There is only one group of people with less credibility on the immigration issue than Washington politicians. It is the illegal immigrants protesting violations of their "rights" while parading the Mexican flag and disrespecting the one symbolizing the great nation from which they're demanding favors.
I'm not talking about all demonstrators in every city in which a march occurred. Some were reportedly peaceful and even patriotic. But the hostility of some protestors did more to galvanize apathetic Americans into demanding action on immigration than all the previous alarm-warnings from politicians and pundits combined.
Nothing awakens the sleeping giant like direct threats to her sovereignty and security. And it was hard not to feel violated by the outrageous spectacle of people making demands on the very system they have circumvented instead of demonstrating some humility, if not contrition.
On the other hand, it's not hard to understand their attitude, given our shameful negligence concerning the integrity of our border and the rule of law. We hardly have clean hands either, considering our enforcement laxity and our Faustian bargain to reap the fruit of the poisonous tree by exploiting the cheap labor illegals provide. We don't even have enough respect for our laws to call violators "illegals," insisting on the euphemism undocumented workers.
The immigration conundrum is President Bush's Achilles' heel in the War on Terror. His admirable determination to pursue the enemy unyieldingly no matter how negatively it impacts his approval ratings is matched only by his seeming impenetrable obliviousness to the problems immigration presents.
Most of us recognize these problems: national security, assimilation, rule of law, economic, and political. But we disagree on their relative importance. Nor do we have a consensus on how we should prioritize the proposed solutions to the problems assuming we can even agree on which of them need to be addressed.
Many people otherwise inclined to support the president's general policy in the war on terror are alternatively mystified and outraged by his apparent inconsistency in fighting the terrorists "everywhere we find them," while employing a Mr. Magoo approach to our open borders.
I agree with Bush's critics that his borders policy represents a gap in his overall security policy. But I think it also poses a different kind of national security threat ultimately greater than terrorists oozing across the border. Our refusal to encourage immigrants to assimilate constitutes a dire threat to the nation.
America is unique in the history of nations. The preservation of our republican form of government requires a modicum of commitment from the body politic to constitutional principles and a professed loyalty to the American ideal. This is why the naturalization process is so important.
Our reluctance to promote the immigrants' assimilation and adoption of our language works against their acquisition of a spirit of patriotism, which is essential for the cohesiveness and strength of our society. Why should we apologize for demanding national allegiance from those who choose to live among us? To do otherwise is to flirt with national suicide.
Our enslavement to political correctness and its rejection of the notion of national pride sometimes even national sovereignty prevents us from assimilating the millions of illegals already here. But they will eventually assimilate, provided their numbers quit multiplying at an unmanageable rate.
That's why we have no choice but to first do what is necessary to effectively seal our borders, whether that means building a wall or intensifying border security or both. We simply have to minimize the bleeding or should I say "transfusion" because that is the only way to prevent further erosion of our national integrity and identity. This is not to say that we shouldn't allow any more people in, but we must control the timing and numbers.
In the meantime, we must also address the legality issue (somewhere between felony and amnesty), otherwise we undermine the illegals' essential respect for the rule of law (and ours).
I'm far less sympathetic to the economic concerns, believing that whatever benefits we are reaping are offset by the drains on our entitlement programs. It is unfortunate that some view the immigration issue, like they do everything else, from a purely economic perspective. Economic growth and prosperity are wonderful, but they are not a panacea, and are an unacceptable tradeoff for the disintegration of our culture and the implosion of our constitutional system.
It is even more regrettable that some choose to tar all those who are serious about immigration as racists or nativists. It is a vicious and dishonest ploy mostly by those who are willing to subordinate almost everything good and decent to partisan politics. We have no unique ethnicity in this country. What makes us unique are the G-d-fearing, egalitarian principles embodied in the Constitution and sustained by the rule of law.
I pray this growing crisis will finally heighten our awareness and motivate us to take the necessary action to preserve the republic.