26 May 2007

This Is Why This Blog Is Secret

I am often asked, as I fantasize about being asked questions about the blog, why "secret." What is secret about the blog? One answer is that I don't worry about whether anyone, other than fantasy interlocutors, care about what I write.

So, what do I think about the immigration bill?

As long time friends of the blog know, I'm pro-immigration. We don't have nearly enough immigrants and should take more by an order of magnitude. In fact, we do -- we just pretend that we don't want them here. The downside of this arrangement is that we don't have control of who crosses our borders. In the midst of a assymetric war in which the enemy purposely targets civilian populations, control of the border would be a nice thing to have.

But here we have completely confused two different issues. We could have much better control of the border with much more immigration, if we spent resources on the border while changing the immigration laws to welcome immigrants. That's the law I want but not the law I'm getting. I would prefer the status quo to the proposed bill, and I might get that. But even if the bill passes, I won't be too upset; it will be a failure and not much will change, but the current illegals will be legal.

Also, it's always worth remembering that the 9/11 terrorists entered the country legally. Perfect control of the Mexican border would have made no difference at all.

53 comments:

Harry Eagar said...

How fast can immigrants be assimilated into the American Way, or do you care to preserve that?

Susan's Husband said...

Mr. Eager;

Mr. Cohen clearly think "very fast", given his claim that we could absorb ten times as many as are legally admitted.

I have my doubts about that myself, but I will say that the less of a welfare state we have, the faster we can assimilate immigrants.

Harry Eagar said...

Agreed, if -- and it's a real big if -- the immigrants either come in with some of the American Way in the their makeup or are consciously prepared to shed their old ways and adopt the new.

It seems pretty clear to me that we cannot assume that for large segments of new immigrants.

Of course, in the 19th c. it was believed that Irish and Italian Catholics were not assimilable. And that was correct.

They did not assimilate until they had shed key aspects of Catholicism.

If you think I'm pointing at some other religion in the 21st c., you're right. But not only that . . .

Oroborous said...

I'm not too-concerned about immigrant assimilation to America.

Indeed, one of the reasons that foreigners are irritated with the U.S., (or aroused to blind frothing rage, particularly the French, the Canadian French, and Arab Muslims), is because American culture is so insidiously desirable, and so addictive, that it's assimilating their own children, in their own lands, underneath the very noses of the helpless leaders of those cultures.

For instance, why else has the House of Saud agreed to give women in Arabia limited suffrage ?
It sure ain't 'cause of a strong tradition of feminine rights in Islam, or in Arab cultures.

Similarly, Qatar's Al Jazeera network is a direct descendant of American culture. While many Americans think of it as Arab propaganda, it's also seen as radical and an agent of change by Arab nations.

So, given two generations born and raised in the U.S., the immigrants' grandchildren will be as American as apple pie, tacos, and pizza.*
(Or ice cream cones and hot dogs, both invented in the good ol' U.S. of A.)

I also don't think that the U.S. are going to be deluged with Muslim immigrants, even if we expand our quotas for legal immigrants.

They a) aren't typically educated enough to be given priority, b) mostly can't afford a ticket to the States, and c) only a few hundred thousand would be able to find acceptable (to our gov't) sponsors.

Susan's Husband:

I think that Mr. Cohen is implying that we're well-enough assimilating the ten-times-the-legal-number of immigrants that the U.S. are already receiving with a wink and a turned head.


* If anyone thinks that American tacos and pizza are essentially foreign, ask a Mexican or an Italian for their opinion of the American versions.

David said...

The idea that there is an "American Way" that doesn't include immigration is odd. I do want to preserve the American Way, as I understand it, and that requires a predisposition to allow immigration.

Also, all the evidence is that assimilation -- including of Muslims - happens very quickly. The children of immigrants are Americans and some of the most American people I've met have been immigrants themselves.

The argument about the welfare system always confuses me. Neither legal nor illegal immigrants are allowed to participate in any welfare program. They do get emergency medical care and their children get schooled. Schooling their children is obviously something we do more for our benefit than theirs and I find it hard to believe that people really believe that they should be left to die in our emergency rooms. So what welfare do you have in mind?

