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What the 'immigration' debate is really about

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Americans Right to Set Limits

What the ‘immigration’ debate is really about

Despite all the hype raging in Washington about the need for “immigration reform” in response to the illegal alien flood, the simple fact is that we do not have a broken immigration system. What we actually have is a broken immigration enforcement system.

America admits more legal immigrants than any country on Earth — there isn’t even a close second place in this regard. Why? Because if you want freedom and opportunity, where else are you going to go? And America is more accepting of immigrants than any other nation. The problem is that, regardless of how high our limits for legal immigration are, the world is capable of exceeding those limits — and there exists a constituency of corrupt businesses and politicians within our country that is willing to aid and abet the violation of any limit for their own gain. Yet the proponents of the so-called immigration reform bill would have us believe that the problem is not illegal immigration — it’s the fact that there exists any limit at all on legal immigration.

Saying that illegal immigration is caused by limits on legal immigration is like saying that rape is caused by women who say “No.”

It’s true at a semantic level (and I don’t want to seem anti-semantic here), but it ignores the basic moral point that the American people have the right to set limits on how much of the world is allowed into our home.

The job of government is to enforce these limits — not to sabotage them and vilify the American people for wanting to control entry into their own home. And that is what America is first and foremost — a home to the citizens that live here.

Just as the Kennedy family, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and other proponents of open borders (or any other person) all have the right to control who comes into their homes (one wonders how many alarms, fences, gates, doormen, and walls protect their private spaces), the American people have an ABSOLUTE and inalienable right to jointly determine who comes into our shared homeland.

I think it is an unwillingness to accept this idea that is the source of much of the confusion on the part of the open borders fanatics. They fail to see America as primarily a home: a piece of national property owned by the people of that nation — property that cannot be appropriated by ambitious foreigners (however good-hearted, or not) simply because they think it looks like a nice place to move into and they want a “better life.” We all want a better life. That’s why we put locks on our doors.

So let’s take a moment to focus on this point and explain a few things that America (being primarily a home for the people known as “Americans”) is definitely NOT:

1) A Universal Civil Right. No one has a right to immigrate to America. There is a substantial segment of the open borders cult (primarily its left wing) that seems to think that America, and the right to come here at will, is some sort of basic human right possessed by all people. Let me assure you that this is not the case. I do not have the right to barge into Mexico without the permission of the Mexicans, nor does any non-citizen have the right to barge into America without the permission of we Americans. There is not a liberal in the world that would feel sorry for me if I were arrested for sneaking into France or Canada in violation of their laws. Likewise, they should not feel sorry for anyone arrested for sneaking into America — unless they wish to argue that Americans should have fewer rights than other people.

2) An Economic Opportunity Zone For The World. There is another segment of the open borders crowd (assorted nuts, drawn from both wings) that believes that the real purpose of America is to provide economic opportunity for all the world’s poor. The world’s poor are measured in BILLIONS. There is not enough opportunity even in a land as free and productive as America to fill that need. Secondly, America is productive and free because that is ingrained in our culture. If we accept more immigrants than we can realistically transmit that culture of freedom and productivity to, then we will have killed the goose that laid the dollar denominated golden eggs. There will then be neither wealth nor freedom for any of us. There is a reason that much of the world is squalid and oppressed — it is ingrained in certain cultures. Why would we want to import such cultures faster than we can change them through assimilation?

3) A Human Petting Zoo. Some people seem to think that America needs to acquire new people the same way Angelina Jolie acquires new kids — based on a need to have one of every kind to complete the whole set! Diversity is great and all, but it is hardly a sound primary basis for a united national character. I assure you that the American people are a fine people, not in need of wholesale replacement. It’s OK to be just the way we are. I’m OK. You’re OK.

4) A Lawless Free-for-All. I am for free markets. I am for free people. I am not for a lawless free-for-all in which ambitious (or merely selfish) citizens get to pick and choose which laws they will obey (or insist that I obey) and which laws they will simply ignore because they want more money. If Tyson Foods thinks it should be able to hire illegal workers so as to keep more of its money, then I think I should be able to just walk out of the store with illegal chickens so as to keep more of my money. What do you bet that Tyson would suddenly be in favor of limits on money-saving behavior if a few million of us committed that little crime — a crime much smaller than hiring illegal labor by the thousands?

With all this explained, perhaps the motivations of the majority that want immigration laws and limits enforced are a little more clear. They are not bigots. They are not economic luddites, and they are not confused know-nothings. They are people protecting their home — and claiming the basic right to control who enters it (and in what numbers.) The proponents of open borders, on the other hand, make the very strange and far-reaching claim that no people has the right to limit entry into their own homeland.

It is a conflict between those two visions of America that is the root of the real debate over “immigration.” It’s about who decides who comes into America: Americans or just anyone who wants in.

Written By

Mr. Johnson, a writer and medical researcher in Cambridge, Mass., is a regular contributor to HUMAN EVENTS. His column generally appears on Tuesdays. Archives and additional material can be found at www.macjohnson.com.

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