Michelle Malkin

Amnesty is dead. Now, let's talk about the other "A" word. It's the word and the concept completely abandoned during the immigration debate: assimilation.

Over the last year, hundreds of thousands of illegal alien demonstrators took to the streets lobbying for amnesty. Marchers waved "Amnestia Ahora!" placards in one hand, the flags of their native countries in the other. Open-borders strategists quickly replaced the foreign flags with Old Glory after militant activists caused a public backlash last year. National newspapers played dutiful propagandists and splashed patriotic photo-ops of the "undocumented" masses wrapped in red, white and blue to drum up sympathy.

But now that they've lost their amnesty fight, will they still embrace American symbols and traditions? Or was it all for show? And what of all that talk of illegal aliens being willing to study citizenship and civics? And take English classes? Why must they be bribed with the promise of a temporary guest worker visa and mass governmental pardon in order to adapt to our way of life? When did assimilation become the means and not an end in itself?

The inflection point can perhaps be traced to the moment when politicians were permitted to invoke the "America is a nation of immigrants" platitude as a mindless justification for open borders.

The fact is: We are not a "nation of immigrants." This is both a factual error and a warm-and-fuzzy non sequitur. Eighty-five percent of the residents currently in the United States were born here. Sure, we are almost all descendants of immigrants. But we are not a "nation of immigrants."

(Isn't it funny, by the way, how the politically correct multiculturalists who claim we are a "nation of immigrants" are so insensitive toward Native American Indians, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians and descendants of black slaves who did not "immigrate" here in any common sense of the word?)

Even if we were a "nation of immigrants," it does not explain why we should be against sensible immigration control. And if the open-borders advocates would actually read American history instead of revising it, they would see that the founding fathers were emphatically insistent on protecting the country against indiscriminate mass immigration. They insisted on assimilation as a pre-condition, not an afterthought. Historian John Fonte assembled their wisdom:

-- George Washington, in a letter to John Adams, stated that immigrants should be absorbed into American life so that "by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, laws: in a word soon become one people."


Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).

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