Susan's Husband said...

The idea that there is an "American Way" that doesn't include immigration is odd.

Is there some "standard misrepresentation list" that's handed on which this is listed? I challenge you to find, among our crew, a single instance of anyone even suggesting that. And when you don't, could you ask yourself "why, then, do I frequently make this false insinuation?".

Welfare includes many things other than direct payments, consumption of government provided services being not a small one. Also, are not the American born children of immigrants eligible? Thus creating the same family destroying incentives that plague our native African-American population?

David said...

SH: Reads Harry's first comment, which sets up immigration and the American Way as opposites.

And is your problem welfare for immigrants or welfare for Americans?

Harry Eagar said...

I am having a hard time finding that in what I wrote.

My point is that it would be possible to swamp the assimilating system.

The US is already in absolute terms the most immigrant-friendly nation, and in relation to population, among the most welcoming.

To propose that we are not receiving enough immigrants already needs some pretty strong evidence that I cannot see.

Susan's Husband said...

I don't like welfare systems and I oppose them in general, regardless of recipient (e.g., I oppose subsidies for businesses which is just another form of welfare payment).

However, my point was only about the effects of welfare on immigrants, because that was the context of this post. That welfare has bad effects on natives as well isn't relevant. As I have stated elsewhere, I believe that for a variety of reasons (welfare systems being one, multi-culturalism another), our ability to assimilate is at historic lows.

Harry Eagar said...

From Samuel Huntington, 'Who Are We?':

'The continuing growth of Hispanic numbers and influence has led some Hispanic advocates to set forth two goals. The first is to prevent the assimilation of Hispanics into America's Anglo-Protestant society and culture, and instead create a large, autonomous, permanent, Spanish-speaking, social and cultural Hispanic community on American soil. Advocates, such as William Flores and Rina Benmayor, reject the idea of a 'single national community,' attack 'cultural homogenization,' and castigate the effort to promote the use of English as a manifestation of 'xenophobia and cultural arrogance.' They also attack multiculturalism and pluralism because these concepts relegate 'different cultural identities' to 'private lives' and assume that 'in the public sphere, except in those sanctioned displays of ethnicity, we must put aside those identities and interact instead in a culturally neutral space as "Americans." ' Hispanics, they argue, should not espouse an American identity but embrace an 'emerging Latino identity and political and social consciousness.' They should claim and are claiming a separate 'cultural citizenship' involving 'a distinct social space for Latinos in this country.' "

joe shropshire said...

A passing strange topic, immigration, in that it seems to compel David to make what ought to be Harry's arguments and vice versa. David, no one doubts that our grandfathers performed prodigies. The transcontinental railroad for instance: built with picks and shovels, and lots of immigrant labor, who went on to become good citizens. We couldn't do the pick-and-shovel part today, so what is it that makes you so sure we can do the minting-of-good-citizens part? Times change. To the extent that assimilate means reconcile, we're not even assimilating our own college professors to The American Way, and they've been here their whole lives. Make you a deal: go out there and make an American out of one of the reporters for your local newspaper, and then we'll think about letting you try your hand on 20 million campesinos.

But if David's incaution is puzzling, Harry's caution is startling. These people are your proletariat, Harry, or at least as close as you'll see in your lifetime. Straight from the farm they come, and straight into the cities they go (most immigrants aren't finding work in the fields, they're getting jobs in the cities and suburbs.) And regardless of the way they affect national elections (I'm not sold on David's theories about that) at the municipal and state level that's a 75% Democratic voting bloc in perpetuity. If ever there were a second chance for your economic and social theories in this country, they would seem to represent it. Now, as Huntington points out, you've got competition for their mindspace from various forms of postmodern nationalism, but then again, so did the Bolsheviks in their day. You gotta be in it to win it.

Hey Skipper said...

My point is that it would be possible to swamp the assimilating system.

Those who fail to acknowledge that point probably do not live in the Southwest US.

