A great Issue of the Day has become whether President Trump said “Shithole countries” in describing unappealing sources of immigration. Democrats and their media allies have engaged in much hand-wringing over the horror. It certainly sounds like something he would say, but his opponents in the Congress and the media have focused on it in a classic magician’s misdirection, diverting attention from the real issue – immigration itself.
No doubt a billion or two of the earth’s population would be interested in coming to the United States, if they could manage it. Central to Trump’s immigration policy is the notion that immigration policy should be based upon national self-interest not an improvident generosity to those who would like to come here. Immigrants should preferably be those with education or employable skills. They should be those amenable to the values enshrined in our constitution. They should speak and read English or at least undertake to learn it.
The 19th Century immigration policy that made the United States a wealthy and powerful nation is not the one we need now. Although idealized in Emma Lazarus’s poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty, early American immigration policy was based upon self-interest, not charity. 150 years ago immigrants from Ireland and China, the “shithole countries” of the day, built the transcontinental railroad. Immigrants were needed to staff factories and mills in the Northeast and homestead the West. Immigrants were an asset, not a burden. They had to support themselves or be supported by family. There were no Food Stamps, SSI for alcoholics or the mentally ill, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Medicaid or Section 8 housing,
President Trump’s argument against amnesty for existing illegal immigrants, “chain immigration” (admission of relatives of persons already in the country legally), lottery immigration or unvetted political refugees is that the government gives up control over the selection of immigrants. We as a nation lose the ability to protect our civilization and increase our prosperity.
Much could be accomplished by the enforcement of existing laws. The ability to read or speak English is supposedly a requirement of naturalization, yet multi-language ballots are required in many urban areas. No one is permitted to become a permanent resident of the United States if they are likely to become a “public charge,” but illegal immigrants are disproportionately likely to receive public assistance.
The oldest American political party, the Democratic Party has prospered over the centuries of its existence on the use of identity politics long before the phrase was coined. The central idea was to fan the grievances of an ethnic group with a promise to correct them, if elected. Big city political machines were built on largely Irish immigrants banding together, fading only when succeeding generations prospered and assimilated.
For 200 years, a major Democratic identity group was Southern White Supremacists. In an unrivaled feat of political legerdemain, after Civil Rights legislation was passed by Republicans and Northern Democrats, Democrats pirouetted to become the party of Black Southern voters.
The success of the American “melting pot” is in the melting – the assimilation of immigrants into the American population, not their retention of separate ethnic identities. “Diversity” in this context, is not a good thing, but a disadvantage when it detracts from national unity. The Balkans, French-Quebec and Spanish Catalonia are examples of disruption caused by competitive ethnic diversity.
Democrats unabashedly cry “White Supremacist” or “Xenophobe” at any restrictions on immigration. They act, not out of altruism but a shameless quest for what they hope will be hordes of reliably Democratic voters. There is nothing ignoble about preserving national cultural unity.