.

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 11:28 AM

Paul: We have the immigration policy we want. We make things illegal and then we ignore them. When people want to change this, they will vote to change it. As it happens, nativism is always a loser at the polls. I don't know what any of that has to do with our sovereignty.

Grug: America is exceptional and the rules that apply to everyone else don't apply to us and our friends. Frankly, I didn't think that was a secret.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 9, 2005 11:33 AM

David spoken like a true lawyer, one devoted to helping people find ways to break the law or at least avoid its consequences with impunity.

Posted by: h-man at December 9, 2005 4:30 PM

H: Thanks.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 9, 2005 7:39 PM

wuh ?

Posted by: papist scum at December 9, 2005 10:13 PM


Perhaps that is because the loyalty of every immigrant after me is suspect.

Posted by: Peter B at December 11, 2005 9:01 AM