Those who adhere phobically to the time zone rule are particularly prone.

Harry Eagar said...

I'm not advocating any particular number of immigrants, although since we are already at record numbers, I am having a hard time with the argument that the 2007 level is too low.

I don't think anybody has thought about immigration very seriously.

Huntington points out, which I had not realized, that the US is the only first world nation sharing a border with a third world nation.

Not only that, but a point I have long thought about, a failed third world state.

Now, I don't care whether Mexicans can govern themselves or not, except that if they cannot, I don't want to be responsible for the fallout. The last four Mexican presidents have all stated that Mexico'ss problems must be addressed by the US.

Only if we take charge of everything.

But how about this? Of the three countries from which it is easiest to come to America (setting aside Canada as a special case), two are failed states and one was a failing state until just recently.

There is no apparent reason they should be failing. They have inherited most of the western trove of ways to go about doing things.

Are they failing because the people who ought to be running those countries are here?

I have some other points to bring up.

Harry Eagar said...

Here is one for David, who seems to think that people will inevitably assimilate if they find themselves in a political democracy.

Maybe some of the UK people can answer this question. I don't know the answer, although I have a notion.

Here it is: The movie 'My Beautiful Laundrette' was released in the UK in 1985. What would happen if the movie were presented in a moviehouse in 2007?

David said...

Harry: Wasn't the whole point of that movie assimilation?

David said...

Harry: I'm not sure what you mean when you say we are at record number of immigrants. Last year about 450,000 new legal immigrants arrived in the US, only 160,000 of whom were admitted under employment visas. Clearly, we can absorb more than that without blinking.

David said...

As for assimilation, I'm not sure what you guys have in mind. Obviously, they're not going to become just like us, or what would be the point? But to suggest that they can't become Americans flies in the face of all historical evidence. In particular, the idea that they're coming here to reconquer Aztlan is just paranoid fantasy.

I'm not sure what Harry means by "first world" and "third world," but the EU now has free movement between the UK (PPP GDP per capita $31,400), for example, and Poland (PPP GDP pc $14,400). And, for a first world country surrounded by the third world, there's always Israel. That should make us feel lucky.

David said...

Skipper: It's one of the oddities of the immigration debate that border state politicians are in favor of the Senate bill.

Susan's Husband said...

Mr. Cohen;

I think you'd find us easier to understand if you had a more accurate view of our stance. For instance,

But to suggest that they can't become Americans

No one is claiming that. Of course all of them could become Americans. We just think there is a rate of immigration at which it becomes unacceptably unlikely.

I agree with Mr. Cohen that the USA could easily sustain immigration rates higher than current legal immigration. I might be persuaded that it could do so with the current total influx if it were legal. But I do not think the current illegal flow is sustainably assimilatible. The answer "well, just legalize them" is a meaningless platitude unless there is some serious effort at border control. Otherwise you'll get the current total flow plus an even larger illegal flow.

What we mean by assimilation is adopting the character of citizenship that can sustain the American society, as opposed to say the character of citizenship that makes Mexico dysfunctional.

Harry Eagar said...

My point, I think, is that the movie was shown on UK TV and then released in theaters nearly a generation ago with much comment but no violence.

I expect that if you released it today, the movie house would be bombed and the manager would likely be murdered.

Call it deassimilation.

Harry Eagar said...

Another example of failure to assimilate concerns about 500K Germans who entered this country in the decade after the 1924 immigration act.

After Hitler became chancellor and German unemployment dropped, the great majority of them returned to Germany and we had to kill them.

Oroborous said...

I like the way you framed that last post, Harry, very amusing.

Harry Eagar said...

More questions I think need asking before anyone says yea/nay about an immigration bill.

Should naturalizing Americans be obliged to swear exclusive loyalty to the US, or should they be allowed to maintain dual citizenship and, one supposes, allegiance?

It used to be funny when 450 Italian-Americans were all that stood between civilization and a communist takeover of San Marino. Maybe not so much if its several millions of X-Americans who are voting, perhaps, to select the government of a nation that is the enemy of the US.

