Despite the fact that immigration is vitally important to our nation's future, it has become impossible to have an honest conversation about the issue. There's simply too much fear of falsely being called a racist or of offending some key political demographic for people to discuss the subject. That has to change and it starts right here.
The Melting Pot is Broken. Anybody who comes to the United States should adopt our culture, learn our language, and be loyal to our country. With past generations of immigrants, that happened. Even if the first generation had a little trouble learning the language or wasn’t very educated, we could be confident that the next generation would fully assimilate into our culture and move onwards and upwards. Unfortunately, because of multi-culturalism, identity politics, and the politics of victimhood, that's no longer happening the way it has in the past. As David Frum points out, it's a particular problem with Hispanic immigrants:
Many Americans carry in their minds a family memory of upward mobility, from great-grandpa stepping off the boat at Ellis Island to a present generation of professionals and technology workers. This story no longer holds true for the largest single U.S. immigrant group, Mexican-Americans. Stephen Trejo and Jeffrey Groger studied the intergenerational progress of Mexican-American immigrants in their scholarly work, "Falling Behind or Moving Up?"
They discovered that third-generation Mexican-Americans were no more likely to finish high school than second-generation Mexican-Americans. Fourth-generation Mexican-Americans did no better than third.
If these results continue to hold, the low skills of yesterday's illegal immigrant will negatively shape the U.S. work force into the 22nd century.
The failure to enforce the immigration laws in the 1990s and 2000s means that the U.S. today has more poorly skilled workers, more poverty and more workers without health insurance than it would have generated by itself.
Certainly this doesn't apply to all Hispanic immigrants to our country, but it does alert us to a very large problem that doesn't seem to be on track to working itself out. Unless we have the cultural confidence to address the fact that the biggest immigrant group to the United States is having problems assimilating, then this issue may be with us for generations to come.
Mexico is a Bad Actor. Mexico's behavior in recent years has been far from neighborly. Not only do they refuse to secure their side of the border, they actually encourage their own citizens to come to the United States illegally. They've even gone so far as to make comic books that explain to their citizens how to get into the United States illegally. Worse yet, they've openly said they want their former citizens to "influence the foreign policy of the United States towards Mexico." Encouraging dual loyalties in America is simply unacceptable.
Additionally, most Americans have forgotten the Mexican-American war. However, the same can't be said of Mexico. According to a 2002 Zogby poll
It may be easier to turn a blind eye to this problem than to deal with it, but history is replete with examples of situations like this that have led to violence, terrorism, and even open warfare. Just because we're not there yet doesn't mean it won't ever happen. We should take steps to ensure that it doesn't ever get to that point.
How Do We Tell The Radical Muslims From the Moderate Muslims? Granted, the overwhelming majority of Muslim immigrants are patriotic, loyal, and good citizens of the United States. But, given that we're in a war against radical Islamists who want to kill as many Americans as possible, shouldn't that prompt some sort of discussion about our immigration policies with regards to Muslims? What about the fact that Muslim immigration has been EXTREMELY problematic for countries like
Maybe we could even ask some simple questions like: Do you support Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Sharia, murdering Jews, or stoning people for being gay? If the answer to any of those questions is "yes," then we declare them to be radical Muslims and refuse to allow them to become American citizens. Granted, that's probably not the best way to screen people, but even that meager measure would be more effective than the non-system we have now by default.
Our Immigration Policy Should Focus on Bringing in the Best and Brightest. Being allowed to become an American citizen is a great and tremendous privilege, not a right. Moreover, we don't allow immigration to be nice or to "share the wealth." We allow immigration to our country because it benefits the people who are already American citizens -- and it does. Overall, immigration is a plus for our country. However, our immigration system is broken through and through. We don't fully enforce the laws on the books against illegal immigration and we create reams of paperwork, exorbitant expenses, and ridiculous wait times for the people who want to come here legally.
Furthermore, we also do an incredibly poor job of screening new immigrants. The United States is the shining city on a hill that people all across the rest of the world want to live in. Since that's the case and since we live in a country where 47% of the people aren't even paying income tax, what's wrong with making sure we get the best and the brightest as immigrants? Sure, we can still bring in the husbands, wives, and underage children of immigrants. We can also allow a few people in on humanitarian grounds. But, why not make sure that almost all therest are PhD's, rocket scientists, nuclear physicists
PhD's, rocket scientists, nuclear physicistsand other high-end professionals that will add to the tax base? That's not an insult to anyone who has already been adopted into our family by becoming a naturalized citizen; it's just an acknowledgment that our current immigration policies aren't serving the country as well as they could be.