Posted on December 1, 2010

The Dangerous Mythology of Immigration

Frank Burke, American Thinker, November 28, 2010


Myth No. 1: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore . . .” Well, not quite. Emma Lazarus’s 1883 poem “The New Colossus”–written in the year the Statue of Liberty was dedicated–has been taken by many to reflect a true picture of immigration. This is not the case. From the colonial period on, there were standards that immigrants had to meet. Originally addressed at the regional level, then by the states, they were eventually federalized. The immigration stations, such as the one at Ellis Island in New York harbor, were not welcoming centers. They were processing points for the inspection and certification of new arrivals. Individuals with physical or mental problems, or who were known to be criminals in their country of origin, were denied entry. Older or underage family members required sponsorship. All of this was to ensure that the newly arrived immigrants would not be a burden to their new country and could either support themselves or be supported by others.

Further, the America of the 17th through the early 20th centuries possessed a large appetite for unskilled or semiskilled labor. Labor contractors advertised in Europe for workers. {snip}

Today’s situation is different. The market for unskilled labor is a tiny fraction of what it was. Even in agriculture, many of the harvesting processes once performed by migrants now utilize machines. America still has a place for immigrants, but with the advent of technology, the qualifications required have markedly changed.

Myth No. 2: People come here because they want to become Americans. Some do, but today, many do not. {snip}

Unlike previous generations, those who come today do so for a variety of reasons. Some come seeking economic opportunity but have no desire to break ties with their own country. This is observable in the demonstrations held by Latinos seeking amnesty. Some carry Mexican flags and signs proclaiming what they believe the U.S. owes them. The second-largest source of income in Mexico derives from remittances sent from the United States. So-called paths to citizenship have not met with an enthusiastic reception.

Others, in turn, come for more nefarious reasons. Members of the Mexican Reconquista movement, including the National Will Organization, Mexica movement, and La Voz de Aztlan, seriously wish to reclaim the lands lost by Mexico in the Mexican War, as well as other states with high Hispanic populations. These would include California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and Colorado.

Other advocates of multiculturalism, including foreign nationals, religious sects, and cults, seek to reduce the United States to colonial status for their own purposes. Just as radical Islamists in the United Kingdom and elsewhere are advocating the imposition of Sharia Law on the population, some here seek the same end.

Even where the intention is not initially malicious, multiculturalism can have problematic results. National and other groups that choose to live apart from the mainstream, retaining their own language, culture, and customs, frequently experience serious problems in the second generation. {snip}

Myth No. 3: Everyone is really seeking the same things. No other myth is more insidious than the one world philosophy that has impacted not only the immigration debate, but also our foreign policy for over half a century. Traditionally, people who came to America in pursuit of a better life assimilated into the American mainstream. Defining themselves along similar lines, they shared many of the same values and goals. As a result of that experience, it has become very easy for Americans to project the idea of mutual tolerance and communality worldwide. {snip}

The wishful thinking that all nations are somehow equal and that we all desire the same things is naïve on the face of it and deadly in its implementation. The individual who murders his daughter in an honor killing; the family that celebrates the martyrdom of children who destroyed themselves while killing innocent people; or the tribe whose members practice genocide against its neighbors are not going to be satisfied with a good job, a nice house, education for their children, and a wide-screen HDTV.