Harry Eagar said...

Speaking of which, should the US government consider it an unfriendly act if a foreign government sets up and funds a department to encourage illegal immigration to the US?

Free book to anyone who can name the country without the help of Mr. Google.

Oroborous said...

Mexico.

Harry Eagar said...

Nope. At least, I don't know whether Mexico has one or not.

I was thinking of someplace else that I know does. Whose prime minister held a big rally for illegal immigration to the US recently.

joe shropshire said...

Mexico has been in the news recently for this pamphlet, which was published by their Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

David said...

I suppose you all would be upset if Mexico were catapulting their gold over the border.

"Oh no, it's labeled 'Heche en Mexico.' Our gold is labeled "USA." Their gold will never assimilate."

"Their gold isn't as good as our gold. Our gold is pure. Their gold isn't nearly as good as the English/German/Jewish gold that use to be catapulted over our borders."

"Their gold will make our gold worth less."

"Do you have any idea how much guards and vaults cost? We'll never make money on all this free Mexican gold."

"It's not fair to all the gold that's been patiently waiting in the ground to be dug up. Why should this Mexican gold get to cut in line to get into our vaults?"

A nation's only treasure is its people. It's hard to know who's stupider: Mexico for encouraging its people to leave, or us for standing on the border yelling, "NO. No treasure wanted here."

The wisdom we should follow comes, ironically for immigration opponents, from Sultan Bayazid II in 1492, who welcomed the Jews expelled by Spain saying that "the Catholic monarch Ferdinand was wrongly considered as wise, since he impoverished Spain by the expulsion of the Jews, and enriched Turkey."

Harry Eagar said...

I guess Oro and Joe have both earned books, though I had somebody else in mind.

David, by that logic, we should just annex Mexico. No sense leaving any of that talent to spoil in the heat.

And you still haven't explained to me how we know we don't have enough immigrants now.

Some time back, Ali proposed that the US should take in more H1B -- talented -- people.

I counterproposed that I don't like selling citizenship for $500K.

I'd rather take in a person of good character and no education than a person with a resume and bad character.

Sneaking across the border is a mark against character, at least if the goal is being a law-abiding citizen.

And there's quite a bit of evidence that a lot of Mexicans haven't any interest in the American Way. We saw the flags during the Million Wetback March or whatever it was.

By the way, the country that wins the free book is not a Spanish-speaking country.

Hey Skipper said...

Skipper: It's one of the oddities of the immigration debate that border state politicians are in favor of the Senate bill.

Which is distinguishable from a pile of ordure in what way?

The current state of immigration affairs amounts to nothing more than making ourselves hostages to fortune.

I am going to make an assumption, perhaps rash, that should the entire population between the isthmus and the Rio Grande was to decamp to the United States, say, tomorrow, that would be a bad thing.

Presuming you don't find that assumption too far fetched, then you too agree that, in order to avoid said bad thing, there are limits of quantity and rate beyond which we should not go.

I don't know what those limits are, but leaving the answer up to how many choose to make that trek does rather seem to entirely short circuit the democratic process, does it not?

BTW, you should make a trip to Southern California from your Massachusetts enclave some time, should you want to taint yourself with first hand knowledge about assimilation.

David said...

Skipper: You seem to be confusing me with some other blogger. I've been to Southern California. (I'd love to be able to live in San Diego in some rich future.) I've been to Arizona. Heck, I've been all the way to Tacoma. One of the most sobering experiences of my life was to walk across the imaginary line seperating California from Mexico and see the resultant poverty, dirt, etc.

That's why I find the idea that we should in any way adopt Mexico's approach to anything to be insane.

Bret said...

hey skipper wrote (to David): "BTW, you should make a trip to Southern California from your Massachusetts enclave some time, should you want to taint yourself with first hand knowledge about assimilation."

I dunno. I live in San Diego and we seem to be assimilating them just fine. The ones I meet seem to me to be hard working, friendly, patient with me when I practice my Spanish on them, etc.

Are they all perfect? No. Do the illegals one crowd the emergency rooms at the hospitals at great expense? I suppose.

