October 6, 2010


A Letter from a Republican to Hispanics (Dennis Prager, Real Clear Politics)

First, a message to those of you here illegally:

You may be very surprised to hear this, but in your position, millions of Americans, including me, would have done what you did. [...]

Now that I have made it clear that millions of us understand what motivates you and do not morally condemn you for entering America illegally, I have to ask you to try to understand what motivates us.

No country in the world can allow unlimited immigration. If America opened its borders to all those who wish to live here, hundreds of millions of people would come here. That would, of course, mean the end of the United States economically and culturally. [...]

Yes, many of you are also a blessing. Many of you take care of our children and our homes. Others of you prepare our food and do other work that is essential to our society. We know that. As individuals, the great majority of you are hardworking, responsible, decent people.

But none of that answers the question: How many people can this country allow into it?

The moment you have to answer that question is the moment you realize that Americans' worries about illegal immigration have nothing to do with "racism" or any negative feeling toward Hispanics.

The insurmountable problem with this whole line of argument is that the period of our de facto open border with Mexico corresponded to the longest economic boom in the globe's -- nevermind the country's -- history. Meanwhile, the rise of nativism in Congress, which thwarted the formalization of those immigrants, precipitated one of the worst recessions since the Depression (which was similarly preceded by the adoption of anti-immigration policies). There are reasons to oppose immigration, they just aren't economic. If anything, they're anti-economic.

Nor can one take seriously the notion that the sole alternative to the current immigration policy is immediate immigration by hundreds of millions of people. It's not even a slippery-slope argument but an edge-of-the-abyss one and one that manufactures the abyss out of thin air (or fever dreams).

It is revealing, if not dispositive, as to the attitudes of those who Mr. Prager is representing that he does not at least propose a legalization of, nor any increase in the number of, those he concedes are a blessing to America. Indeed, he sets up a bizarre dichotomy whereby the proof that you are an American is that you oppose that very blessing.

One might more coherently argue that to oppose the blessing is to be anti-American.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 6, 2010 6:36 PM
blog comments powered by Disqus