Who makes ‘the best’ Americans?
by Vin Suprynowicz
America’s foreign-born population swelled to more than 28.3 million last year — up 43 percent since 1990 — with the majority now arriving from Latin America and Asia, the Census Bureau estimates.
The percentage of residents in fast-growing Nevada who were born in foreign countries (now 15.2 percent) trails only the major “gateway” states of Hawaii, Florida, New York, and California … with the Golden State now claiming a stout 25.9 percent foreign-born.
A parallel report by the Center for Immigration Studies this week warns: “Immigration accounts for virtually all of the national increase in public school enrollment over the last two decades.”
One-third of recent immigrants lack a high school diploma — more than three times the rate for natives, the CIS reports. More than half of post-1970 immigrants and their young children live in or near poverty, compared to 28 percent of natives and their young children. And one-third of immigrants do not have health insurance — two-and-a-half times the rate for natives.
“Because current policy allows in so many people who lack a formal education, immigration has resulted in an enormous growth in the poor and uninsured populations. … We need to ask whether we want to grow our population this way,” Steven Camarota, the center’s director of research, warned The Associated Press Tuesday. “I think we don’t, so I think we need to do a whole lot more to control illegal immigration. We need to have a policy that selects immigrants on skills and ability to compete rather than a policy that puts all or most of its emphasis on family relationships.”
Indeed, immigration can pose risks, particularly if efforts are not made to allow and encourage new arrivals to quickly integrate — few would want to see America as segmented between rival ethnic or linguistic factions as Quebec or Rwanda. That’s why even Hispanic immigrants soundly reject “bilingual education” in the public schools, whenever and wherever that turns out to mean cocooning immigrant children in long-term linguistic isolation.
And immigrants who promptly go on the government dole are of course exasperating (the obvious and correct solution being to promptly eliminate the government dole in all its forms.)
But why on earth should we believe a central government that’s handed away billions to Russian kleptocrats and squandered fortunes on the flightless X33 “space plane” and especially on Space Porky, The Doomed International Space Station, will suddenly smarten up when it comes time to guesstimate which immigrant skills or traits will prove most valuable a generation from now?
The grandparents of most of today’s Americans lived “in or near poverty” by the standards of their day … and certainly by today’s. Few arrived here with advanced educations (though in fact, 11 percent of today’s immigrants bring along a graduate or professional degree, compared to only 9 percent of natives.)
Mr. Camarota’s proposal that some committee of bureaucrats be allowed to “cherry-pick” which applicants would make “the best Americans” bears a slight burden of hubris. The main requirements to become a “good American” have always been the willingness to work hard, raise law-abiding children determined to make their own way in the world, and embrace the ideals of a republic which guarantees the rights of liberty and property to all men and women against the whim of any “democratic” majority, no matter how noisy.
America’s ethnic diversity has served her well, and the grandchildren of those poor, uneducated immigrants of a century ago are now among our most effective leaders.
Yes, the nation has a right to control its borders, and it’s a shame to see law-abiding would-be immigrants waiting patiently for years on other continents, while scofflaws take their place.
But, that said, the process for “selecting” our legal immigrants should have much less to do with their skin color or accent, and much more to do with determining whether they can show they really understand and want to embrace our republic, along with the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights that gave her birth.
If only a fair number of the native born could be obliged to pass a similar test.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and editor of Financial Privacy Report (952-895-8757.) His book, “Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998,” is available by dialing 1-800-244-2224; or via web site www.thespiritof76.com/wacokillers.html.
by Vin Suprynowicz
Copyright © 2001 Vin Suprynowicz. All rights reserved.