But all in all, it seems to me like they assimilate very quickly.

Harry Eagar said...

Bret, are you suggesting that the Mexican flags and antiAmerican banners at the Million Wetback March were all being waved by newbies?



If Oro and Joe want books, I take requests. Or you can go for potluck.

Bret said...

Harry,

Beats me.

Harry Eagar said...

Oh, well, then. Move along, folks, nothing to see.

Since nobody has guessed it, the country with a government agency to promote illegal immigration to the US is Eire.

Brad S said...

Bret, the only reason why it seems so relatively "easy" to assimilate in San Diego is because the first choice for illegals is to hide in Los Angeles county. Too many "federales" close to the border, you know.

So Harry, does that mean we should expect a few hundred thousand more Irish illegals to come our way? And should we ask Pat Buchanan how he feels about that?

joe shropshire said...

Harry: thanks, that's big of you. If the offer still stands, I'll take potluck out of something you can part with. No promises it gets read quickly, I do not work through books at anything like your rate.

Bret said...

brad s wrote: "Too many "federales" close to the border, you know."

That's probably right.

Harry Eagar said...

Send me your address. heagar@aloha.net

brad, yes. Not hundreds of thousands per year, maybe, but tens of thousands add up pretty quick.

The Irish government is asserting a 'right' of its citizens to move to America no matter what US law says.

David said...

And doing us a huge favor.

joe shropshire said...

Well sure, you can never have too many of my kind, what with all those doorways and street lights that need to be propped up. Particularly of a Saturday evening, when there are twice as many street lights, and all of them swaying and weaving in such a hazardous fashion.

David said...

Although, fair warning, we are going to have to deport you all if you keep flying the Irish flag and putting those annoying "26+6=1" bumper stickers on your cars.

Harry Eagar said...

Sorta like welcoming a burglar because you expect he will mop the floors on the way out.

Oroborous said...

David, by that logic, we should just annex Mexico. No sense leaving any of that talent to spoil in the heat.

As I have written before, in various places, I think that the U.S. should do exactly that, and for basically the reason given.

Mexico has abundant natural resources, great sun-drenched weather, and a large potential workforce. Add the uncorrupt government and judicial system, first-world infrastructure, professional management, and access to capital that America could provide, and Mexico could quickly become the Paradise that it ought to be, with everyone in the U.S. benefitting from the increased economic activity.

Plus, Mexico's "demographic age pyramid" is a little more bottom-heavy than is that of the U.S. - they have proportionally more young people - so it'd be a good fit for our slightly older population.

And since Mexican nationals, including the illegals already in America, would make up only about a third of the electorate in a Greater United States, there's no fear of them taking over.

And you still haven't explained to me how we know we don't have enough immigrants now.

Basic demographics. Who's going to replace the Boomer workers retiring, much less take care of those retired Boomers ?

What's the point of being able to lounge by the pool if there's nobody around to pick up the towels and bring you a mai tai ?

I counterproposed that I don't like selling citizenship for $500K.

The U.S. has historically always been willing to trade citizenship for talent, or at least for a willingness to work hard, or risk one's life on behalf of the U.S.

What's wrong with a quid pro quo ?
It's not like the vast majority of soil-born Americans have done anything to deserve citizenship. They were just born lucky.

I'd rather take in a person of good character and no education than a person with a resume and bad character.

Wise. You can always educate someone.

Sneaking across the border is a mark against character, at least if the goal is being a law-abiding citizen.

And would you deny citizenship to those who applied through the proper channels, but who had been convicted of minor traffic offenses, like speeding, in their native lands ?

Because "sneaking across the border to work for pennies so that rich and lazy Americans can enjoy cheap produce and fast fast-food" doesn't strike me as being much of a crime.

Besides, what kind of character traits can we attribute to an illegal alien in America, regardless of whence they come ?

Well, they're usually physically tough, they're courageous, they're motivated to work, they're self-starters, they're ambitious...

Sounds like good citizen material to me.

