Protests over proposed immigration reforms raged across the country last week, bringing to light the elephant that has been in the room for some time now: illegal immigration.
What to do?
For starters, we must move beyond the vitriol. Pointed words and political posturing won’t get us anywhere.
Next, we must acknowledge that while border security and law enforcement are indispensable aspects of immigration reform, it is assimilation—that is, uniting all Americans (new immigrants and old) around shared values, customs and a common language—that holds the key to a safe and prosperous American future.
Assimilation was once standard procedure in America. As immigrants streamed across the Atlantic from Europe, they willingly forsook their old allegiances and took on a new national identity. That’s not the case today. Have immigrants changed? Nope—they’re still, on the whole, earnest, hardworking people who, having voted with their feet, like America very much. Has America changed? You bet.
As I write in my book Getting America Right, America has fallen prey to the forces of a multi-cultural agenda that has rejected what was once our national motto (E pluribus unum—out of many, one) and worked tirelessly to erode our prized national unity. What used to be seen as a melting pot, producing distinctive Americans from a hodgepodge of nationalities, has cooled to a salad bowl whose contents retain their original shapes and flavors.
As a result, new immigrants are not expected to learn our history, master our common language or even demonstrate loyalty and commitment to America. This practice devalues, if not trivializes, citizenship. And as the value drops, citizenship, once a prized invitation to join the American family as an equal member, becomes just another commodity.
Ronald Reagan once warned, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” If we are to preserve our freedom and prosperity for our posterity, we must confront the forces of multiculturalism that seek to tear us apart. Let’s consider two of these forces in turn.
In the past, new citizens of this great country had to have passed a rigorous testing process administered by an examiner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that evaluated their moral character, command of the English language and understanding of American history, culture and political heritage.
Doug Wilson is the the co-author, with Edwin Feulner, of Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today.
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