George Will has a column that supports the President’s position on amnesty for illegal immigrants:
Conservatives should want, as the president proposes, a guest worker program to supply what the U.S. economy demands — immigrant labor for entry-level jobs. Conservatives should favor a policy of encouraging unlimited immigration by educated persons with math, engineering, technology or science skills that America’s education system is not sufficiently supplying.
Which is about as ass-backwards as one can get.
There’s no doubt that America will have a demand for labor – we have an unemployment rate that’s quite close to full employment, and our economy is diversifying more and more with each passing year. No doubt we’d see quite a few more American-born janitors and hotel workers if having those jobs paid more – but at the same time, that would also raise the costs involved in staying at a hotel or cleaning trash. We can’t simply shut down our borders like some may like.
However, the flow of illegal immigrants across our borders makes a mockery of our laws and puts even more stress on our national infrastucture. A guest-worker program would ameliorate some of these downsides, but how much could we broaden our tax base with cheap immigrant labor? How can we assimilate so many people, many of whom are here to get social benefits and send their money back to their families in Mexico? Yes, there’s no doubt that Hispanic immigrants can and do assimilate into American society – and Hispanics are an increasingly important part of American culture. However, immigration without assimilation is a recipe for disaster, and Will seems to blithely ignore the realities of such a general amnesty.
With our culture of political correctness, do we have the will to make guest workers assimilate? If not, guest workers are simply sources of revenue to be exploited. Assimilation is vital towards having a stable polity, and very few on the left or the right seem to be taking that issue seriously.
The Democrats want amnesty to boost their political fortunes. The Bush Administration wants guest workers to hopefully boost the Republicans political fortunes. Other Republicans want to further criminalize illegal immigrantion to boost their standings with the Republican base.
All three parties are considering what’s good for their own political position rather than what’s good for the country as a whole. There’s nothing wrong with people wanting to come to America, work hard, and share in the American dream. That is part of our national story, and should be. However, we have to ensure that those immigrants come to share in the American dream – not simply be free-riders on it. The plethora of Mexican flags at recent pro-immigration rallies seems to suggest a fundamental lack of allegiance to this country.
Unless we can gather the political will to assimilate our immigrant communities, immigration will only dilute our national identity. We have to uphold the rule of law, control our borders, and work towards integrating immigrants into our society and culture first. Only then can we start seriously tackling the issue of immigration in a meaningful way. Fishing for more voters on the rolls isn’t the way of going about it, and the current debate seems to boil down to precisely that.