Finally, let's look at the "character" of some celebrated American citizens. John Paul Jones, for example, hero of the Revolution and "Father of the American Navy" - and egotist and harsh disciplinarian. "The Donald" Trump. Andrew Jackson, ruthless in battle, and survivor of 103 duels as a civilian.

None of them are/were bad citizens, they've all contributed to American society, but none of them are/were angels.

And there's quite a bit of evidence that a lot of Mexicans haven't any interest in the American Way.

Most of those types stay home, they don't hike across the desert.

We saw the flags during the Million Wetback March or whatever it was.

Yeah, a few hundred flags out of tens of millions of Mexicans in the U.S., and while rallying for what they conceived of as "ethnic rights".

As David notes, it's quite common for Americans who have a clear ethnic ancestory to have pride in symbols of that ancestory. It doesn't mean that they aren't American-cultured through and through.

Irish flags, Puerto Rican flags...
You see a lot of Polish flags in Chicago, and Brazilian flags in metro Boston...

The current state of immigration affairs amounts to nothing more than making ourselves hostages to fortune.

Which so far has turned out rather well. Why would the dynamic change ?

I don't know what those limits are, but leaving the answer up to how many choose to make that trek does rather seem to entirely short circuit the democratic process, does it not?

Except that it has been via the democratic process that we've come up with this Frankensteinian system of "officially reject almost all highly-qualified would-be immigrants, but unofficially allow tens of millions of semi- or unskilled immigrants, limited only by the luck and pluck of the illegal individuals".

There have been politicians attempting to make a name for themselves on the immigration issue for decades, but the American public just doesn't much care. We have official restrictions to placate one special-interest group, and unofficially porous borders to please another, and an apathetic electorate.

If Oro and Joe want books, I take requests. Or you can go for potluck.

Since nobody has guessed it, the country with a government agency to promote illegal immigration to the US is Eire.

The Irish government is asserting a 'right' of its citizens to move to America no matter what US law says.

LOL. I never would have guessed. My candidates were Mexico, Poland, and Haiti.

No, I won't hold you to the book.

Hasn't Ireland been experiencing an economic boom for these past ten years or more ?
How many people want to be illegals in America, when they can get rich at home ?

As for their "right" to come here... Piffle.

Sorta like welcoming a burglar because you expect he will mop the floors on the way out.

What exactly are the immigrants burgling ?

They impose a relatively small immediate cost, and provide a large future benefit.

When we apply that formula to exercising, eating right, or saving for retirement, we call it "wisdom".

Bret said...

oroborous wrote: "What's the point of being able to lounge by the pool if there's nobody around to pick up the towels and bring you a mai tai ?"

Don't worry, I'll have a robot to do that for you long before you retire. Well, at least don't worry too much...

o also wrote: "It's not like the vast majority of soil-born Americans have done anything to deserve citizenship. They were just born lucky."

That's the single reason I can't possibly oppose immigration in any form. All my grandparents were born in eastern europe. It's a little tough for me to say, "I'm here now, please close the door and don't let in all the others who want to come."

David said...

Bret: We're all early adopters here. We know that unless you're working on porn robots, there's no future.

Harry Eagar said...

'As David notes, it's quite common for Americans who have a clear ethnic ancestory to have pride in symbols of that ancestory. It doesn't mean that they aren't American-cultured through and through.'

Huntington devotes a long chapter to the opposite contention: that native-born Americans have shed their ethnic concerns. I'd say that, in general, he's right.

Most Americans can't name their great-grandparents. I can name one of eight without looking it up.

Apparently there are 50K illegal Irish in New York City. This per the pro-illegal Irish Voice and Irish Echo newspapers.

As for those flags, it was more than a few hundred. And the comparison is not apples-apples.

This seems to be a point too subtle for, say, Michelle Malkin. It's possible for an ethnic to be 100% for the home country and 100% American at the same time, as long as the home country and the US are not antagonistic.

Few, if any, proud Irish-, Polish-, etc. Americans have an problem with this, but it faced the Japanese-Americans in 1941.

