Diana West

Listen to what passes for immigration debate and it soon becomes clear: Illegal aliens are bad for our character.

Take New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Deporting illegal aliens, he told WABC-AM radio host John Gambling, would wreak havoc on golf courses across America. "You and I both play golf," Mr. Bloomberg said on the air. "Who takes care of the greens and fairways in your golf course?"

As I recall, French royalty got the guillotine for less, in part because Les Masses didn't share this Let Them Play Golf mentality. But nobody stormed City Hall over what writer Lawrence Auster called "Bloomberg's Marie Antoinette moment" because in our society, Mr. Bloomberg represents the new breed. Once, Americans were renowned for a can-do spirit that never wanted to wait for tomorrow. Now, Americans exemplify a can-be-done-for spirit that wants to be waited on forever.

Something of this attitude filters through when Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., directly addresses pro-amnesty marchers as the people who care for our children, our elderly, our hotels, our restaurants and our lawns. Our lawns? "Your faces are the faces of those who give us a fair day's work -- and often not for a fair day's pay," she said -- which has to make you wonder what she pays her gardener.

If a Virginia landscape company recently examined by The Washington Post is any measure, not enough. The company offers $7.74 per hour (less than my neighbors pay enterprising teens for the same hard work), and Americans, the company says, aren't applying. Rather than raise wages, thus following elementary rules of supply and demand, the company relies, like many businesses, on what the Post almost snobbishly dubs "imported labor." The report continues: "Significantly higher wages might work (to attract US laborers), but that increase would be passed on to unhappy consumers, forcing Americans to give up under-$10 manicures and $15-per-hour paint and lawn jobs." Horrors. What next -- higher green fees? Pricey lettuce? Not for nothing did Patrick Henry say, give me cheap produce or give me death.

In what might be called a paean to peons, the New York Daily News recently celebrated the illegal-alien economy. "They clean your office while you sleep and comfort your kids while you're away at work. They prepare your morning coffee, deliver your lunch and clean your plates when you dine out," the Daily News wrote. Frankly, this conjures an image closer to support staff of the British Raj than other Joe Yankee fans. The paper continues: They -- the illegals -- are "the backbone of an underground economy that relies on low-wage workers performing menial tasks."

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).