This summer, I plan to visit one of the first major areas of illegal immigration in this country. The illegals who entered at this place engaged in extremely destructive behavior. Not only did they put people out of work, they murdered citizens and ravaged their lands. I am talking, of course, about Jamestown, where a boatload of illegal European immigrants arrived in 1607. They were illegal in the eyes of the local Powhatan tribe, which certainly didn’t want them around. When they eventually moved to expel them, it was too late. The neighborhood had been ruined.
Thinking about it that way puts a slightly different spin on the illegal immigration issue, doesn’t it? This is a country of immigrants. And what bugs me is that every new immigrant seems to think his was the last boat that should have been allowed to land. Today, rallies are planned across the nation to oppose politically motivated attempts to “crack down” on illegal immigration.
Journalists don’t normally join protest rallies, but I am there in spirit. Let me note that I am a white male of almost entirely Anglo-Saxon Protestant origins, some of whose ancestors were in this country since before the American Revolution. And I think the idea that the new immigrants are in any way inferior to my people is insane.
The idea that our nation is about to be overwhelmed by billions of illegal immigrants of whatever kind you fear most -- Mexicans or Hottentots or Palestinians is also just plain nuts. Yes, we unfortunately do need some controls. We can no longer be a safe harbor for everybody, unfortunately, though we would be better off taking far more people than we do.
However, no matter how high we build our walls, some illegals always will slip through the gaps, due to luck and their own desperate ingenuity. Here’s the attitude I think we should have toward them:
Don’t ask, don’t tell. Yes, if there are really any al-Qaeda members trying to infiltrate our society, we need to find them and through them out, and ditto for felons on the lam. But otherwise, treat them as fellow humans.
Prior to the Civil War, the census observed a ridiculous compromise in which slaves counted as “three-fifths of a person.” We palefaces have been living that down ever since. Now Congressman Candice Miller wants to pass a constitutional amendment to have the census count only “citizens” instead of persons.
So Albert Einstein, when he was living here in exile, wouldn’t have counted, while Ted Bundy would. Memo to Ms. Miller: Think again.
Immigration does change a society. We are changing anyway, since members of my tribe are currently not even having enough children to replace themselves.
But what about our precious culture? Tell you what. Let’s admit about 400,000 hard-working Asian or Nigerian immigrants, and let them settle in the ruins of the largely depopulated city of Detroit.
I’ll bet they would change its character, all right. We should be so lucky.