The Million Wetback March was different. Those were, on the whole, antiAmericans and there were hundreds of thousands in each of several large US cities -- that were ready to march in the streets. Who knows how many more they spoke for?

Whatever the count was in the streets, it was the minimum.

There are a lot of Latinos, primarily Mexicans, who wish ill to the US.

Lastly, it is mighty optimistic of you to think that a nation two-thirds modern and one-third disgruntled primitive can function as well as one with, say, a 9:1 split.

Instead of a happy Amexico, why isn't your model of expectations Israel, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Spain, Russia, India, West and East Pakistan, Ethiopia, Sudan or Iraq?

David said...

I would strongly prefer that we stop using the term, "wetback."

Thank you.

Oroborous said...

Because I don't think that all Mexicans are disgruntled primitives. So the split would be closer to the 9:1 that you mentioned as being more probably workable.

If half of the population of Mexico were disgruntled primitives, then combined with the population of the U.S., they'd only make up 12% of the total population.

Alternatively, we could allow only the top 2/3ds of Mexico to join the Union, leaving the less-developed and far-more-populated-with-Amerinds bottom third as an unincorporated territory, like American Samoa - protected and administered by the U.S., but not permitted to vote for Federal offices.

Harry Eagar said...

OK, but as between 'wetback' and 'undocumented alien,' I know which one I think is more honest.

I am not, by the way, opposed to immigration. I am opposed to letting other countries make our laws for us.

But let's back up and see if we can prise some unstated assumptions from the 'open the doors' argument; and ask whether these are reliable.

1. All people everywhere aspire to be free, thirst for democracy and self-government. Bush's worldview.

Obviously not correct.

2. Anyone exposed to American culture, income, politics or values will adopt them and reject the culture, values and politics he grew up with.

Obviously not correct.

3. They love us.

See Miss Universe pageant.

Gibbon thought that barbarism and religion brought down Rome. On what grounds do we think that combination has lost its force?

++++

It's true, though, that it will be almost impossible in a continent-size country to get everybody concerned about -- let us assume there might be -- bad immigration.

I was on the city desk in Iowa when the Marielitos started to land. Fielded a call from some guy in Miami who, apparently, was calling every newspaper in the country, demanding the government 'do something' because of the 'chaos.'

And I blew him off. Not that I didn't believe in the chaos, but because I didn't expect it to last long. Which it didn't.

As long as businesmen would rather hire wet . . . er, undocumented aliens instead of paying $14 an hour for local labor, we'll get the immigrants.

It is not obvious to me that an economy that is already having a hard time finding appropriate work for the less educated 15-20% of Americans, because it has just shipped their jobs to China, is really benefitting by importing labor to freeze them out of what work they might aspire to.

David said...

Seems like a self-defeating post, Harry. The Marielito exodus would seem to run counter to everything else you said.

Take the absolute worst immigration scenario: an enemy 90 miles off our coast allows his desperate people a short window for immigration, a situation we have no control over, and then dumps out his prisons and mental hospitals. Twenty years later? We can barely remember that it happened. As you say:

And I blew him off. Not that I didn't believe in the chaos, but because I didn't expect it to last long. Which it didn't.

Harry Eagar said...

Absorbtion rates.

Think of real estate building/sales.

Harry Eagar said...

Another reason the Marielitos incident may not be apples/apples with what's going on now is that, while a fraction of the exiles were criminals or crazies, most probably really wanted to take part in the American Way.

That is not so obvious with Mexican immigration.

When the Chinese were imported to the Kingdom of Hawaii, mostly from Guangdong, they brought their clan rivalries with them, and there were several clan murders in Honolulu.

It didn't take long for the Chinese to recognize that although they distinguished themselves as, eg, Hakka; the Hawaiian nobility and the Americanized businessmen saw only 'chinks.

Clan loyalties eroded pretty quickly, and I doubt that today any young Chinese-Hawaiian American has any idea what his clan was.

Where immigrant numbers were greater and they stayed concentrated, imported antagonisms lasted longer.

That these problems might be solved is possible. The position that they do not exist or do not need to be taken into account astounds me.