Almost everything we are told about illegal immigration is both a lie and amoral.
by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
Sometime around 1212, mystics in Europe cooked up the idea that kids could part the seas, reach the Holy Land, reclaim Jerusalem, and convert the infidel Muslims. Thousands of children in Northern Europe flocked to the Mediterranean in response to such rumors, but when they reached the shore, the seas would not part, and many of them died as they scattered home in hunger.
We are witnessing a sort of children’s crusade on our own southern border. Thousands of young, poor would-be immigrants — 90,000 this year alone — have swarmed across the border, the logical fruition of the entire cynical approach of the Obama administration toward illegal immigration.
During his first term, President Obama lectured Latino activists (at the same time he was advising them to “punish our enemies” at the polls) that he was not a tyrant and thus lacked the executive power simply to offer amnesty by fiat. Translated, that meant something along the lines of “Keep cool for another year or two until I am reelected, and then the law becomes irrelevant, and we will have more constituents to enhance our political power.” On cue, after the 2012 election, Obama opened the border and started issuing a series of de facto amnesties to various categories of illegal aliens, especially children.
People in Latin America took note of the erosion of U.S. immigration law, as did our friends in Mexico who facilitated their transit. It is not quite clear whether the recent surges of kids and teens are grass-roots phenomena, or in part orchestrated by the Latin American media and governments. The latter seem to think that the clueless U.S. is not much good for anything other than offering a safety valve for what they consider their own excess population and a source of billions of dollars in cash through remittances.
What we can say for sure is that Obama has nullified U.S. immigration law, made it clear that deportations were de facto over, praised the arrival of young illegal aliens, and thereby prompted a surge northward of thousands more kids without their parents. The apparent thinking of the crusading children was that the U.S. border would open, as the Mediterranean once was supposed to have done. Kids would become near-instantaneous citizens. And they would then be anchors for their patient parents, who had sent them ahead with the promise they would all soon be reunited in the north.
This latest cruel episode — What sort of parent sends his children across the desert unaccompanied? What sort of country allows its youth just to walk away en masse? What sort of country facilitates their transfer across its own territory into the U.S.? And what sort of American administration tolerates this human tragedy as a way of building a future political constituency? — reminds us that almost everything we are told about illegal immigration is both a lie and amoral.
Let us quickly review these shibboleths.
Those who oppose illegal immigration are dubbed nativists and racists. But if so, why do Americans not object when Africans, Latinos, and Asians immigrate legally and in reasonable numbers — given that legal immigration has long since virtually ceased to be a European phenomenon?
In fact, illegal immigration is in itself a racist enterprise. Latino activists here are eager to welcome new illegal immigrants and ensure that immigration laws are not enforced not because they believe it benefits the United States. They are not concerned with the American working poor and the effect of cheap labor on their livelihoods. They could not care less about the abstract principles of immigration (what would the La Raza industry say should 300,000 Congolese immigrants, fleeing genocide, unload from freighters off the Texas coast?).
Identity-politics operatives are focused on illegal immigration solely because it involves tribal identity. Were illegal immigrants not predominantly Latinos, then Latino activists would not worry much about illegal immigration other than to oppose it. Consider the implied racialist proposition: Either accept our demand that we alone can adjudicate who enters the U.S. and under what conditions, or we declare you racists.
Mexico is not a partner with the United States, as we see from its facilitation of the current children’s crusade. For Mexico, there are simply too many upsides in flooding the border areas with its own citizens and other Latin Americans: billions of dollars in remittances, a safety valve to alleviate the consequences of its own political failures, a way to establish a population of loyal expatriates who become fonder of Mexico the more distant they are from it, and a sort of Schadenfreude that the Yanquis are getting some payback for their past insensitivity to Latin American sovereignty.
“Comprehensive immigration reform” is not meant to be reform. It is not comprehensive, and it has little to do with legal immigration. If it did, we would be told precisely how the border was first to be secured; on what grounds those illegal aliens with criminal records, those on public assistance and without a work history, and those who just arrived would be deported; and how legal immigration in the future would be adjudicated. All that is never quite spelled out, because activists do not want the border closed. They do not want anyone deported under any circumstances. They do not want legal immigration to be meritocratic and ethnically and racially blind. But they cannot say that publicly, so they revert to the slurs of “nativist” and “racist.” To the degree that any would-be reformer wishes any of the above clarifications, it is probably only on the assumption that Barack Obama won’t enforce such laws anyway, but would pick and choose those that suit him, as he has in the past.
Then we come to the Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley, and the WSJ crowd, who want inexpensive labor and expect the market to adjudicate human traffic to and fro across the border. Even they do not claim America is experiencing labor shortages, given that we are suffering with the largest number of non-working adults in recent history. Business people most certainly do not want illegal aliens joining unions and organizing for higher wages once they become legal residents. And they do not want their own children in “diverse” schools where large numbers of impoverished, non-English-speaking immigrants might “enrich” the educational landscape.
Corporate types as a rule worry about neighborhoods where gangs are ascendant. In truth, they want illegal aliens working in their factories, hotels, restaurants, and fields, but not living next door. I don’t quite know whether the corporate grandee just wants cheap labor, with the understanding that government and the taxpayer will pick up the ensuing social costs of illegal immigration when his laborers become sick or too old to work, or whether he finds his loud support for illegal immigration a sort of psychological recompense for his guilt over his own apartheid existence, but the two are not mutually exclusive.
