Which gets me to assimilation. We Americans have proven much better at assimilating immigrants than have most other nations -- if you are disturbed by Latino demonstrations in Los Angeles, look at the Muslim riots and murders in Western Europe. But some of our elites have soured on, in Theodore Roosevelt's word, Americanization. Education elites have produced bilingual education, which too often is neither bilingual nor education. Immigrants' children need to learn to speak, read and write in English. Political and judicial elites have mandated bilingual ballots -- even though applicants for citizenship need to show they've mastered English. Transnational elites, to use Professor Samuel Huntington's word, have taught a version of American history that treats the Founding Fathers solely as slaveholders and tells us nothing about World War II but the internment of Japanese Americans. They want to encourage immigrants to remain in separate and oppositional cultural enclaves.
As Theodore Roosevelt said a century ago, immigrants -- and all of our children -- need to learn and appreciate the American heritage, the brilliant work of the Founders, our expansion of freedoms and our vibrant system of representative government. American adults are snapping up copies of books about the Founders. American children, and especially immigrants' children, need to learn the lessons of the Founders, too.
I still have hopes that Congress will be able to pass a compromise immigration bill that will regularize immigration in tandem with the labor market, with border security measures and with a later phase-in of something like the free-market guest-worker bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. But that's not the whole task. Large majorities of both the American people and of immigrants themselves favor assimilation and Americanization. We need to overcome the efforts by elites to undermine it, both in any immigration bill and in our schools and our daily lives. Americans have dealt with immigration constructively before. We can do so again.