Go to Palo Alto or Mountain View and then contrast it with Redwood City: Metrosexuals and Pajama Boy techies make a great deal of money in the former, while their low-paid gardeners and nannies crowd into the latter. And never the twain seems to meet, if at all possible. If Silicon Valley’s billionaires were to build mansions in Redwood City and plan to put their children in the public schools there, they might be a bit more credible in their loud denunciations of all those who are not persuaded by their multi-million-dollar advocacy of illegal immigration.
Then there is the public. We do not insist that immigrants learn English, as our grandparents did a hundred years ago. We do not instruct them in the history, protocols, and traditions of our own country — not surprising, perhaps, given that either we no longer know them ourselves, or, if we do, we find them disturbing. We do not live among and associate with Latino immigrants. And then we wonder why all of sudden an illegal alien from Oaxaca boos the U.S. soccer team as he cheers on Mexico’s, or why those who risked their lives to flee horrid conditions in Mexico plaster the Mexican flag on their cars in a way they would never do in Mexico. Or why, after tramping into the American desert ostensibly to become an American, the immigrant child proceeds to soak up in his Chicano Studies class why the desert is not really American in the first place. Only this bankrupt generation of Americans could distill messages to illegal aliens that the homeland they fled is wonderful and the paradise they risked their lives to reach is abhorrent.
What a sad bunch we have become. Add them all up: a demagogic president at war with the Constitution and eager to nullify existing law for partisan purposes; the conniving employer who wants cheap labor to drive down the cost of doing business as he praises the “free market”; the scheming Mexican government in need of remittances and apparently desirous to have fewer of the poor, indigenous people of Oaxaca; the racialist identity activists who in projection call everyone else racist; the calculating Democratic politician eager to have more impoverished constituents who need him to give them stuff; the bankrupt educationalists who dreamed up ethnic-studies classes that would retard integration and assimilation.
To paraphrase Tacitus, we created a desert and called it comprehensive immigration reform.
12 thoughts on “The New Children’s Crusade”
President Obama is delivering on his campaign promise to fundamentally transform America. May God have mercy on us.
Open the border to Mexico and it will be the end of America. Open the borders to any country and you will invite in conflict and poverty. It is rich stable countries against instable overpopulated poor countries. Immigration will not solve the global problem of overpopulation but it will destabilize countries that have achieved a balanced population and economy.
By some twisted “logic” we’re supposed to open our arms to foreigners who are delighted to destabilize our countries. These are the oddest of times. In times past, humans sometimes supported or ended up with some oddball and/or atrocious rules. I know of no people in the past who made a fetish of worshiping and importing foreigners. Large numbers of foreigners in your midst was as consequence of catastrophic failure of the armies. In the West, the identical situation with identical eventual consequences is ardently pursued and celebrated. Citizens of the first rank positively wet their pants with delight as each new
regimentwave of foreigners cross the border.
Then we give them money.
We are being invaded but not by Tanks & Soldiers.
Thank you, Dr. Hanson, for articulately explaining the illegal immigration problem and the motives behind it. One silver lining to this current tragedy is that it is raising awareness of the problem for the folks living outside of the Southwest. When the feds tried dumping the children & young adults in Baltimore and then in rural Virginia, the citizens said loudly & clearly: NO!
A couple of points seem to be missing. For one, the kids swarming the borders are reportedly coming mostly from three countries: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They are not coming from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize or apparently even Mexico. It really does not make sense to think that Hispanic parents send their kids on an epic journey of over a thousand miles because they hear a rumor that if they enter the US as youths they will be permitted to remain. Some reports state that these kids are fleeing the violence in those three countries, and this perhaps puts them into a different legal status than those who cross the border illegally for economic reasons. I’ve read that treaties governing refugees don’t permit the US to simply deport them back home, and they can’t simply be deported to Mexico if they aren’t Mexicans. I wonder how many can actually document their nationality in any event. There is much to criticize in the both the US and Mexico about illegal immigration, but I don’t think that as yet we have a grip on what has caused this sudden flood of young Central Americans, but it may be brewing catastrophe that will continue to get worse. While this is being figured out they need to be cared for, and at the moment t hose efforts seem pretty makeshift at best.
What impress me the more with the US immagration problem is the absence of the rise of far right wing political party like we have here in Europe.
Despite massive immigration, the US seems to be immune to extremist like the Front national we have in France ( Pauvre de nous )
You american are really trully exceptional in the moderation of your political respons.
Et voila, i hope my english was understable to you.
Doctor Falco, you do not know the meaning of “extremism” or “far right.”
Some of you French are exceptionally strange to lick the boots of foreigners the way you do. You will eventually join the ranks of those who do not wish to see the extinction of France and her true people.
When you do it will be too late, of course, for in the meantime you will have given your enthusiastic but naive support to the current regime of lies.
The naifs today are doing the most damage. And, pray tell, who are the “extremists”?
If the American people don’t wake up this country will break up in 50 years. Both Party’s have sold out!
Mon très cher Monsieur Bunny,
As an european i know very well the meaning of far rigth och extremist. The french Front National is a nationalist party with a socialist agenda.
What France need is less state intervention, less taxes and less rules for doing business.
And nobody in France is licking the boot of foreigner except the main stream media.
Bill O’ once had a couple Latino professors from Texas on his show once discussing immigration matters. One Prof. said that national borders were meaningless because “our Anazasi forebears did not believe in borders.” and the other Prof. contended that Latino immigration should destroy Yankee “corporate culture” which is exploiting Latino people. Some interesting thinking from disturbing angles.